Since the clasico, Real Madrid is under constant scrutiny. The team has now bounced back in two wins since the demolition on the 21st, but, there are clearly some problems with this team despite the victories.
Here are three notes:
- You could easily see today why Eibar are one of the better defensive sides in La Liga. Heading into the match, their 12 GA was on par with Barcelona's, and just one worse than Real's. Today's performance from the little Basque side was an example of how you can press high while simultaneously staying defensively compact.
It was a scheme that was hugely disruptive to Real Madrid's midfield trio (Modric, Kroos, Kovacic), who misplaced a combined 15 passes in the opening 24 minutes. Eibar did a really nice job closing down passing lanes which led Real Madrid to several long balls and giveaways throughout the match.
- Rafa's system is other-worldly at times. For a good chunk of the second half when Lucas Vasquez came in for James, Real Madrid were lined-up with three central midfielders and three wingers. No defensive midfielder and no strikers were on the pitch - that is unless you've been brainwashed into thinking Toni Kroos has been successfully converted into a holding midfielder since we pryed him from Guardiola's scheme, or if you think that Ronaldo as a '9' is actually a good thing.
- Let's break down that last sentence a bit more. Ronaldo as a striker might work if you have players feeding him constantly and creating chances for him. His aerial abilitiy and pace on through balls indictes that enough. But we've seen enough of a sample size now to know this experiment needs to end. Ronaldo thrives alongside Benzema - who may not be in Madrid much longer if he's convicted - and needs to play off of a forward.
If he's not involved, he's not conducive. Today, he was invisible for the general duration of the match, and was pretty ice cold in the two or three chances that popped up for him - chances he normally would've buried.