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Post Wembley Thoughts

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Wherein we discuss and pontificate..

Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

A lot of digital ink is being spilled about Real Madrid’s recent performances. It’s frustrating to see a club this good go down in flames against an English side, which up until this week Los Blancos have never done.

I guess there is a first time for everything.

Right now, our depth is being tested. Just look at last season when we had a bench that was full of players that could start on any other team –- but this season, not so much. Look, we’re relying on an 18 year-old right-back who’s been filling in for one of the best right-backs in the world. While he’s tried to hold his own, it’s not working. Honestly, Achraf should still be in Castilla still, but here we are, and until Carvajal gets healthy, we’re stuck.

Sooner or later the other foot was going to drop, and drop it has.

I really don’t put the blame on the kid, he’s doing the job he was sent out there to do – though his game needs work, which is why he should really be playing in Segunda B. Zidane is supposed to put players in positions to succeed, that’s his job. And I believe he hasn’t done that with Achraf at all.

Before you get it twisted, I’m not blaming the kid for our woes. That would be silly just on the face of it, but it is a smaller problem in the overall problem the club is having. Saying that, this is the hand we’ve been dealt. Hopefully if all goes well, we’ll see Dani back in the starting eleven soon. Until then, we need to get by.

Right now, Real Madrid are taking a beating in the Spanish press (what’s new). Crazy headlines and stories abound especially after the loss to Spurs. I mean just look at this blurb from Jesus Sanchez – which sums up the Spanish press freak out.

“Real Madrid have transferred their crisis to Europe, where the sun always comes out, where they can always escape the storm,” wrote Jesús Sánchez. “But at Wembley they unloaded all the clouds that appeared in Girona, even in the favourite competition of Los Blancos, who had gone 30 games without losing in the group stage of the Champions League. Tottenham, vibrant in their performance, destroyed the champions after a fantastic second half when they imposed their speed and punch to burst all the fragile seams of the team that was the envy of the continent but has now become vulgar and easy to beat.”

They may be freaking out, but Sanchez isn’t wrong.

It was hard to watch this club be just a shadow of itself. While I always watch the full match win or lose, I was very tempted to just turn the damn thing off and play FIFA to cleanse my palate after that poor showing.

And it’s not just like one person is out of form, it’s by and large the entire team. From Toni Kroos to Sergio Ramos – every one of them looked terrible, with Ramos getting burnt more times I can count. Kroos’s passing which usually looks like a snooker player running the table, was abysmal. You can pin that loss on every player that hit the pitch that night – except Isco. Once again Isco is in great form and was the best player for Los Merengues on the night. He seems to be the only player in form whether it’s La Liga play or Champions League.

He has been the one true shining spot in and otherwise dark situation.

As my thoughts keep getting jumbled, let’s end this with some bullets!

  • I’m not sure how many times I can say this, but Casemiro is not a center-back. Sure he might have played there at one time, but his lack of knowledge was on full display against Tottenham. When the club moved to a back three, pushing up the full-backs to wing-backs was a mistake, and Casemiro looked uncomfortable and didn’t seem to know where to step. If you’re going to switch to that, it might be wise to have center-back on the bench that can sub in and make sure there isn’t a loss of defensive production. But instead Real Madrid came out with a back three and Casemiro dead center. If you’re going to do that, put Ramos in that spot and have Case either play on the right or left. I hope Zizou learns from this.
  • Speaking of Sergio Ramos, he was an absolute dumpster fire. I don’t think I’ve seen him have that kind of match in quite a while. I thought that particular version of Sergio Ramos was finally locked away. But alas, there he was. And when he’s having a bad match, the rest of the backline isn’t as cohesive as it should be.
  • How freakin’ good is Isco? He has become far and away my favourite player. He goes out there every match and leaves it all on the field. He’s been in such amazing form that I don’t want to see it end. Because at some point it’s going to happen, it’s just the way the world works.
  • I have to say looking back on it — why in the hell did Real Madrid sell Danilo? While yes, he was more or less a scapegoat at times, and had his issues on the pitch, he was/is a serviceable right-back. He seems to be doing fine over at Manchester City getting minutes and he even has an assist this season.
  • Something needs to be done come January especially if Carvajal isn’t ready to go. I’d also say transfer for an experienced depth player. We have some hot young talent sitting on our bench, not developing — at least on the pitch, in game situations. Zizou’s rotation/sub pattern still leaves me baffled at times. Either play the kids in the league as needed or go get one or two ‘depth veterans’. Because until something is done, this is going to be an ongoing problem.