Real Madrid arrived at the Canary Island this Sunday looking to take on one of the most possession minded teams in the Liga BBVA. The Canary outfit were unbeaten in their last three games and were looking to keep their streak going in what proved to be a tricky game for Madrid indeed. The first 15 minutes of the game showed a very determined Las Palmas side who were willing to keep the ball when Real gave it up and defend at all costs when Madrid had it. Now, how did Madrid respond to this? They completely shut down mentally and were so fragile in their determination it's hard to believe some of these players are actually wearing this jersey. It's like a virus within the team, as soon as someone makes a mistake or loses possession of the ball, every one else just loses the plot. NO ONE in this team has a TRUE leader mentality and if your captain is making plain stupid tackles and getting himself sent off with his team only leading by one goal and he is currently going on a personal record of 20 red cards since he got to the Spanish capital, this is not going to lead us anywhere near a European title.
Although he opened the scoreline with a header from a corner kick, Sergio Ramos was absolutely reckless in defending and was caught out of position SO MANY TIMES and he along with maybe Arbeloa were arguably the best players on the field so imagine the level of these players at the moment. Las Palmas found it so easy to simply pass their way into Madrid's box and thanks to Keylor Navas this game was not a total disaster for Real Madrid. Constant misplaced passes and rushed playmaking when in possession of the ball just made this game a huge headache for Real. Las Palmas were absolutely brilliant in the opposition's half, they were fast with their passing created up to four clear 1 on 1 occasions against Navas. Although Madrid created more chances (11 chances, including a fantastic through ball from Modric to Cristiano which saw the Portuguese forward waste it by shooting it directly at the Las Palmas keeper) the Canary side were absolutely more efficient with their plays and every single chance they had looked like a goal waiting to be scored. Possession during this game was evenly split at 50%-50% in a game that didn't feel like Madrid did anything remarkable when they did have possession of the ball. After a rocky first half in which Madrid managed to get ahead through a Sergio Ramos goal in the 24th minute, one could only hope things were going to get better in the second half, oh but how wrong you would be.
The second half started and the same problems from the first half not only repeated themselves but were naively worsened by a defensive line who were simply atrocious. Minutes passed by and Real looked worst and worst as time went on. Zidane opted for some substitutions and threw Jese in for Bale, whose game was truly one to forget. The Welshman completed only 50% of his passes and did not create any clear chances through that left wing. Up to minute 87" it was a complete Las Palmas show. Intricate passing in midfield, quick on the counter and pure bravery to go at a team who they knew were mentally frail and boy were they right. A mistake close to midfield from Kovacic who came in for Isco in the second half led to an interception by Las Palmas and ultimately led to their goal. Minute 87" came along and a perfectly placed chip by the former Castilla youth Willian Jose leveled the score at 1-1. Anguish and pure acceptance of incompetence showed in the Real Madrid's players's expressions, it's like they saw this goal coming and just wanted to get the game over with, which is perhaps one of the most worrying factors of this team. At the dying seconds of the 89th minute Real's dreadful showing was saved by Casemiro who scored another header from another corner kick. After taking a lead, Real Madrid suffered every single second on the clock while holding on to this result and things were made just a tiny bit difficult when our CB captain got himself yet another red card and left the team with 10 men.
Players like Isco, Cristiano and Bale were absolutely missing but the Welshman's current form can be put down to simply not being completely match fit at the moment but a player like Cristiano getting less than 30 touches in this game is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE. A player like Isco who was invisible during this game was just another dull syrup in this tasteless drink. His level of apathy is really starting to get old. Zizou is giving this player every chance to be a starter in this team, to work hard, to show his skills in a more attack minded side under Zidane and what does he do? Throw his jacket against the floor and walk around when the ball doesn't perfectly make his way to his preferred right foot. It's about time this player who many believe to be a fantastic promise starts to show his true potential.
There's been a constant problem with this defense for the past three months that has been truly, truly worrying, if a side from the bottom half of the table can put this defense under so much pressure then there is no reason to believe this team to magically become a perfect unit and win the CL. If this team under Zidane ever gave some good feelings, they are most certainly gone by now. This team has proven time and time again how vulnerable they are when it comes to defending as a unit, even when they defend it's always an individual tackle by Ramos or Carvajal or an individual clearance by Pepe, they simply do not give off any sort of security as a unit and when you look at the level of these players there's absolutely NO REASON this should be the case. It's truly just like every game is an absolute roller coaster and not the fun kind.
The only arguments I can think these players have would be a motivation based problem, which to its core is completely understandable but NOT EXCUSABLE. Are these players forgetting that in order to win the CL they will have to face the best teams in Europe? How do they expect the Bernabeu faithful to believe that they can go anywhere in that competition when they can't comfortably beat a team that sits 15th in the Spanish league. This game, the Atleti game, the Granada game and the Roma games all show a vulnerable team, a team who doesn't have a clue how to compact their defensive lines and that look like they've never played together. Truly worrying days for this team and a very cloudy looking end to an easily forgettable Liga campaign.
Sevilla and Barcelona await.