Granada Vs. Real Madrid, La Liga 2013: Madrid Blows Up Positive Month (1-0)

Denis Doyle

It's not like Real Madrid cares about La Liga this season, but to play this kind of game after some good efforts on January is beyond any possible explanation. The team played one of the worst games in Mourinho's era and ended up losing 1-0 after an own-goal by Cristiano Ronaldo. Granada just had to play well defensively to prevent Real Madrid from shooting until the second half. Xabi Alonso, Di María and Higuaín were some of the reasons why the team failed.

Granada beat Real Madrid without making a single shot on target. That's right, Diego López was a court-side spectator, but unfortunately, he still saw Cristiano Ronaldo scoring in his own goal in the 22nd minute. It's not only about playing on the road, but Mourinho's team is still struggling defending set pieces. Nolito delivered a good cross, that's for sure, but Cristiano Ronaldo's try to clear the danger ended up hitting the back of his own net after a poor defensive effort on the jump.

It's pretty obvious that the team can't find the motivation to compete week in and week out in such pitches, but to play that way after the good performance on Wednesday's El Clásico is quite sad. It will be very hard to compete against Manchester United and Barcelona when the team plays this way on weekend's fixtures.

Real Madrid never tested Toño during the whole second half. Modric wanted to have the ball but never found his teammated in good positions. All Di María was trying to do was cross the ball to the box, and that shows a lack of effort and commitment. Higuaín never completed a positive play and got frustrated with the referee after he didn't call some fould on Granada's defenders.

Mourinho decided to introduce Benzema and Callejón for Higuaín and Khedira. The German player wasn't required at all, since Granada opted to play defensively after Cristiano's own goal, so Modric moved to play alongside Xabi Alonso to leave space for Benzema. Cristiano Ronaldo never played on the wing during this match, and he paired with Higuaín first and then with Benzema.

Mourinho must be worried about Di María, Benzema and Higuaín's form. All three of them are playing terribly, and it could be better for the team to start playing Cristiano Ronaldo in the middle to leave room for both Modric and Özil. Cristiano Ronaldo can't do it all, and Real Madrid clearly needs one of those three players to step it up and do it now before the season is already over.

Marcelo was Mourinho's final substitution. The Brazilian left back has clearly gained some weight, and he's very far from being ready to play against Manchester United with his current shape. He lost some important balls in dangerous positions and never created chances for his teammates.

If the starters are going to play like this for the next road games in La Liga, it might be better for the team to start doing some serious rotations to prevent unnecessary injuries. But the team wouldn't have the competitiveness required to play against a Manchester United team that is leading the Barclays Premier League by a really fine margin.

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