This just a simple pointing out a few thoughts from the week—mainly my thoughts on the team—trying to analyze a few things, and commenting on whatsoever there is around the 'Net.
I need you guys to tell me if you like it or not, and if I should continue doing it or not, so here goes:
El Clasico Recap
The performance surprised many people; it was a game that actually made us as Madridistas—despite we actually lost to the only team to which we should never lose-very proud.
Nevertheless, we felt something from that game, and personally I think it will be the actual turning point of the season.
I am not going to emphasize on the game play, or say who played better, or even say which team played better.
All I am going to say is that this was the strongest, most enjoyable, attacking Clasico for a long time.
It could have gone either way, and it kept both fans on the edge of their seats for the whole 90 minutes.
Champions League dream still alive.
Well, we got through, and I can say in some style.
Even though we lost to AC Milan, we actually learned to go out to other grounds and attack.
We played a good game against Milan and a great attacking game against Marseille. We could have won in the first one, and we scored three in the second one.
Conclusion? Thanks to the whole team for proving to the world we are coming—and we are coming strong.
Let's see who we play next, even though I actually don't care who we will get, simply because i think we will get past the jinx of the second round this time.
The Health of the Team
Last year, we lost VNR, Diarra, and Robben for a great amount of the season—at least in the big matches.
We hoped things will be better this time around, but sadly we were all mistaken.
We lost Sergio Ramos at the beginning of the season—even he was injured playing with La Furia Roja—but it still took him a long time to recover.
Then injuries started to pile upon us: Arbeloa VNR (again), Metzelder, Garay, Guti, and the most important one was losing CR9 for two months.
Last week, we knew that Kaka won’t play again this year, and, finally, last Saturday, we lost our big man in the back, Pepe.
Is it all bad luck, lack of training, or do our doctors just suck?
Why we can’t find this many injuries on any team except ours? Maybe we are destined to never have a full and healthy team.
My point is we have to look at our physios to see are they up to the task or not. Just a thought.
The Mestalla Clash
Many wrote us off. We had lost our two top signings, and, before the first 45 minutes were up, we lost our main defender.
How bad would it get?
Actually, it got better.
We scored three goals and won a very entertaining match.
Neither team was thinking of defending,but rather it was a show of attacking football.
Villa teased Perez with a goal to remind him what he missed during the summer, but Perez was smiling because his new boy Benzema was showing finally some of his potential and announcing to the world that he is up for the task.
One sad thing was the jeering from the crowd when Pepe was injured—shame on them.
I never thought anyone would wish for something bad to happen to a player or to rejoice when he was injured. Everyone could see he was in pain and in tears, yet they were jeering.
The Curious Case of Casillas
The always-dependable Saint Iker, surprisingly, was the weakest link at the Mestalla an outrageous jump outside his box to try to cut the cross which failed miserably, causing a surprisingly conceded shot to be deflected from his left leg.
So both goals were his fault.
I never questioned him, and I never will.
After all, he saved us so many times, but I think he needs a rest. He has played in every single game this season, except Copa del Ray matches.
I think he is tired mentally. Even against Marseille, he foolishly conceded a penalty and was lucky not to be sent off.
It is good we have only one match left before the holidays, and I hope he generates back to the mighty keeper he is (just ask Sevilla about him).
Solution to Pepe Absence
Let's not cry a lot. We lost Pepe; it's a fact, and I hope he gets well soon.
So what’s the solution?
I think it is time for Garay to step up and show why we stole him from underneath Barcelona’s eyes.
He is very talented with an eye for goals.
Plus he is young and has a lot to prove.
On the other hand, we need a backup for him and Abiol.
Metzelder is always injured, and, when he is not, it is dangerous to play him with fast attacking teams. He is slow for these kinds of matches.
I am not at all on board with buying LB, though many say it is our Achilles heel.
But I think it is time for Marcos Alonso (from Castilla) to take the chance.
If buying a young, talented LB is the answer, then these Castilla players well never get the chance.
I hope Pellegrini does what Capello did with Torres—he gambled and came out a winner.
Pellegrini showed to me and everyone else that he is actually cut out for the big teams.
Not many can do what he did in such a short period.
Yet he stayed calm when everyone was calling for his head, especially when they fell in Alcorocon.
He didn’t panic after losing his star players and always insisted on the team definition.
We are a team of beautiful football, and he is directing us that way.
He deserves praise, especially from me. I did criticize him before because he deserved it, and now I am praising him now for the same reason.
One note for him though: He still gets his substitutions wrong, but he reads the match really well.
People kept saying he needs to find a ways to put all these stars in his system.
But I say it is the players who should adapt to his thoughts and tactics, and they are getting there now.
Benching stars is a difficult task, which he accomplished very bravely.
X.Alonso is getting back to his game. He started slowly, and now he is controlling the midfield with authority—despite the energetic Lass sometimes closing down on him—but he showed why Pellegrini insisted on him.
Ramos is finally getting back to form and to a really good form (Euro 2008).
He has his few moments of napping, but he is a menace going forward (this one for you, Deepak).
Benzema did play well last Saturday, and I think he is adapting better now.
He has got what it takes, but he should be allowed time to adapt. I think Pellegrini was smart to introduce him slowly in the last few games, but if he had only done that earlier, maybe he would have shown his abilities more by now. Nevertheless, he is on track.
Sadly, when Kaka and CR9 were putting on their top performance, they got injured, but it is also good that the club isn’t rushing them to get back.
That’s why we saw CR9 play really well against Barca and then in the CL game against Marseille, scoring two awesome goals.
After Van Der Vaart's shaky start, he showed real heart in the games he is playing, always taking his chances well,and getting back to his well-known abilities.
One thing I noticed is that he is always tired during the second half, like he almost disappears from the game. This is something the coach needs to work one.
Higuain kept silent when he was on the bench, waited for his chance to come, and he took it superbly.
He is firing from all cylinders now.
It took him a while to know his new mates—after all it is not easy to change the heart and core of a team and expect the goal-scoring machine to not adapt.
Good news for him and us. Let's cheer for him to score more than the 22 goals he did last year.
Finally, to the AS and Marca, the so-called RM newspapers, I say to them, "Who needs enemies when they have you?"
Just read the crap coming from them every day, attacking the players or the coach, asking for firing this or changing that.
I honestly believe much of the pressure on the players is coming from them and not the other papers.
So, I tell them both, please, stay out and keep your mouth shut, and let the players and their coach play football.
Let me know what you think—your comments on the players, coach, and the team in general.