Real Madrid's winning streak was cut and so Curitiba's record will remain intact for a while. While it is true that the Los Blancos did not perform clearly worse than in the last few games in 2014, Ancelotti's men did not meet the expectations posed on them yesterday.
5 takeaways from the 2-1 defeat
- This team struggles when facing an intense pressure in the midfield - And this is something we will likely see again next Wednesday against Atletico. Real Madrid held the possession yesterday (61-39, according to Whoscored), but their passing game was not as fluid as usual. Toni Kroos was never able to dictate the tempo of the game and the aid by Isco and James was not enough. There should be no doubt that Luka Modric will recover his starting spot as soon as he is ready.
- Jesé's entrance on the pitch was an actual upgrade - Ancelotti has said Jesé would be important and yesterday he proved that he really trusts on our wonderkid, by letting him take Bale's spot when Real Madrid were already losing by 2-1. Although he did not manage to make an impact on the scoreboard (which he did last season in the very same venue), he created a lot of trouble in the right wing, together with Carvajal, perhaps because Valencia's defensive system was better suited to defend against a left-footed winger there. He is not going anywhere.
- The Kroos-Isco-James trio may be threatened by Sami Khedira - Khedira's entrance was also positive for Los Blancos, as it brought some muscular power in to face Valencia's tight defence in a not so good game by James. In addition, Sami's presence eased some of the defensive burden that Kroos was suffering and served to let Isco go to his natural spot as a left central midfielder, where his offensive potential was unleashed.
- You need better accuracy to win tough games - Despite not playing their most brilliant football, Real Madrid still managed to shoot 19 times, almost doubling Valencia's attempts (11), who got their two goals out of only three shots on target. Ronaldo and Bale missed clear chances that would have likely brought all three points to Madrid, and these are the type of errors you normally regret.
- Barça lost, but we'd be fool to think nothing happened - Yes, we are still on top of the table and we have played one game less than Barcelona and Atlético, but we should not take those three points for granted, as we will need to beat Sevilla to earn them. After Day 17, there's only a six-point difference between the first and the fifth on the table, which is the tightest in the last fifteen years (thanks, Mister Chip). Barcelona, Atlético, Valencia and Sevilla will give us a hard time until May.