Sunday, 10 February 2008

Magnificent Seven

The league championship, while not quite sown up yet, is slowly wending its way to the trophy cabinet in the Bernabéu museum. Real Madrid took full advantage of Barcelona's late draw in Sevilla on Saturday night to stretch their lead to an impressive eight points. For the seven goals, these are seven keys to last night's "festivities":

  1. Valladolid's defence: brave? foolhardy? suicidal? They played right into Real's hands with a defensive line pushed so far forward that the local midfielders, especially Guti, picked them off at will. Not one of the Valladolid back four picked up a booking all night. 'Nuff said.

  2. The mercurial midfielder himself, Guti, had a dream of a game (though he was allowed to play, rather than hindered, by the opposition), finding the perfect pass time and again, scoring two exquisite goals (OK, one was a bit of a fluke) and provising three assists.

  3. Raul's nose for goal is till there. Forced to play further up front due to Van Nistelrooy's injury, the captain scored a signature goal to open up his tally, and picked up his second by converting a penalty. Valladolid is now the league club he has scored most goals against: his 2 on Sunday night contributing to a grand total of 14.

  4. Robben's speed and versatility have not been adversely affected by all his injuries. He started off on the left wing, but looked equally comfortable on the right when Robinho had to go off injured and Drenthe was brought on. His goal will have given him some confidence.

  5. The Bernabéu is proving to be an invincible fortress; this game was Real's eighteenth consecutive league win (11 of them this season). The fans are not the most vociferous or passionate, but the players seem to be very comfortable. Contrast this with the situation just over a year ago with just four wins in eight games at home.

  6. Baptista's strength, playing just behind Raúl (in Raúl's usual position), showed once again why he's a player that has a place in this Real Madrid squad. He harried and fought, was brought down for a penalty and his enthusiasm when given an opportunity should be an inspiration to those who are struggling to get into the side.

  7. Bernd' Schuster's team choice, with seven players injured, produced a balanced side that made the most of its virtues (interestingly, Valladolid had a comparable number of shots on goal tto Real's, but look at the difference in effectiveness). In a curious piece of trivia, Schuster himself was on the scoring sheet for Real Madrid in a 7-0 demolition of Castellón back in 1990.


Anonymous said...

Two questions:

1.) Does anyone know the name of the song played at The Bernabeu after goals?

2.) What were the fans chanting behind the goal in the second half?


john said...

What a glorious win indeed. I'm getting more and more enthusiastic about young Royston, and though I don't want to end up with my foot in my mouth, I think we should do just fine without Robinho for the next two weeks.

And Gonzalo - I just posted a comment on Corey's latest post at asking everyone what their ideal starting XI would be. I forgot to include your name in the general request, but I truly value the information and opinion you provide. What would your ideal XI be? (you can answer on this post or Corey's, I'm just curious to know)

Anonymous said...

@anon: sorry I can't answer your questions - it's not clear enough on TV to make out the fans chanting and I don't even notice the music to be honest (usually watching the replays).Perhaps someone else can help?

@john: I'd like to see Drenthe do well, and it's good to have a number of options in midfield. I'm still not sure what position he was brought in to fill; he's definitely not a left back.

My starting XI: Casillas; Ramos, Pepe, Cannavaro, Heinze; Diarra, Guti, Robben, Robinho; Baptista, Van Nistelrooy

Controversially (?) no Raúl, though I would rotate him in with Baptista depending on the opposition, and Heinze (when fit) as left back - I think Marcelo needs to mature somewhat on the defensive side and Torres is not a natural left footer. Sneijder would also come in for Robben when he invariable gets injured. But I probably wouldn't play a static XI, and I'd definitely give Soldado more playing time than Schuster has (at least give the lad a chance!)

john said...

Controversial? Quite! But I like the formation none the less. Actually, and not to critisize, but more so than not including Raul in the starting XI, I'm curious about your decision to start Guti and Diarra in the center-mid. From what I've observed, those two just don't pair well. Diarra, as has been much discussed as of late, is balls at distributing balls, so when paired with Guti, the latter is forced to play much further back, just to be able to get some possesion. His role is then to simply advance the ball, usually to the wings, whereas he excells in a more forward position where he can send passes through the back four, as he did time and time again against Valladolid. Is there an element to that tandem I'm missing?

I assume that you'd have Robben at right and Robinho on the left, yeah?

Puskás said...


Drenthe was primarly brought here to be Robben's back up on the left because Schuster believe during the pre-season that he would be playing Robinho on the right-wing.

Anonymous said...

Contreversially my starting eleven DOESNT include Salgado...