Due to the likes of Kevin-Prince Boateng, Jonathan Viera, Roque Mesa, Alen Halilovic and Jese Rodriguez often being the main focus of attention at Las Palmas, the tremendous work of classy central midfielder, Vicente Gomez, tends to go largely unheralded.
Although he may be underappreciated and overlooked at times, there’s no doubting he’s every bit as important to the Gran Canaria club than his more illustrious, high profile colleagues, however.
Within Quique Setien’s positional play system, the languid 28-year-old’s flourished under his tactically sophisticated manager, who took over in 2015. Having featured 21 times in his first La Liga campaign last season, the former Segunda Division and lower league player has really upped his level this term, becoming a truly indispensable member of Setien’s squad.
Having already made 25 appearances in 2016/2017 on his way to raking up 2067 league minutes, the intelligent and technically exemplary Gomez has been a crucial driving force for Los Amarillos, who’ve quite possibly been the most attractive team to watch in Spain.
“I think I’m being more regular than ever. Other seasons maybe I’ve scored more or I’ve had games in which I have excelled to do more things, but I do not remember a season like this, where I have played so many games at this level and I am very comfortable,” he explained on his upward trajectory this crusade.
From his central midfield slot, Gomez’s mesmerising passing ability has enabled him to be a key constructor and orchestrator of Las Palmas’ exciting possession game. Whether playing defence splitting through balls, intricate one and two touch combinations or more simple ball balls to retain possession, his distribution qualities add a palpable measures of incision, imagination and security. Indeed, he’s a player that rarely wastes the ball too, instead using his vision and perception to use it with the utmost thought and purpose.
Alongside especially Mesa, and the supporting movements of Viera, the trio’s capacity to resist pressure and retain possession provide a brilliant platform for Las Palmas to progress their attacks through. These men are masters of provoking their opponent to press them, something that’s a hallmark of Setien’s style, where they draw their tracker out of their defensive slot, before then releasing possession immediately prior to getting caught.
To switch the focus back to Gomez, and analysing the way he finds space is another important facet of his armoury. By constantly scanning his surroundings with blindside and general head checks, he’s able to gain an excellent knowledge of where best to position himself in relation to the ball, his colleagues and the opposition. Then, using this information, he’ll cleverly time his movement to be a viable option. Seeing as Las Palmas’ tactical setup requires them to be organised in specific positions depending on where the ball is, something that’s not easy to learn, Gomez’s acuity in this regard is a testament to his footballing intelligence.
Forming triangles and diamonds throughout their positional structure gives them such great connectivity to progress their attacks, which, in tandem with their well coordinated movement and spacing, sees them create overloads and advantageous scenarios to bypass their adversaries. Gomez’s exertions are essential here too, for he always remains concentrated to ensure he’s taking up ideal zones to assist his team’s attacking phases.
In terms of his defensive exertions, Gomez impressively transfers his smarts over to this area of the sport too. Although he’s helped by his raking, long legs that allow him to stretch out and chime in with many vital interventions, much like Nemanja Matic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek do, his astute positioning accompanies the afore splendidly. The way he uses his cover shadow to block the passing lanes into the opposition’s frontline, plus presses and counterpresses with unwavering intensity, only adds to his stopping importance.
Even though Valencia have reportedly showed an interest in acquiring his services, the player himself sees his future for now at his beloved Las Palmas, stating: “I am very happy because Las Palmas is one of the most talked about teams and my name is being talked about by very important people. I am playing very well and the team helps me a lot to perform well, because without my teammates I would surely not play well. I hope that these good performances I’m giving will translate into good results for the team. ”
He then went onto add how he’s relishing working under the expert tutelage of Setien, who sadly just the other day announced he’d be leaving the club come season’s end. “He has taught me so well that my defects are now becoming less and less, something that is important for me,” he said.
“Thanks to the continuity that he gives me I can perform well. Even when I have a bad day, he gives me the opportunity to redeem myself and that helps to make you feel important. I have achieved so much with the míster and it is now rare that I don’t start.”
Despite Los Amarillos’ results taking a slight downturn of late, only winning three of their last 11 La Liga fixtures, their performance levels have still remained at a high level. Unsurprisingly, the lack of wins has caused some sections of their supporters to voice their dissatisfaction, but Gomez believes they should take a moment and reflect on just how far Las Palmas have come. “In all the time I’ve been in Las Palmas we’ve never been better, that’s why I do not understand the pessimism that sometimes appears,” he lamented.
“It is true that there may be a bit of discouragement in some moments since the European posts have escaped, but we must not forget that we play in the best league in the world and we fight with the best teams who have huge budgets compared to us.”
In Gomez, Las Palmas not only unquestionably have a brilliant exponent of their exhilarating philosophy but a fantastic club man to continue building towards a bright future with – even if he’s deserving of far greater acknowledgement.
Join Eastbridge today for the best prices on global football!