Monday, 26 January 2009

Workmanlike win

The Bernabéu "faithful" were treated to another night of tedium as Real Madrid edged Deportivo la Coruña by a single goal. What was remarkable was that they could not get worked up about the mediocre fare on offer when the average seat price is around €100.

On the other hand, they decided to greet the substitution of Raúl for Drenthe with audible booing for the young Dutch player. Drenthe later said that the reception made him "depressed" and it showed in his level of confidence on the pitch, where one of his attempts at running past Deportivo players ended with him slipping and falling.

Drenthe, as well as Marcelo, have recently been singled out for this sort of treatment by the piperos at the Bernabéu, so named for the copious amounts of sunflower seeds (pipas) they consume during home matches.

If this sort of behaviour is aimed at sending a message to the management to invest more in the youth teams, then it is poorly directed. The last thing these youngsters need (wherever it is they come from) is to bear the brunt of questionable strategic decisions by the club.

Towards the end of the reasonably entertaining first half, Raúl barely deflected a cross from Lass with the side of his head, but this was enough to fool the Deportivo goalkeeper. As the Madrid press are so fond of reminding us, this was the captain's 306th goal for the club, putting him just one behind the total scored by the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano.

The second half, however, must have convinced Barcelona that there really is no way they can lose the league now, even with another 18 games yet to play. How can Real Madrid be clear in second place in the league standings yet play so poorly on their own turf?

Juande Ramos decided to make the game safe and wait for the counter. With Gago and Lass making almost superhuman efforts in their defensive midfield tasks, the back four absorbing most pf the pressure, and Casillas stopping anything else that got through, it became clear how dependent Real Madrid is on Arjen Robben.

Any attack with any venom in it came from him. No wonder rumours still abound about Juande Ramos pleading for a winger before the end of the January transfer window. Real are still playing the price for the appallingly bad way that transfers were managed last summer.


Anonymous said...

Man! I am becoming one big fan of yours. Brilliant post! Sensational!

Hala Madrid!

Anonymous said...

What has happened to Wesley Sneijder?
From the pivotal play maker that he was last season he has become just another bloke adorning white now. I am flabbergasted. Is it just form or is there more to it? And I want you to opine about the Rafael van der Vaart issue.

Gonzalo said...

Thank you! It's nice to get praise now and again...

Sneijder's been playing on the flank, out of position, and I think that is partly why he's not performing to the level we saw when Real Madrid had 'proper' wingers. But you are right that he is either out of form or out of confidence, which is not surprising given the way the season has gone generally. Real don't know what type of football they're playing from one week to the next.

I'm not sure what you mean by the Van der Vaart 'issue', but, interestingly, he has played more matches this season than any other Real Madrid player. It's just that most of them have seen him come on as a substitute.

Anonymous said...

Positive -
I also really enjoy this blog
And the double pivot seems to be working well from the off and I´m not crapping myself everytime the ball gets into our own half!
Capello looks to be back, so does that mean we´ll play better away again now?
Juande doesn´t look likely to have the balls to substitute Raúl to give Sneijder his preferred space or let the Huntelaar get a look in when the team is fresher.
(they seem to worryingly run out of gas in the second halves, which i am trying to convince myself is some sort of training programme to peak for the Liverpool clash)

Anonymous said...

The form of Sneijder is a massive problem. He just doesn't fit in to classical 4-4-2 system that Juande wants to play. He just happens to be better suited playing at the tip of the diamond formation - like Gerrrard for Liverpool.

Van De Vaart was signed as cover for Sneijder, so you can see where that one is going to lead.

The left back position is proving to be a major headache, still, 3 years (!?!) after lettin Roberto Carlos go. Amazing.

Anonymous said...

What I meant by the Rafael van der Vaart issue is that he seems to be unhappy. As in he isn't talking about it but at the same time is not doing what he initially was doing when he was signed. But then I realised that he was just settling in. Anyhoo, the fact that he has played in all our games this season surprises me. I wonder how I didn't realise it. Was it because he has been that ineffective more than once this season?

And about Sneijder I really hope Gago's suspension and the arrival of Faubert means that Juande will employ the diamond formation with Lass and Sneijder on opposite ends. It'll be interesting to watch. But Racing is not going to be all that easy is it?

Anonymous said...

And btw what did Heinze do prior to the game against Numancia?? The press mentioned about some encouraging screams to Rafa van der Vaart in the press conference.

Anonymous said...

@ realmadrid200708
They were secretly filmed in the tunnel waiting to go out and after giving each other kisses (particularly S Ramos) Heinze started to shout at the team that they had to go out their and break their arses in two and that the result depended on them and them alone