Real Madrid had a night to forget in Girona, losing 4-2 to four Taty Castellanos goals at the Estadi Montilivi. Even though these league fixtures don’t matter much for Real Madrid at this point, this was still a sore one and there’s a lot to analyse. So, here comes a look at three pre-match questions that we had going in, and three new ones that we should discuss following this loss.
1. Would the 2-0s continue?
Real Madrid arrived at the Estadi Montilivi in good form, with four 2-0 victories in a row. They actually had the opportunity to do something that had never happened before in Real Madrid history, which was to produce the exact same scoreline in five consecutive games. So, one of the big pre-match questions was if Real Madrid would manage to win 2-0 like they had against Chelsea, Cádiz, Chelsea again and Celta Vigo. But, nope. Not even close. It took just 12 minutes for Castellanos to score his first and end any possibility of another 2-0. Real Madrid did score two in the end, but it ultimately finished 4-2, as Los Blancos suffered yet another setback against Girona.
2. How would Lunin do after Courtois’ late withdrawal?
Coming into this game, all eyes were on Andriy Lunin, after Thibaut Courtois had to pull out of the squad on the morning of the game with a stomach bug. How would the Ukrainian do, especially considering he wouldn’t have been expecting this start? Well, he wasn’t good. It would be beyond harsh to pin this loss on Lunin, as it was Real Madrid’s back line that cost them this game more than the goalkeeper, but Lunin was a culprit too as he conceded four of the five shots he faced and produced poor distribution all game as well. Lunin has had a very tough time of it at Real Madrid, conceding 19 total goals from his 17 appearances with the first team.
3. Why are Girona so good against Real Madrid?
This match only served to confirm something we already knew before kick-off, which is that Girona are something of a kryptonite for Real Madrid. With this victory, the Catalan side now actually have the advantage in the head-to-head LaLiga record between these clubs. They’ve only met six times in Spain’s top division, but Girona have now won three of those, to two Real Madrid victories and one draw. Why are they so good against Real Madrid? Well, looking at this season specifically, it’s because Míchel is an excellent coach. As for the other Girona wins against Real Madrid in previous seasons, it makes sense that they’d be extra motivated to take on Los Blancos, considering most football fans in the Catalan city also root for Barcelona. This is one of the Blanquivermells’ most important fixtures of the season, and they destroyed a Real Madrid team for whom this was one of the least significant games remaining.
1. Manchester City can’t sign Castellanos on loan before the semis, right?
Taty Castellanos, wow. This was one of the best individual performances against Real Madrid in some time. In fact, the Argentine striker became the first player since 1947 to score four goals against Real Madrid in a LaLiga match. This was the best night of his career so far for the player who is on loan at Girona from New York City FC. Both those teams are members of the City Football Group, as are Real Madrid’s upcoming Champions League semi-final opponents Manchester City. He can’t be loaned to Pep Guardiola’s side before the first leg, can he? No, of course not, and that’s just a joke. But, it’s true that Real Madrid’s defenders won’t want to see Castellanos for a long time after this nightmare.
2. Will we ever see Arnau Martínez vs Vinícius in a Clásico?
Vinícius was everywhere in this game, from scoring his 22nd goal of the season – to match his tally from last season – to clashing with opposition players and almost getting sent off. His individual duel with Arnau Martínez was fascinating, especially because the 20-year-old La Masia graduate has been heavily linked with a return to Barcelona. Martínez was given help in this game as fellow right-back Yan Couto was deployed as the winger on that side, but Vinícius still managed to dominate on that flank offensively. Then, when Girona had the ball, Martínez was very effective and even assisted his side’s second goal with the long ball forward. These are two of the best young players in their positions right now and we could be seeing this rivalry in El Clásico, if Barça decide to make a move for him.
3. What happened to Militão?
There was so much bad defending on the part of Real Madrid in this game and Éder Militão was the main culprit. Considering he recently said he feels he’s on track to becoming the best centre-back in the world, he’s going to be thoroughly scrutinised after this horror show. That’s quite unfair given how good a season he’s had, but it is true that he had a shocker here. From the way he was shouldered off the ball for Castellanos’ second to the way he stood like a scarecrow at the cross from which the Argentine netted his fourth, this was an exhibition of schoolboy defending from Militão. So, what happened? I think we just have to assume that he had a bad day at the office, like we all do, and that the lack of importance of this game led him to lose concentration, which he himself has admitted is his biggest weakness. As bad as this was from the Brazilian, let’s not overreact. Surely he’ll be able to shrug this disaster off and get back to his best quickly.