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Open Thread: April 14, 2022

The Thursday Edition of the Daily Merengue

Real Madrid v Chelsea - UEFA Champions League Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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, Ezek lx or NeRObutBlanco.

City it is!!

Its confirmed. Real Madrid have yet another mammoth task ahead of them. PSG, Chelsea and now City. Joao Cancelo will miss the first leg while de Bruyne and Kyle Walker left the Atletico game with injuries as confirmed by the team at MM. True to the nature of an Atletico game there was a Melee and a red card for Felipe near the end of the game but it remained goalless at full time to send City into the semifinals.

Of course Los Blancos aren’t favorites but anything can happen when the Kings play in this competition

By the way there’s a huge La Liga game this weekend.

Los Blancos can take a big step towards securing a 35th La Liga trophy by beating Sevilla this weekend at the Sachez Pizjuan. It is a notoriously hard place to even get a point and with a rabid fan base. Also of concern is the injury situation post the second leg against Chelsea. Marcelo is out while Benzema and Mendy are doubtful to make the squad. Considered how lost we look without Benzema this is extremely concerning. With Miguel Gutierrez out for the season we might see Alaba at left back with Militao and Nacho in the middle. That is if Nacho recovers from his cramp of course. If Benzema is able to give it a go, he must play.

An objective look at Carlo’s thought process.

Carlo’s strategy is pretty obvious both from his starting team selections, substitutions and post match comments. We need to play close attention when he says that Camavinga, Rodrygo and Valverde fresh from the bench can change the game. He is right of course. They certainly can but it also shows that he favours KCM to start. Why? Their experience? Fear of bottling a game from the start or running out of steam at the end? Finishing the game strong with our young players? I think I understand Carlo’s thought process so let me break it down.

  • Start KCM because their experience is invaluable. They’ve been there done that sort of strategy.
  • Hope the game goes well and we’re either leading or its a goalless draw at half time.
  • No substitutions at half time and watch the game for the next 20 minutes hoping for much of the same as was hoped in the first half.
  • If we are down, throw on the substitutes (Camavinga, Rodrygo etc) and hope we mount the comeback.
  • If we are leading, delay the substitutions even until extra time if need be.

Essentially, what this boils down to is that Carlo is a big believer of managing the game to begin with but finishing it strong . For the majority of the time its worked for him so why would he change it. However the one time it didn’t, we got knocked out of the Copa Del Rey.

That’s where it get scary. Against PSG and Chelsea our subs changed the game and were essentially better than their subs. However can we say that will be the case against City or Liverpool (if we get there and if they beat Villareal)? We can only hope. It’s a high risk strategy and if it doesn’t work you’re knocked out. I would much rather we go for it from the get go rather than attempt to tire the opposition out and then hit them with fresh legs. Don’t forget the opposition can bring on fresh legs too.

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