Sunday, 30 November 2008

It's all uphill from here

It's hard to win a game where they score against you in the first few minutes of each half, said Guti, summing up the impotence felt by Real Madrid at Getafe.

More importantly, it illustrates why the recent mini-run of two 1-0 victories (against Recreativo and BATE) was a mirage and bodes extremely badly for the next lot of league games against the top-placed teams.

The week has been somewhat overshadowed by Ramón Calderón's announcement that a couple of "young, promising" players will be signed in January when the transfer window opens, plus two top stars in the summer. Given that he's clearly trying to shield himself from the ire of the socios at the upcoming Annual General Meeting next Sunday, this really does very little for the current squad in the current season.

Add to this the plague of injuries decimating the side (Sneijder and Torres had to be substituted in the first half hour) and the next few weeks, or even months, look very bleak. The medical staff and physios have been added to the close scrutiny everyone else is under.

The Spanish league this season has been likened to the Tour de France, and December sees the Alpine stages as many of the "top" teams face each other. Next week, it's Sevilla, followed by Barcelona, Valencia and Villareal. Barcelona have already made short work of Sevilla with a 3-0 away win and look to be running away with the Championship. The shape that Real Madrid is in means that they'll struggle to compete for a Champions League place come next May.

Things have got so bad that Casillas had possibly his worst game in years. He looked insecure every time he came out for the ball and was particularly uninspired in Getafe's second goal. He even conceded a penalty that the referee did not see (or maybe he took pity on him).

And yet, even after going two down at the beginning of the second half, Real might have got back in the game as Guti found Saviola for his first league goal for his team. Getafe looked shaken for all of five minutes when Raúl could have equalised.

It was not to be (nor would it have reflected the relative merits of both sides). Eight minutes from time Uche made it 3-1 and means Real Madrid is losing sight of the leading rider as they are slowly absorbed into the ranks of the peloton.


Linda said...

I don't think things are as bad as they look. If the injury crisis comes to an end soon then Real are still in decent shape to challenge - a lot can change in a few months' time.

The string of injuries does seem worrying, though - do you think the scrutiny the medical staff is under now is justified? Or is it just bad luck?

Anonymous said...

I can remember back in Ronaldo´s time that RM were described as Casillas and Ronaldo with a bit in the middle, then it was VNroy and Casillas and a bit in the middle, then it was a bit in the middle and a bit of luck and now it´s nada de nada.
The team is severely hit with injuries sure, but if you price tag and compare salaries of those fielded yesterday with the Getafe lot, you´ll find a huge difference and Getafe playing average football (great counters for sure) played them off the park to an empty stadium ´cos people won´t even pay 60E and a metro ride to see the match

Brian said...

Egg on Gago's face now...

Don't get me wrong I like the Argentine, but you can't come out and tell people that things aren't as bad as they seem, and then have a listless performance against Getafe. Maybe Fernando things aren't as they seem, its worse.

Gonzalo said...

I don't think it's the fault of the medical or physio staff - after all, it's the same bunch of people as last year and there were barely any injuries then. However, the squad is short of depth in some areas and any injuries there are felt much more than in others. Also, there's the suspicion that some players may have been forced to play earlier than perhaps would have been advisable due to the lack of any replacements and Schuster's reluctance to give any of the Castilla players a go.