It can be said that all that matters is the three points, and in the grand scheme of things, that’s absolutely true. If Real Madrid win La Liga, we won’t remember the team playing badly in a win in Balaidos 10 years from now, we’ll only see the league trophy in the cabinet.
But it’s also true the performance last night, and a lot of the performances in general, have been underwhelming.
Here are three quick takeaways from last night’s game.
Defending both crosses and set-pieces remain a huge problem for Real Madrid. Celta Vigo were pumping crosses into the box over and over again and finding unmarked players who got on the end of headers. Nolito scored — not with a header, but as an unmarked cutter in the box. Alaba and Militao are having trouble tracking those runs. Javi Galan, Denis Suarez, and Iago Aspas combined for 27 crosses on their own and all of them gave us problems. The only player who was remotely good defending crosses in the box was Casemiro, who had six aerial duels won:
An inflaxted xG
Real Madrid’s xG was basically all on the penalty spot, as seen below. They still are not generating enough quality chances, and are relying on things like bail-out fouls in the box or individual brilliance. The deep block isn’t working. It’s not stopping anyone from creating chances, and it’s certainly not creating enough offensively either.
looks like the big bang at celta's penalty spot pic.twitter.com/m3e8Vffmzb— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) April 2, 2022
Point two directly leads into point three. Real Madrid are playing so deep, that they are unable to counter in an efficient manner because they are easy to press and counter-press.
A further problem: They decide to press randomly, and it’s pretty well always terrible. One or two players randomly decide to press on a whim, and the rest of the team is not in sync. It’s not cohesive or well planned. It is a complete tactical mess. This needs to change; though, there is little faith in seeing it changed given we are already near the end of the season and things have no improved.