Slowly but Surely, Real Madrid are Getting Their Sharpness Back
This may sound like a crazy thing to say after a loss where Real Madrid were all over the place, but Los Blancos showed some improvements from their 4-1 loss to City. Their sharpness on the ball and fitness levels seemed much better, as could be seen in their rapid and fluid attacks, coupled with some tasty dribbling moves through the heart of the opposition. For the most part, Real’s players looked in-sync with each other and less rusty than before.
Shades of Ronaldo/Di Maria/Bale blitz vs Bayern 2014 pic.twitter.com/PP9PPaHU5u— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) July 30, 2017
However, a couple players didn’t seem to match the offensive level of those around them: Bale and Benzema. Bale, who usually thrives in the type of frenetic environment that dominated the Miami “Clásico,” was absent for most of the game. His touches were heavy, his runs led him nowhere, and he seemed to be on a different frequency from the rest of his teammates. Benzema wasn’t as off as his attacking partner, but he simply failed to make an impact in a game state that was begging to be dominated by talented offensive players. Seeing as it is pre-season, Benz and Bale’s sluggish play shouldn’t worry fans too much, but it would be nice to see their football sharpness rise at the same rate as everyone else’s.
Entertainment was the Priority, Not Winning
If you’re wondering how Real played so well and so badly at the same time, the answer is that their main purpose was to entertain. The same goes for Barcelona, who along with their rivals, simply looked to create as many nutmegs, dribbles, and goals as possible. This explains not only why both defenses were so disorganized, but also why Real kept making so many rookie mistakes from the back. If your goal is to have a great time, why bother taking up defensive positions and why not try to pass your way out from the back whatever the cost?
This approach pretty much dumped all tactics out the window. While Valverde’s side did have something resembling an organized press, any other form of structure or team shape was inconsistent to say the least. Players roamed as they pleased, creating a fluid game with open spaces appearing everywhere. It’s safe to say that we would all have died from heart-attacks if this was a real Clásico.
Talk of Loaning Kovacic to Make Way for Ceballos is Crazy
Pre-season isn’t a great time to evaluate players, but we already know Kovacic is damn good. This friendly just served to solidify why Mateo is the best young central midfielder in the world (barring Paul Pogba). Dribbling, tricks, passing, acceleration, intelligence, goals... this boy has it all.
Beautiful movement from Kova without the ball, and great finish with it. pic.twitter.com/6AXVUqUaTJ— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) July 30, 2017
Kova with some witchcraft. pic.twitter.com/STP4HuX1MQ— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) July 30, 2017
Real Madrid Need to Take Their Next Friendly a Little More Seriously
I am a big fan of teams not giving a fuck about results in pre-season and using this time as a springboard for building fitness and trying out new tactics, but the moment has arrived for Real to get a bit more serious. After the game against the MLS All-Stars on August 3rd (local time), Madrid face off against Manchester United in the European Super Cup five days later. While it’s alright that Real haven’t been result-oriented so far, Los Blancos need to go into the All-Star game with a ruthless edge. Re-building your winning mentality for a new season isn’t easy and it takes time, so Zidane’s men need to get themselves in the mood ASAP before they fight for their first trophy of the season. Despite the improvements on offense from the 1-4 loss against Manchester City, Real’s defensive shape, pressing, and all-round organization needs a fair bit of work. Needless to say, any silly mistake on or off-the-ball will probably be punished by Real’s opponent who have had a longer pre-season and are much more prepared for this encounter.
Will Real Madrid be ready for the European Super Cup?
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