30 November 2010

Something (Anything?!) Left to be Said about El Clasico?

Well, I can't say many people expected the 5-0 score line yesterday, with Jose Mourinho being the most surprised!

I thought with Madrid's starters, they would at least manage one goal in the first half, but although the score suggests an offensive occasion at Camp Nou, it was really down to the teams back four:

Madrid: (starters) RB - Sergio Ramos, CB - Pepe, CB - Carvalho, LB - Marcelo

Barcelona (starters) RB - Dani Alves, CB - Pique, CB - Puyol, LB - Abidal

The real (no pun intended) problem with Mourinho's lineup here is overall weakness. Their back four don't know how to stop the pass. I also dislike the subbing out of a defender, unless injured, as a means of stopping an offense. This shows that the coach did not do his homework. Marcelo gave too much room to Pedro on the first goal to get ahead of him, but even worse was the room the size of the nation of Spain that Sergio Ramos gave to David Villa (of all players with the ball at his feet)!

In Real's first dropping of points this season at Levante, one could imagine Levante's Luis Garcia watching Mourinho's Inter in any given game last season shut down an offensive team. Many critics would say that Real Madrid played too defensively against Barca, but I believe that they just allowed too much room all across the pitch. Had Mourinho implemented catenaccio as he had with Inter, he would have stood a better chance at winning, or avoided the 5-0 pummeling and press ridicule.

I knew Mourinho would not do this somehow, as he basically bounces around to clubs without a universal approach to turning the team around, but, more or less, uses that team's stereotype of the way they play. Combine this with getting the most out of his veteran players and his exquisite ability to turn players that didn't really fit under the old regime into above par workhorses.

This mentality going into the coaching position of Real Madrid enabled him to purchase Di Maria, Ozil and Khedira, when he should've looked at his back four. Though Carvalho was a great signing, those other three starters might could make it into Lyon's starting line-up, with the exception of Ramos. I am also very confused as to why the very talented Raul Albiol did not start. He is perhaps too young for Mourinho, and has yet to really prove himself, but expect this talent to leave the capital city if he is not given chances during the rest of this La Liga season. This is a player who is on the national team, but behind two world class center backs: Puyol and Pique.

Valencia is next for Madrid, where they hope to cash in on this low confidence team, with little to no quality in defending.

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