Real Madrid: A Brief Rant on Los Galacticos 2.0
Two out of three games lost now. Both against the strongest opposition Real Madrid has faced so far. Not a good sign at all, but nothing to panic about. The team is new, and is still gelling.
Manuel Pellegrini has a few faults. The 4-2-2 formation may not be ideal for this team. Also, Pellegrini is the only one so far who cannot see that Raul and Benzema cannot play together very well.
And Higuain continuously finds himself on the bench. Whenever he has been called so far, he has done extremely well, except maybe for pre-season, which really does not matter anymore.
Another problem is Pellegrini repeatedly starts Marcelo at left back. We all know Marcelo is no good at left back. We saw how Jesus Navas made Marcelo look like nothing but a fool. And Marcelo was marking Raul Albiol instead of Alexandre Pato for AC Milan's third and decisive goal.
Drenthe is not a good left back either, and Arbeloa is injured. But why not give Ezequiel Garay a chance? He has played at left back before for both Argentina and Racing Santandar. Give him a chance, at least.
But more importantly, the players need to take responsibility. A few of the players, especially the new ones, need to justify their price tags. Yes, it is early, and they still need time to gel, but we cannot be saying this all season, can we?
Cristiano Ronaldo and Raul Albiol have been absolutely fantastic. Kudos to them for adapting so well, and playing with continuity.
Kaka has flattered to deceive so far. I personally thought he would be the Galactico who would do best this year, but clearly he has not done well. Sometimes he is too unselfish, trying to pass when he has the skill to dribble a player or two and score.
Other times, he loses the ball just when you stand up cheering as you believe he will make a successful pass. Yes, he has made some great assists, but 65 million Euros should yield more.
Xabi Alonso has been a little better than average. A player of his quality, brought in for such a hefty price tag to give balance to the team, needs to pull up his socks as well. When you have Alonso and Lass in center defensive midfield, clearly you cannot wish for many more players. Although Alonso has not been disappointing, he needs to find his feet.
Then there is Karim Benzema. Really, apart from a game or two, Benzema has been anonymous. His work rate is pathetic. Raul, the club's biggest icon and record holder is always running, tacking, and trying to get something.
Benzema, on the other hand, clearly is not working hard enough, despite being a point striker. Either Benzema ups his game, or Higuain should start.
Then there are the old players. Let's not even talk of Gago. The sooner he is sold, the better. I still believe Gago is a really good player, but for a slower tempo league. Maybe Gago will do great in Serie A (and no disrespect to Serie A here).
Then there is Marcelo. Except for his goal and few contributions up front, Marcelo has been Real's worst player so far this season. He is reminding me now of Heinze.
Marcelo is a good player, I believe, but maybe as a left winger, not a left back. But what he has to realize is that, when he is being played at left back, he has to play as a left back. He is constantly leaving his flank wide open in games and even when he is there, he is easily beaten.
Marcelo is the only one to blame for Sevilla's first goal and Milan's third goal. On both occasions his marking was nothing but horrendous.
Sergio Ramos has not been at his best, either. Yes, he has been out for a long time due to injury and has not gained match fitness and sharpness yet, but what Ramos should remember is that we Madristas expect a lot from him. So he needs to come back to his best as soon as possible.
All in all the defense needs to gel quickly. There is just one new player in the starting defense, and there should be no excuse. Madrid's defense has really been horrible, and to win anything in football, the defense need to be tight.
And, of course, after another false dawn, Guti has come back to what he is best at: inconsistency. On his day, there is no better passer of the ball than Guti. When not on his day, there is no player worse than Guti.
So far, credit to Raul, Granero, Albiol, Pepe to some extent, Lass, and of course San Iker.
Higuain should get more playing time and probably even Van Der Vaart. Let's hope. Also, when Van Nistelrooy is back, he should get more playing time, as we all know his ability to score and score and score.
For all those who watched Madrid's game against Milan, the best the team played was when it was down 1-2. Why is it that Madrid plays its heart out only while being behind? After scoring the first goal, Madrid completely relaxed.
Los Galacticos 2.0 is a fantastic project and the team can win every silverware this season. But what is required is hard work. The team needs to train harder and gel quickly. And working hard on the pitch is a must. The players have to work hard all game and not only when they are a goal down.
Pellegrini cannot be blamed all the time. How were he and his tactics wrong for both of the Sevilla goals or for all of Milan's goals? Then, look at Villarreal this season. I think it shows what a good tactician the Chilean is.
My point is, the Merengues need to work together and harder. And this has to start before Cristiano Ronaldo is back, so that the team will not depend on him.
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