- The first half saw a very disjointed Real Madrid struggle to piece together fluid attacking play, which was reflected in the stat line- Madrid failed to register a shot on target in the opening 45. Worse yet, Madrid lost Marcelo to a non-injury late in the first half, and while they were down to 10 men Villarreal Capitalized and won a penalty.
- Sergio Ramos again made a rash decision adversely affected his team. The Madrid Captain was drawn into an awkward situation when Raphael Varane needlessly gave the ball away, but only compounded the situation by blocking a shot with his hands- something he was guilty of at the weekend. But in true Ramos fashion, he made up for this lapse of judgement with a thundering header that leveled the score early in the first half. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this was the second time this season that Ramos has given away a penalty and scored in the same match.
- The BBC struggled immensely. It was clear that Zidane was serious about having the BBC start Madrid’s most important game of the season this far, as indicated by his decision to keep Bale and Cristiano on the bench last weekend. However, the trio failed to combine and hence struggled to impact the game. Gareth Bale was oddly taken off at the 70th minute, just as he was starting to influence the game. This was not aided by the fact that Cristiano had an extremely poor performance, as he constantly failed in one-on-one situations and made a myriad of bad passes.
- Is Zidane’s rotation policy is starting to show cracks? While this performance was by no means conclusive evidence that Zidane’s heavy rotation policy will not be successful in the long term, this match highlighted the fact that Madrid have not looked anywhere near their top form so far this season. The lack of continuity must be considered as a reason for this lack of form, but it must also be weighed against the fact that the early part of the season is laden with ill-timed international breaks and with the fact that Madrid have been hit with several injuries. Today’s slip-up was poorly timed, especially as Barca face Atleti at the Camp Nou.
Immediate Reaction: Real Madrid 1 - 1 Villarreal
Real Madrid Drop Points for the First Time This Season