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Initial Reaction: Real Madrid 3 - 0 Almeria

7 things we saw..

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

  1. Lackadaisacal start. A Wednesday evening match against a basement-dwelling La Liga side is not the most motivating of matches, hence the horribly daft start to this game. The players seemed disinterested and overly-confident. Luckily, the team grew as the game progressed.
  2. Illaramendi is a mess. It's a sad state to see, but Illara looks mortified when he receives the ball - thinking way too much when he has it. The only action he seems capable of doing these days is to make the safe pass backwards or sideways to Arbeloa / Kroos / Pepe / Varane. His positioning is awful. I was watching him all game without the ball, his ability to get open and position himself properly looks amateur compared to Xabi Alonso. Toni Kroos suffers the most from this. Luckily, Almeria are not an opponent that can take advantage of the Basque midfielder.
  3. Jese needs to regain his confidence. Understandably, his confidence was shot, but he got better as the game went on. There was a play in the first half where he gave the ball away on a counter-attack. The Jese of last season would have darted down the flank and put in a good cross. But that Jese was confident. Somewhere Ancelotti has a role in this, but Jese needs to find a way to motivate himself and regain his composure.
  4. Coentrao. He was shaky and his defensive stance - what he's essentially known for - was out of sorts for periods of this game. But, as always, I enjoyed how good he is at trolling whoever is marking him. Pretty well frustrated the hell out of Edgar and had him in his pocket.
  5. James Rordriguez - MOM. I will say the same thing I say everytime in the post-game reaction: His vision is top notch and pretty well incomparable in today's game. In the 31st minute, the whole team was deep in its own half and James - out of absolutely nothing - launched an incredible long ball to Ronaldo and started a counter. And his goal? Ouff... Fitting.
  6. Since we're talking about Coentrao and James, that synchronized throw-in made me spit out my juice.
  7. Isco. I enjoyed his energy when he came on. Hopefully he can continue to remain positive despite being demoted back to the bench. He's gifted, no question, but he needs to show maturity by keeping his comments about playing time out of the press and just taking advantage of the time he has.

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