After a week filled with lots of questions both on and off the pitch and after the heartbreaking departure of Xabi Alonso, Real Madrid had another chance to improve against Real Sociedad at Anoeta. After a good start, the team unbelievable crumbled to leave us with even more questions.
The European Champs looked really good during the first minutes. They were overwhelming the home team with dangerous crosses inside the box and it didn't take long for them to score. It was at the 5', on a fantastic corner taken by Kroos that was headed by Ramos to make it 0-1. A couple minutes after Ramos hit the crossbar with on free-kick, Bale delivered a fantastic play (assisted by Modric) to give his team a 0-2 lead (11'). It was Bale with a brilliant nutmeg on Elustondo and then a well-placed shot to beat Zubikarai.
After that humiliating goal, Real Sociedad tried being more aggressive but still looked helpless against players like Modric who was having a monster game so far. Marcelo, who was having a fantastic game (like many others) had two consecutive chances to score. Kroos had a great chance too, but was denied by Zubikarai. How it wasn't 4-0 by now? Who knows. This one still looked like it was in the bag, right?
Football, however, is a game where things can get ugly in the blink of an eye, and for Los Blancos, it was about to get really, really ugly.
Set-pieces are still Real Madrid's Achilles' heel, making them extremely vulnerable in what should be routine plays. Real Sociedad, although they were clearly inferior, made it 1-2 on a corner kick, like it always happens. At the 40', just five minutes after scoring their first goal, Real Sociedad tied the game thanks to a defensive mess and a great header by Zurutuza. Just like that, it was 2-2. Two shots on goal, two goals.
More than one person was surely wondering, "what the hell is happening?", and it amazingly included the team itself. The start of the second half wasn't any better for Real Madrid. Real Sociedad nearly scored at the 48' on a header saved by Casillas with his left foot. Thing is, he was unbelievably lucky since it was another aerial play that Casillas failed to attack properly.
The pink in team finally seemed like it hit rock-bottom at the 64'. Prieto easily got past Ramos, who was trying to do...something, and crossed it to Zurutuza to make it 3-2 for Real Sociedad. Iker Casillas might've had a chance to stop the cross since it went just a couple feet away from him.
Desperate to change something, looking absolutely lost, Ancelotti took Modric out at the 73' to give Khedira some time to try and fix this mess. How? Not even Carlo knew the answer to that question.
At the 75', the team finally reached a new low after a goal by Carlos Vela. It seemed like he might've controlled it with his left arm. Still, he was right outside the six-yard box and Iker just stood on his goal line without even trying to do something. Instead, he saved his energies to loudly complain at the ref.
Real Madrid's next meaningful chance came at the 89' on a good play by James. It was followed by a good chance by Benzema, but, summing up the misery of the game, the shot went wide.
Thankfully, that was it for the game. A miserable 4-2 loss in a league where this results kill you later on.
After a terrific, dominating start, the team crumbled after the 2-2. The second half looked like never started for them. There was one team on the pitch and it was Real Sociedad. The guys in pink looked like zombies chasing the ball without any clear ideas.
The second half was absolutely pathetic. No one gets a passing grade. Absolutely no one. It looked like they simply stopped trying and caring, starting with their captain, Iker Casillas. It's more than clear that he makes everyone around him worse, especially on set-pieces. The team knows that if they aren't perfect on those, it's going to cost them because they aren't getting any help from their GK. The experiment of giving him more confidence hopefully is now over. If it isn't, Ancelotti has to be severely criticized for it. There might be a tiny chance to fix him, but at what cost? Ancelotti cannot make him the priority when there are key points on the line, especially when you have a fantastic GK on the bench in Keylor Navas.
That said, the defense isn't doing their GK any favours on set-pieces. Guys like Ramos and Pepe look like lost puppies on those, and it's pretty common to look at them blaming each other after a goal.
Guys like Modric, Marcelo and Kroos, who had a great first half, became absolutely terrible in the second and started giving the ball away very easily. Others, like James, were miserable the entire game. And what about Benzema and Bale? It's easy to forget they played in the second half since they did nothing meaningful. The coach didn't help at all. Ancelotti looked petrified on the bench and didn't even try to adjust or lift his team after they were clearly lost.
You can blame Di María or Xabi Alonso leaving or not bringing this guy or that guy. This goes deeper than that. After a miserable Spanish Supercup and these couple La Liga games, the current European champs can't possibly expect to retain their title or hope to win La Liga.
Changes need to be made by Carlo Ancelotti. You can't stand there looking lost when your team is throwing away a two-goal lead. That simply cannot happen against anyone. One thing is to lose, but to lose like this? He better find the solution to this mess soon or he might find himself without a job sooner than we all might've thought.
This was simply an embarrassment to the Real Madrid badge and it should never, ever happen again.