Neither Oviedo nor Gijon have made good starts to the season, with Oviedo remaining in the bottom four at full time and Gijon just three points further ahead.
Oviedo went with their usual flexible 4-3-3 formation for this match, with Borja Sanchez and Marco Sangalli supporting lone centre forward Alfredo Ortuno as has been the case throughout this season.
Ortuno has been Oviedo’s main source of goals this season, although they have struggled to find consistency with their midfield combinations.
On the hand, Gijon switched to a five at the back system for this match following consecutive league defeats.
Attacking threats Aitor Garcia and Manu Garcia both dropped out of the midfield, while Christian Salvador and Jean-Sylvain Babin came into the defence allowing them to switch formation.
Real Oviedo’s approach
Oviedo looked to dominate this match on the ball and had the better of the few chances either side managed to create.
With Gijon utilising a disciplined back five, Oviedo used their numerical advantage in central midfield to dominate the ball and were happy for their midfield players to drop deep to create.
Despite dominating the ball in their own half, Gijon were very adept at closing down space when Oviedo moved the ball into central offensive areas.
As soon as an Oviedo player looked to pick up central space, Gijon players would swarm them and Oviedo were too slow to shift the ball wide.
As a result, the only occasions Oviedo were able to create space in the first half were through individual pieces of skill.
Oviedo players were too far apart to cut through this tight defensive structure, with the passes on offer often high risk and difficult to pull off.
When they were able to cross into the Gijon box, it was often from speculative positions with a number of Gijon defenders covering Oviedo attackers.
On the whole, Oviedo were comfortable dealing with Gijon’s long ball attacks, but mistakes in possession from the home side did present some issues.
Gijon’s best chance of the match came when Lolo Gonzalez’s pass into midfield fell short and allowed Uros Djerdjevic to run through on goal and shoot just wide.
With a secure defensive structure in place, Gijon were clear in their aim to play the ball long and early, using forward Djurdjevic as a willing runner into the channels.
Early on, Gijon would look to take opportunities to catch out the higher line of Oviedo with balls over the top.
This approach also limited Oviedo’s willingness to press men up the pitch and helped Gijon nullify much of the home side’s possession.
Without the ball, Gijon held a disciplined back five which allowed them to match Oviedo’s runners from midfield and cut out passes into the final third.
However, while Gijon’s back five allowed them to limit offensive space for Oviedo, it was positioned so narrowly that the centre backs rarely gave their goalkeeper passing options.
As a result, he was forced to play long and Gijon were unable to keep hold of the ball for prolonged periods of time.
With both sides looking to pack central areas, Gijon failed to use their wide centre backs as distributors to build attacks or maximise the potential of their wing backs.
Similarly, from throw ins, Gijon tended to throw into large groups and bunch their players centrally in an attempt to win second balls and play forward quickly.
This lack of spread meant the game was often scrappy, with only individual skill allowing either side space on the ball.
When Gijon were able to break, they were still unwilling to over commit men in attack and saw presentable opportunities breakdown in the second half as a result.
While Oviedo were happy to commit more men in attack than Gijon, they were also cautious and rarely left too much space in behind.
Oviedo and Gijon were ultimately too cautious to win this game, with both sides unwilling to suffer further defeats after a period of poor form.
While Gijon were happy to sit back and play the ball forward quickly, Oviedo were the clear aggressors.
However, Oviedo passed the ball too slowly and their crossing from wide areas lacked the penetration.
Both sides will need to show more ambition if they are to improve their form going forward, with Oviedo in particular needing to find a way to create more from their possession.
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