Real Madrid 4-1 Galatasaray: 6 Things We Learned
Real Madrid saw off visitors Galatasaray at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday by the score of 4-1. The Champions League clash was both exciting and tense, but from the first kick of the ball, it was clear the home side were going to be in control.
Los Blancos have booked their place in the next round of Champions League action by winning their group, while Galatasaray now have to fight to stay alive.
In this article, we will discuss six takeaways from the match at the Bernabeu and what they mean for each club.
*All statistics are courtesy of WhoScored.com.
No Ronaldo, No Problem
Cristiano Ronaldo has been in unbelievable form this season, so it makes sense that Real Madrid would take a slight hit without him in the lineup. Yet, that didn’t happen at all.
The home side were still able to put four goals past their visitors without Ronaldo. In fact, they probably should have found the back of the net at least two other times.
Real Madrid’s attack was not as sharp without Ronaldo, but it was still very deadly. This is a good sign from the Spanish giants because it shows they have put the right pieces around the Portuguese captain.
With the rest of the squad playing well alongside Ronaldo, it could be a very successful season for Real Madrid.
Isco Made His Case, Again
Isco has been in and out of the starting lineup battling Luka Modric for the role. But when he has played, he has produced some absolutely stunning football.
Against Galatasaray, Isco pulled the strings beautiful, completing 86 percent of his passes and finding the back of the net once. He showed that he can lead the attack and provide the creativity needed behind the forwards.
Carlo Ancelotti has a wonderful problem on his hands of having to decide between Modric and Isco. Both have played wonderfully this season, but Isco continues to give something extra, and the manager has to take notice.
Didier Drogba Has to Be at His Best to Save Galatasaray
Galatasaray did not play a bad match by any means. They came to the Santiago Bernabeu, put up a fight and were bested. The players gave it their all, but it was clear that everything begins and ends with Didier Drogba.
Every attack from the visitors seemed to come down to what Drogba would do. His incredible assist to Umut Bulut is just one example of how well he gives Galatasaray an explosive factor in attack.
Drogba was really the only attacker who gave the Real Madrid defense any problems. He nearly had a headed goal until Iker Casillas saved it, and even off the ball he was a threat.
It is quite clear that Galatasaray’s hopes of continuing in the Champions League this season rest on the shoulders of Drogba.
If the 35-year-old continues to show the form he has this season, Galatasaray may just have a chance to advance. But if Drogba is shut down, their run is over.
Angel di Maria Is Fighting for His Spot
With the beauty of the Ronaldo and Bale partnership in full swing, it seems as though Angel di Maria is the odd man out. But he isn’t going to go down without a fight.
Everyone expected Gareth Bale to be the main attraction with Ronaldo watching the game from the stands, but it was surprisingly di Maria who had the best performance of the night.
The Argentine winger scored, gave an assist and won three dribbles against Galatasaray. His explosive runs and accurate passes gave the defense a headache all night, and they really had no answer for him.
Di Maria is aware that he is now the third choice winger at Real Madrid. It is a fact he must accept, but that doesn’t mean he won’t try to change it.
Ever since Bale joined Los Blancos, Angel di Maria has been in spectacular form. You can count on that continuing.
Hope Is Not Lost for Galatasaray
Following their defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu, Galatasaray now sit two points behind Juventus for the second spot in the Champions League group. But hope is not lost.
The beautiful game of football never ceases to amaze, and this time is no different. With only one game remaining for each club in the group stage, Galatasaray will host Juventus in just a few weeks.
If that is not exciting, I don’t know what is.
The Turkish outfit will have the chance to take their future into their own hands and decide their Champions League fate in front of their own crowd.
Only a win would put the club through to the next round, and you can rest assured they will come out guns blazing. Juventus will likely have to play their most difficult match of the season thus far, and there is really no way of determining who will advance at this point.
Real Madrid Must Improve Their Defense If They Want La Decima
For all the points being made about Real Madrid’s incredible offensive abilities, their defensive frailties seem to be getting completely ignored.
Against Galatasaray, Real Madrid’s defense was shaky to say the least. Sergio Ramos and Pepe again looked like they could make a mistake at any moment, and Ramos eventually did when he was sent off.
It is hard to notice the defensive problems at Real Madrid due to just how well the offensive is playing. But it is clear that there are a lot of holes in front of the keeper.
In this case, it doesn’t just come down to the defenders. The midfield alignment provided little cover throughout the match, and against a stronger rival Real Madrid could pay the price.
When it really comes down to it, Real Madrid’s offense is doing more than just carrying the club. But tasked with playing against a world-class opponent, the defensive problems could cost Los Blancos the match.
La Decima is an achievable goal this season. But if the defensive issues aren't fixed, they won't be winning the Champions League.
What did you learn from Real Madrid's victory? Can Galatasaray advance? What do you make of the defensive problems? Leave your thoughts and comments below!