Real Madrid suffered humilation in El Clasico on the eve of Christmas eve, losing 3-0 to Barcelona in the Bernabeu. Here are three takeaways from the game.
The starting lineup had filled me and many other Madridistas with alot of optimism. An extra man in midfield would give much needed cover in defense and tighten an spaces that Messi could work in. The Argentian has contributed 21 (16 goals and 5 assists) of Barcelona 45 league goals, thats 46% of Barcelona La Liga goals coming directly from Messi. For 45 minutes we got exactly what we wanted, Messi was quiet and had Madrid dominated possesion.
The second half was the polar oppisite, the structure that was such a big positive from the first half disappeared, the squad looked disinterested in keeping the ball and even less interested in winning back, the first Barcelona goal demonstrates this. Casimero had bundled forward, with no one covering the space he left behind. When Barcelona regained possesion, Rackitic broke into this space. No one took responsiblity for the Croatian.
This lazy, disinterested approach from Madrid is presence on all of Barcelona goals. Varane half hearted attempt to stop the pull back which led to Carvajal conceding a penalty. Marcelo not closing down Messi in the lead up to the third goal. All of these were preventivable if Madrid were switched on, they are even more preventiable if you adhere to the game plan from the first half in the second.
No Hay La Liga
The Spanish have a phrase to express whenever the league table has tightened up enough at the top for there to be a legitimate race for the title: “Hay Liga,” or “There is league!” But now, all there is to say is “No, no hay Liga.”
If the league was even in Madrid’s grasp before the match, its nowhere near us after that loss. Now sitting 14 points behind, its hard for even the most optimistic Madridista to argue we can get back into the title race and honestly, I dont think a single member of this team deserves it.
Zidane focus should now be set on the Champions League or the Copa Del Rey to ensure he will still have a job next season. We all know what happens to Real Madrid managers whenever they fail to make new additions to the trophy cabinet, and Zidane is currently trending that direction.
There are no Scapegoats.
I’m never the one to blame a single squad member for a defeat. Football is a team game and all wins and losses are down to the team not one individual. In this humiliating loss, capping off a miserable half of the season. There are no scapegoats.
Sure, Benzema was an offensive blackhole; sure,Zidane could have been quicker with his subs; and sure, Kovacic and Modric should have closed down Rakitic for the first goal. There were many individual errors which comprised this overarching team failure.
From a season wide perpsective, however, there isn’t a single player that we could say has been consistently brilliant this season, not one player who could feel aggrieved for being in this position. This league title was lost a little bit by every member of this roster from Zidane to Ronaldo.