As expected the Spanish Sports media has turned its attention on Real Madrid, the motive? Why has the former leader of La Liga given way to its rival FC Barcelona with a string of bad performances that include a draw & a loss last weekend against At.Bilbao. The current Champions League & World Clubs Champions Real Madrid has gone from its impressive 2014 season to a horrible 2015. Why this slump?

As usual there are opinions from every "Tom, Dick & Harry", opinions from those same "experts" who flung the boot into FC Barcelona weeks back when they went through their particular "crisis". Now the cards have turned & Real Madrid is the main focus of their attention & with some truth, as the Club is on the limit of putting down the toilet all of this season hard work if they do not come up with solutions. On the 22nd of March Real Madrid travel to "Camp Nou" to play FC Barcelona in the "Clasico", the Liga title could be decided right there & then.

The first to receive a tsunami of criticism is Coach Ancelotti. The Italian was a Saint last month & today is seen as a "wounded duck". The criticism ranges from lack of authority over the players, lack of ideas applying the wrong system. Nothing new here, as always the Coach is the main target of fans, followers & media frustration. Said this, there is obviously some responsibility here on the shoulders of Carlo, perhaps that he has "exhausted" his players some which are feeling the excess of games in their legs. But what other choice has the Italian in reality when his "B-players" are not up to the level required: Jese? Chicharito? Khedira thinking in the Bundesliga next season, Nacho?...Arbeloa? Lack of ideas? Ancelotti has the resources he has with some important pieces out of action: Modric & James. The wrong playing system? The Italian insists on the 4-3-3 set up to allow Bale, Benzema & Ronaldo to play together, its not working because Cristiano Ronaldo is going through a slump. Therefore everyone clamours for the proven & effective 4-4-2 system, but what everyone forgets is that two elements of this machine - Modric & James - are absent, while Bale could be filling in the midfield, the Welshman is not effective in defending.

As you can read, plenty of opinions to multiple problems which highlights that being the Coach of Real Madrid is not easy, & not any Coach can handle it. So what is happening? I would like to give my humble opinion as an external observer without dismissing any of the possible valid observations given by the experts already.

I see two main reasons:
  • The injury of Modric was crucial; the team has deeply felt his absence. The Croatian with his vision, passing, defending & movements gave the equilibrium the team lacks now. The injury of James Rodriguez was a double blow, the Colombian was the midfield "connection" with the forwards adding surprise & options to the attack. It is no surprise that the Real Madrid forward line goal scoring average has dramatically dropped since these two players have disappeared, the BBC (Bale, Benzema, Cristiano) does not receive the balls that create the clear goal opportunities.
  • The other reason is the dramatic drop in form of Cristiano Ronaldo which is alarming. Call it emotional (recent girlfriend break-up) or physical due to his ongoing knee complaints, the player is frustrated & his desperation is contagious to his team-mates in a negative way. His "pathological" need to score in every match is conditioning his team-mates, especially Benzema & Bale, to play almost exclusively for the Portuguese, sometimes sacrificing their own clear goal opportunities. Seeing Ronaldo complain & throw his arms around cursing the 90 minutes is counter-productive for him & the team. The solution is obvious, sit Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench a couple of games so he can rest, relax a little & get his head together. But who has the balls for this obvious solution?

The positive side to all this is that Modric is about return to play, Sergio Ramos is almost back & James Rodriguez will soon be out of his foot injury. Three important & vital resources that coach Ancelotti needs so as to freshen, spark-up & give alternatives to his team. With these three players back, the Italian can give some players a rest, add back competition internally & if desired place the externally "desire" 4-4-2 system.

Only problem is will these three returning players all coincide in the needed moments & will all three have regained the form needed to put back the lost equilibrium? Big question, sure coach Ancelotti & mentioned players are all working extra hours to synchronize. Until then the team will face a mayor obstacle, FC Barcelona the 22nd of March. If Real Madrid can successful overcome this hurdle, I am sure the pieces will all fall back in place, the team will being rolling efficiently & Coach Ancelotti be given a back his status as "Saint"

1 comment:

Adebayo Owoeye said...

Well. .. they just lost to schalke!!! What a pathetic slump!

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