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Open Thread: January 21, 2021.

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Another issue of the Daily Merengue!

CD Alcoyano v Real Madrid - Copa del Rey Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Hola Madridistas!

The Open Thread/Daily Merengue is a place where you can discuss anything and everything related to football. Feel free to discuss the topics presented here, or start your very own discussions! The Open thread will be posted every day by one of the mods: Valyrian Steel, Felipejack, YoSnail or Oscnar.

In the Aftermath of the Disaster at Alcoy

There’s no avoiding it: Real Madrid are plumbing the depths of where a world class club can go after yesterday’s crashing out of the Copa del Rey. The 2-1 loss to Alcoyano, a third division team, was the one clear remaining shot at a trophy. As Marca notes, this meant two title hopes lost in the span of six days, breaking the hearts of Madridistas around the world.

The accountability and attention when teams such as Real Madrid fall on their face going over such small hurdles is directed at the manager. Indeed as Zidane said about whether his job is in danger: “My position? Let’s see what happens in the next few days.”

Zidane’s post-match press conference in full:

We can certainly empathize with the fan in this post from Ultra_Suristic:

What went wrong?

Kiyan Sobhani and Om Arvind break a lot of it down in Managing Madrid Podcast: Alcoyonazo.

Real Madrid were defeated again by a team that played a low block. Alcoyano barely had a possession game, often going with ten men behind the ball to clog the area around the 18 yard box. Yet, they happened to be efficient in their few forays down to the Real Madrid goal. There was a jarring lack of inspiration from the Real Madrid attack that included Isco, Mariano, Hazard, Valverde, and Marcelo. There was also complacency when it came to taking Alcoyano’s few offensive efforts as serious threats on goal. These are bad omens for the health of the connection between players and coaching staff.

Euan McTear, in his “Three answers and three questions from Real Madrid’s Copa loss at Alcoyano,” notes that Álvaro Odriozola’s long awaited return to the lineup did not look good.

Emily Wilson has collected some staggering statistics about this match:

¿Qué sigue? / What next, then?

At least for the short run, there is no choice for Los Blancos but to pick up the pieces and fight on. This Saturday they travel to the Mendizorrotza stadium of Alavés in Basque country for matchday 20 of LaLiga. One of the great beauties of football is how quickly teams of eleven men working together, who maintain a positive mentality in the face of difficult times, can click together and turn things around.

McTear notes (ibid) that as far as Zidane’s selection issues go life has become simpler: “At least now Zidane can play the old guard in every single match. They won’t need rest now that they won’t be playing every midweek.”

As we heard at the presser, Zidane makes clear what his mindset will be: “We are still in LaLiga and the Champions League. We have to focus, because we can do things. If my message reaches the players? You have to ask the players, I believe so. We’re in the same boat.”

Congratulations to Cristiano Ronaldo on 760 goals!

(HT: Ezek Ix)