Some notes on Spurs loanee Samuel Shashoua’s performance against Olot:
Thanks to the wonderful live coverage provided by Balearic television channel ib3, I was able to watch our young loanee Samuel Shashoua in action for his loan club Atlético Baleares earlier today. Shashoua has settled in really well at the Balearicos since signing for them on a season long loan from Spurs in August. And the league game against Olot on Sunday afternoon was Shashoua’s fifth competitive appearance for the Segunda División B club. And after putting in impressive performances in his last two matches, Shashoua found himself in the starting eleven once again for their match against Catalan side Olot at the Son Malferit. The 19 year old started out on the left wing and he completed the entirety of Sunday’s match. Putting in another extremely impressive performance for the Mallorca based club, Shashoua proved instrumental in Atlético securing all three points, in a game in which the home side dominated from start to finish. The Spurs youngster put in a typically energetic performance out on the left flank, as always Shashoua was hardworking and would often track back and help out his teammates defensively. However, as he showed in Atlético’s games against Barcelona B and Conquense in recent weeks, Shashoua’s dribbling ability and willingness to take on players saw him create more chances for his teammates than anybody else in today’s game. He was sharp and crafty with the ball, and his alertness to pick out Nuha Marong for the strikers goal in the 52nd minute, resulted in Shashoua registering his first assist of the campaign. In the following article I will be going through Shashoua’s performance against Olot in chronological order. And can I just say that it was yet another pleasure to have been able to watch one of my favourite Spurs players in action for his loan club.
Shashoua started the game out on the left wing of what was essentially a 4-4-2 formation to start off with. The Balearicos started the game well in the afternoon sun, and Shashoua made a good early run in the opening couple of minutes of the game after Kike López received the ball out on the right side of the penalty area. The fullback continued inwards but the Olot goalkeeper Xavi Ginard was alert and was able to smother the ball before López could square for Shashoua to tap home, after the teenager had made a well timed darting run into the middle of the penalty area. A couple of minutes later, Shashoua linked up well with Nuha who he picked up the ball off some 30 yards out from goal, before going on a tricky driving run down the left flank. Samuel continued all the way to the edge of the Olot penalty area before jinking past defender Alan Baró and then testing the goalkeeper with a powerful low effort on his left foot. However, Ginard made a smart stop with his feet to prevent Shashoua from opening the scoring. Atlético were on the front foot and the home side were playing some decent football during the opening stages of the game, Samuel was often catching the eye with his impressive first time touch. The left winger was involved in another positive attacking move from Atlético after he embarked on a good run through the middle of the park before eventually squaring the ball to Fullana on the edge of the penalty area. However, the Atlético captains powerful effort was saved relatively comfortably by Ginard. And once again Samuel found himself in the thick of the action after he picked up the ball before skipping across the goal as he managed to turn his man in the process, before then passing the ball to Marcos de la Espada on the edge of the penalty area. The Spanish midfielders effort was well saved by Ginard as the Balearicos continued to dominate the game. Atlético Baleares were continuing to put pressure on the Catalan sides defence.
After controlling the ball well out on the left flank after received a long diagonal pass, Shashoua looked up before picking out Canario with an inch perfect lofted pass, on the edge of the penalty area as he showcased his good vision. However, Canario’s resulting effort was saved comfortably by the Olot goalkeeper. Shashoua was the victim of a rather nasty sliding challenge from Blázquez shortly after, and the Olot fullback was given a yellow card by the referee, but only after Samuel had given Blázquez a gentle shove from behind. And the teenager from west London continued to be Atlético’s most potent player for the remainder of the half. After receiving a cross field pass out on the left flank, Shashoua showed off his fancy footwork in front of the Olot defenders before whipping a dangerous low cross into the danger zone, but no blue and white shirts were there to meet it. A couple of moments later he delivered another dangerous ball into the danger zone which caused the Olot defence to panic and frantically clear the ball away from danger. That was to be Samuel’s last involvement in what had been a positive first half from both him and his teammates. The away side got the second half underway at the Son Malferit and it didn’t take long for him to get back involved in the thick of the action. Eight minutes into the half, Shashoua received a pass from Canario out on the left wing. The winger cut inside before making a well weighed pass into the feet of Nuha inside the box. The Atlético centre forward cut inside Carles Mas before curling an excellent effort into the left hand corner of the goal to put the Balearicos ahead. However, joy was soon to turned to disappointment for young Samuel after he received a harsh yellow card for simulation. It was an incredibly harsh booking which came about after he received a pass down the left hand side of the penalty area.
The typically tricky Shashoua pulled off an exquisite Marseille turn on Olot defender Carles Mas which resulted in the fullback sticking out his leg. Mas made contact albeit not that much with Shashoua, and this resulted in him going to ground. However, Samuel is the type of player who always try’s to stay on his feet no matter where he is on the pitch. A bit of a quite patch for the Tottenham loanee followed as Atlético started to mould into a more defensive shape. Some 10-15 minutes later he turned around Blázquez on the edge of the penalty area before forcing Ginard into making a good save, to prevent his powerful curling effort from creeping into the back of the net. Shashoua lobbed a ball dangerously across the face of the Olot goal a couple of minutes later after being found down the left side of the box. Before then slipping the ball into an Atlético player who I couldn’t identify, down the same side of the penalty area. This particular Atlético players resulting effort was saved by Ginard who comfortably gathered the ball. Samuel whipped another one of his teasing crosses into the Olot penalty area moments later but it managed to evade every Atlético player in the box. Shashoua then embarked on another one of his jinking runs a couple of minutes after, as Atlético continued to dominate the game. Shashoua beat a man down the left before darting into the box and skipping past another Olot defender and then he unselfishly attempted to pass the ball for a teammate in the centre of the box. However, Shashoua’s pass/shot was blocked on the line Baró, as the Atlético fans loudly applauded Samuel. That was to be his final involvement in the game as the referee blew for time only a matter of minutes later as Atlético Baleares picked up their third win of the season. And a certain Tottenham loanee played a massive role in that win. His energy and hard work out on the left wing provided the Balearic club with an important attacking outlet which they made the very most of throughout the game.
Shashoua’s guile and willingness to take people on down that side of the pitch helped to break down the Olot defence and create chance after chance for the home team. He was sharp and agile, and the 19 year old made many good passes throughout the game, including the one that led to Nuha’s goal at the beginning of the second half. Despite being one of the youngest players on the pitch, Shashoua was the most fearless of them all, and without doubt the most creative. Watching Shashoua play today really reminded me of watching him during his very best games for our under 18’s, where he was skipping past players for fun and always looking to feed inch perfect passes into his teammates, in and around the danger zone. He really is settling into life at his new club so well and they are playing the type of football which is going to really aid his development over the course of the season. That’s why it makes so much sense why he went out on loan to the Balearic club rather than an English lower league club that is going to kick the ball into orbit every couple of seconds. He was the star player against Olot today and he has already forced his way into Atlético’s starting eleven, where he his fast becoming a fan favourite. A whole group of young fans came running over to him at the end of today’s game looking for selfies of which he duly obliged. Next up for the confident youngster and his teammates is an away game against Badalona next Sunday. Providing that, that game will be on ib3 then I will most certainly be writing another analytical piece on the young artists performance.
Samuel Shashoua for Atlético Baleares: