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Bernabeu Bites, 09-30-13: Comfortably Numb

Welcome to another Out of the Blue and Into the Black, Time Out of Muddled Mind, Marathon Monday edition of Bernabeu Bites emanating live from the world's most uncomfortable chair. Shall we?

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno
  • The C-Word is not just another example of Arrested Development's dark, twisted brilliance--but a word 'Crisis,' to be specific, that is being bandied blindly about like a bag full of blunt edged 4-4-2s in the wake of Real Madrid's disappointing, disjointed loss to eternal rivals Atletico Madrid. Dermot Corrigan has compiled an English language round-up that highlights some of the most choice bits of Spanish newspaper criticism of Los Blancos, in general, and Carlo Ancelotti in particular. Here's a fairly lengthy grievance run-down:

"Problems identified by both papers, just 100 days into Ancelotti’s reign at the Bernabeu, include not starting Luka Modric against Atletico, leaving out Dani Carvajal and playing Fabio Coentrao, some "baffling" substitutions, an over-reliance on Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale’s stuttering start, the surprise sale of Mesut Ozil, and the embarrassment of losing a second consecutive Madrid derbi to their poorer rivals."

That is quite a list.

  • Included in Corrigan's summary is an article by El Pais's Diego Torres which examines Ancelotti's rather astonishing post-match quote that he thought Madrid would only be able to score from a cross against Atletico. Torres writes:

"The response was a confession. Despite counting on the most expensive forward line on the planet, worth some €300 million, Madrid’s play was so rudimentary that the coach assumed a goal could only come from crosses."

I had somehow missed that quote in the aftermath and it really is sort of jarring to read.

  • At least one vital piece of the Madrid machinery is close to returning, as Marca is reporting that Xabi Alonso is targeting a return in the October 19th league fixture against Malaga. The metronomic Basque master has been dearly missed by club and country and his return should provide a level of stability to the side that is currently lacking.
  • Zonal Marking has shared its typically excellent, insightful analysis of the derby. It's troubling to me that Real are characterized as not "having anything in the way of a proper gameplan." That's a pretty damning indictment on many levels, particularly because Atletico, a side that for all of their considerable quality, are anything but unpredictable.
  • The Independent ran a tremendously interesting recap of the derby that examines the strange place Carlo Ancelotti has been stranded between a desire to play a certain way and personnel more suited to another. Here's a teaser:

"Between the cut-throat direct football that favours Bale and Ronaldo and the smooth passing game being called for by the purists, Ancelotti is offering up a hotch-potch that  resembles neither."

How the Italian maneuvers within this space will obviously determine Madrid's season.

  • Finally, as we start looking towards the Champions League clash with Copenhagen, the Sports Mole notes that the Danish squad also suffered domestic defeat this weekend, being beaten 3-2 by Brondby. The loss saw the reeling Danes tumble all the way down to 11th place in Denmark's top-flight.
Onwards and upwards.

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