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Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale Must Rediscover Real Madrid Form for Sevilla

Associated Press
Paul WilkesFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2014

There are certainly easier places to visit in La Liga than the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium—especially when three days earlier, Real Madrid was embroiled in a war with arch-rivals Barcelona.

The open nature of the game is likely to have taken its toll, whilst Los Blancos were forced to play half an hour with just ten men. Their biggest players failed to show the ability that we are now accustomed to and they need a reaction if they are to avoid another huge blow.

Sevilla are playing well and finally getting the results they deserve. On Sunday they beat Osasuna in Pamplona, with manager Unai Emery making six changes to the team. He equalled the record set by Juande Ramos of five-straight La Liga wins for Sevilla.

That was after they overturned a 2-0 deficit to beat local rivals Real Betis in the Europa League last week. "After the effort last Thursday, some players weren’t recovered enough to play from the start," explained Emery about his selection, via Football Espana. "The team always comes before individuals and this has been a step forward in this sense."

That comment explains the problems Emery has faced within the dressing room. A combination of trying to create a cohesive unit on the pitch after so many squad changes and dealing with some divisive personalities that are still present has tested his resolve.

Of the 18 players involved in action in the past week, over half were not at the club last term, via transfermartkt.co.uk. From the attacking six that won at Osasuna, only Piotr Trochowski was part of the squad that finished ninth.

The overhaul saw several personnel leave for the English Premier League including Manchester City's Alvaro Negredo. The striker was even voted top signing of the summer by 59% of the top-flight bosses in the country, via Sky Sports.

"The performance and mentality of these players has been crucial," admits Emery, via Football Espana. "A series of good results like this reinforces the work we’re doing, shows the confidence of the players and puts us closer to our objective."

Emery has not fared well as a manager in matches against Real Madrid and Barcelona. This is a good opportunity to redress the balance a little.

All this means that Real Madrid's two most expensive players need to get back into the groove as quickly as possible. Gareth Bale was superb when the teams met earlier in the season, scoring twice and assisting another two goals.

Cristiano Ronaldo also grabbed himself a brace that day, when the world got their first taste of the attacking duo combining at full pace. The difficult adaptation of the Welshman due to injuries meant they were only showing glimpses before the meeting at the Bernabeu.

Their incredibly high standards and transfer fees mean they are perhaps judged more harshly than most. Let's not forget that before Sunday, they were both looking strong.

Bale had scored four goals and created another seven since the start of February, whilst it was an amazing nine strikes in six matches for Ronaldo and then he added another in the Clasico.

The most surprising part of the wingers not performing against Barcelona was that it was an open game, conditions which should have been to the two players' benefit.

Both forwards will be keen to make amends in Seville, which is good news as Real Madrid will require leaders on the pitch. The suspensions of Sergio Ramos and Angel di Maria mean they need to raise their game mentally to replace the defender and technically to cover for Argentinean's stunning performance at the weekend.

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