Real Madrid Vs. Celta Vigo, La Liga 2012: Essien Shines As Real Wins 2-0

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

Real Madrid was able to overcome FIFA Virus with a 2-0 win against Celta Vigo. Essien and Modric were arguably Real Madrid's best players, but Mesut Özil was brilliant also. The team will now be completely focused on defeating Borussia Dortmund next Wednesday.

It hasn't been a game to remember, that's for sure, but nobody was expecting one after a FIFA break in which Real Madrid lost its three pure fullbacks of the roster. At least, José Mourinho used this match to gain some confidence for his players. Michael Essien probably needed some minutes at the left back if he was going to play there against Dortmund. Well, he got the minutes and he was Real Madrid's best player. And yet, he looks to be physically limited, since he didn't even run at full speed during the whole game.

Essien moved Ramos to the right back position, and Varane started besides Pepe. What nobody expected was to see Modric, Kaká and Özil starting at the same time. Since Khedira was sidelined and left out of the team's list, Modric needed to work defensively to help Xabi Alonso, and even though the game didn't start very well for him, his second half was great. Özil was constant and his nice dribble allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to score Real Madrid's second goal off a penalty-kick.

The bad part of the attacking trio was played by Kaká. The Brazilian player was great with his national team, and Real Madrid fans were hoping to see him getting some minutes, but he disappointed once again. It was probably a perfect game for him, but he couldn't find his place on the pitch, maybe because of Higuaín and Ronaldo's mobility. Higuaín played fairly well and scored Real Madrid's first goal with a lucky cross that hit the back of the net.

After Higuaín's goal, Real Madrid's intensity went down, and Celta started to have possession and even some scoring chances. Not a big deal, though, as the match reached halftime and Mourinho decided to introduce Ángel Di María for Kaká.

Mourinho's team didn't improve much then, but the players were able to keep the ball longer. You could tell the team was lacking Khedira's intensity on and off the ball. But then, Modric started to play. The Croatian player stole the ball from Celta a couple of times and was getting into rhythm. Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty goal came a little later, and then it was all Real Madrid's. Casillas saved a very decent header by Celta Vigo but he also let the ball slip through his fingers some minutes earlier.

Mourinho introduced Callejón and Benzema for Özil and Higuaín and Modric was feeling more and more comfortable as the time was passing by. But still, Real Madrid's most highlighted man was Essien. One could've thought that Essien needed a bit of time to adapt to the left back position, but he played like he was born in Santiago Bernabéu's left wing. If he's able to get back to the physical presence he had at Chelsea, he will be a very valuable asset for Mourinho, since he has not lost his tactical approach to the game.

Real Madrid will now travel to Dortmund to face Borussia. Sami Khedira should be back in action, playing alongside Alonso once again. It's hard to put Modric on the bench after the second half he played against Celta, but Dortmund is a tough rival and Khedira has been one of Real Madrid's best players this season.

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