Monday, 8 October 2007

Brightening up

It was not a classic performance by any means, but there were some positives to take away from Sunday's 2-0 win over Recreativo de Huelva. Real started the game at a much higher tempo than we have been used to and Raúl had a header for the opener within 13 seconds of the start. Robben seems to have reached full match fitness and his speed is causing problems for defenders on the wings. Marcelo is improving with every game and with Heinze having an excellent performance at centre back, Schuster may be able to give Cannavaro a rest now Metzelder has recovered from his injury. Raúl continues to show that he is on form, particularly when linking up with Van Nistelrooy, though clearly not enough for Luis Aragonés to recall him to the national side, and Casillas was largely responsible once again for the team having their fourth clean sheet in the league this season.

However, not all the pieces are clicking seamlessly together. There is still a large gulf between the defence and the midfield, and the team is vulnerable to fast counters, which teams more effective than Recreativo might have capitalised on. Guti and Sneijder are still not making the link to the forwards with enough consistency to allow Real to derive benefit from their possession and put games away quickly. Raúl and Van Nistelrooy were left chasing shadows for most of the first half. It is only when the opposing teams begin to tire that Real Madrid seems to strike, as all but three of Real's sixteen current league goals have been scored in the second half. But this only works if you can stop them from scoring against you.

Rud opened the scoring after 72 minutes in typical predatory fashion, after an inch-perfect through ball from Raúl. Though he missed a similar chance in the first half, Van the man now has 16 goals in the last 18 league games and it is no surprise the club is reportedly looking to extend his contract to 2010. Higuaín finally managed to score again, as the clock was running down and kept the chasing pack at bay, especially a Messi-led Barcelona, who have been impressing all and sundry in recent weeks after a bit of a shaky start to the season. International fixtures over the next 10 days mean that we have two weeks to wait until the next league encounter, away against the in-form Espanyol.


Rajab Bader said...

At least, It was better than Valladolid and Getafe matches. One thing that I noticed is that Robben wasn't impressive. You said that he was fast and thats pretty correct but he wasn't effective. Yet again, we missed Robinho. Robinho, so far is the better than Robben and Drenthe. Hope that our Dutchmen get better. As usual Ruud and Sniejder were good.
Hala Madrid

Gonzalo said...

Drenthe has not yet been played effectively by Schuster - he's played out of position in a couple of games, and it is also clear he needs some time to understand what his role is.

I think Robben is adapting much more quickly, and I saw some good flashes of skill yesterday that makes me think there is more to come. Robinho has been up and down a bit this season, so it's probably a good thing that he was rested. With Marcelo doubling up on the left (not quite Roberto Carlos, but it was good to see), tit gives defenders a lot more problems than just coming down the middle every time.

Again, the main problem is the link-up between defence and midfield, which left too many gaps for the counter. Also, the final pass was not coming with enough consistency from either Sneijder or Guti (notwithstanding the second goal)

john said...

I was unable to watch the game, but was disapointed to learn that Schuster fielded the same mid-field as against Lazio. During the CL match, the effect was a lopsided formation void of a presence on the right with the exception of Sergio Ramos and his pacy attacks (both Sneijder and Robben were primarily playing the ball along the left line). Was this (the lopsidedness) the case again on Sunday? It's clear, as you've pointed out, that Madrid's problem is the midfield. Will Schuster be able to figure something out?

Houshmazilla said...

Does anyone know whats going on with the broadcasts. In PA we have la liga on gol tv and they have not shown a Real game in 3 weeks. Is it the same network problem Ive been hearing about or are the games being shown on other networks? Thanks.


Linda said...

It is only when the opposing teams begin to tire that Real Madrid seems to strike
That at least indicates that Real are fit, while Barca have had the opposite indicators (drop off in level in the second half).

Has Schuster temporarily given up on rotations in the hope of finding his best 11, then?

Gonzalo said...

I did not notice that the team was particularly lopsided on Sunday - Robben did drift across both wings on occassion, but I think, as I've said before, that the main flaw at the moment is the large gap between defence and midfield, and the fact that neither Sneijder nor Guti seem to be particularly inspired.

I honestly don't know what's going to happen to the broadcasts, both inside and outside Spain. I did post on this some days ago, but Tim Stannard (of La Liga Loca fame) has a post on it at Football365 which is definitely worth reading.

Noone seems to know what Schuster is thinking re: rotations. He did make a strange comment about repeating the same starting eleven, even though he had originally announced his intention of making "4 or 5 changes" that leaves me none the wiser: "I was looking for something, it's an internal personal subject. But in 24 hours you can change your mind". Huh?

Linda said...

Strange...speaking of strange, did you see Marca claiming that Real were going to sign David Villa? As if you guys don't have a stable full of great forwards already. :)

Gonzalo said...

Let's face it, it's a slow week when the national side is playing, so they have to fill their front page with something other than 'why didn't Luis pick Raúl again?'