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La Liga 2015, Getafe vs Real Madris: Tactical Review

Sometimes the assist outshines the goal, and that happened on all three of Real Madrid's goals at Getafe.

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

The match's early kickoff, cold weather, and pace of play probably led to a number of fans falling back sleep. Both Getafe and Real Madrid lacked creativity for the first 45 minutes, and as the hour mark crept up, this match started to smell a lot like a 0-0 draw.

Since I've started sullying the internet with my abysmal Paint skills, I've learned Ancelotti's squad is built to dominate the flanks. Kroos and Isco move the ball forward and out, where Marcelo and Carvajal help Ronaldo and Bale, who have Benzema ahead of them. A byproduct of this is a negligence of the center of the pitch, and it happened in the first half at Getafe.

Getafe weren't stubbornly loading their defensive third, but they did compress as Madrid pushed forward. Alexis, Naldo, and Roberto Lago held their own, and Madrid look lethargic and out of sorts trying to attack down the sides. Not having a strong central presence made Madrid a bit one-dimensional.

What eventually led to Madrid breaking Getafe was better off-the-ball movement and individual skill. Ronaldo's opening goal came from an otherwise dead play thanks to Benzema's dribbling on the byline. Bale buried it with a pretty textbook counterattack.

A Getafe free kick from midfield was headed out, and from there it was basically a four-on-four, and all of Real's guys beat their men. Ronaldo had options to try to pick out Benzema in the dead middle of the pitch, swap wings over to Bale, or lay it off to James (which he, obviously, chose). James couldn't have made a prettier pass, and Bale handled it on the half-volley perfectly. Sometimes raw talent wins out, and it did in this instance.

The final two goals had something in common, and it wasn't just that they were assisted by James Rodríguez. On each goal, the ball didn't cross the pitch laterally until it was in Getafe's box.

This isn't something I've noticed Madrid do before, but it worked well against Getafe. With the orange line dividing the field in half and the little red circle being the ball, it shows both Bale and Ronaldo scored from the right side of the pitch, despite the ball only crossing sides just seconds before.

Without an aforementioned central attack, Madrid swapped wings very quickly and very close to goal, and it just so happened James' delivery and Bale/Ronaldo's finishing were great enough to score.

It's alarming how long it took Real to open up the game, but it's comforting that they were able to do so with lesser-used tactics. Benzema showed some brilliance, James had himself a game, and Bale and Ronaldo got moving in space very well. Sometimes that's enough to take three points on cold day on the road.

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