Real Madrid defeated Sevilla 3-1 in one of the most eventful encounters of the season. Below are my immediate thoughts on what transpired. Player ratings and post-match podcast to follow.
- Alberto Toril went with a fairly novel lineup, deploying Møller as a lone striker ahead of an asymmetric midfield of Zornoza-Kaci-Maite, with Oroz playing as an attacking midfielder oriented to the right.
- Real Madrid vs. Sevilla is usually a good showcase for how chaotic football can be and today was no different. The visitor’s defensive compactness was questionable to say the least, inviting high-risk/high-reward balls between the lines, which drew Sevilla’s defenders to the center and opened up space out wide for Olga and Athenea; Madrid created a fine chance for Møller this way early in the first half. Sevilla were not as productive offensively but still generated a respectable amount of threat, throwing forward numbers on the counter and going direct to Toni Payne at every opportunity.
- The chaos levels were supercharged by Olga’s performance. As a natural touchline winger and extremely left-foot dominant player, she struggled trying to provide balance in the halfspace but also committed a number of uncharacteristic giveaways when facing play. It’s too early to say for sure, but it looks like Svava and Olga are more suited to competing for the same spot rather than operating together.
- Sevilla kicked off the peak stretch of madness from a corner kick. Misa came out unconvincingly and paid the price.
Goooool de @NataliaGaitan3!!! (0-1) pic.twitter.com/Ju8s0p1QMx— FCBSeny (@FCBseny) January 29, 2022
- Madrid reacted instantly and carved open an opponent that clearly did not expect to be attacked so quickly, for whatever reason. Maite’s run into the box was key, as was Møller’s to the near post to attract defensive attention. Olga made her best contribution in this sequence.
Gooooool!!! Gol de @maite_oroz!!! (1-1) pic.twitter.com/9Hqo1W8JHD— FCBSeny (@FCBseny) January 29, 2022
- If things weren’t nuts enough, Zornoza quickly put her side in the lead via a long-range goal with her weaker foot.
Tremendo latigazo de @claudiazornoza!! Gooool!! Pero creo q es gol de @eSullastres en propia puerta. (2-1) pic.twitter.com/CdNOxW2yAl— FCBSeny (@FCBseny) January 29, 2022
- Svava largely handled Payne well in the first half but ended up getting beat in behind for a 1v1 that Misa saved. The new signing’s confidence and composure were enough to make me take note, as was her attention to her defensive positioning.
- Toril changed up the dynamic of his team fairly early in the second half, bringing on Cardona for Olga and Teresa for Zornoza. Athenea, who had a number of bright moments on the right, switched to the opposite flank, enabling her to go either direction off-the-dribble. There were a few jaw-dropping moments where she twisted her markers inside-out.
- Asllani came on for Møller soon after. The latter had a decent game but looked stretched as the lone striker flanked by two very wide wingers. The Dane is an excellent hold-up player with a nasty late run into the box — qualities best accentuated in a two up top instead of next to an attacking midfielder who eats into those duties. In a way, this is similar to Asllani, with the Swede just being a more tactically-resilient and higher-quality footballer, as demonstrated by the multiple chances she generated once present on the pitch.
- Cardona has yet to dominate a game like last season since coming back from injury, but she instantly improved the dynamics of Madrid’s possession play, showing and driving inside intelligently to provide spatial variation and better Madrid’s progression angles. This, in conjunction with Asllani’s impact, was a direct factor on the third goal, which Athenea eventually cleaned up.
Golaaaazo de @atheeneeaa_10!! Tras tres milagros de @eSullastres!! (3-1) pic.twitter.com/sxZOlLkIge— FCBSeny (@FCBseny) January 29, 2022
- Real closed out the result with Esther and Lucía replacing Athenea and Kenti, respectively.
- Maite was maybe the best player on the night. Playing as an attacking midfielder/#10 has unleashed qualities she always had in tight spaces and she is thriving like we’ve never seen her before (at Madrid).
- There’s no summarizing everything that occurred in live time. Simply too much happened. If you missed this one, catch the replay on Real Madrid’s Twitch. This game was pure adrenaline and vibes.