Morbo Minute–El Clasico Thoughts

Despite the seemingly constant confrontations, the teams keep delivering, and Sunday was no exception. I was watching the game at the pub amongst a very pro-Barca crowd, so I don’t claim to have seen everything (ie tactics, formations, political protests, etc.) but here are some of my thoughts on the match.

Have to say that Mou will have look back at his approach and feel that he got it right. Not the high pressure of second leg of the most recent Super Cup and not the wide open straight up play of the manita. His team withdrew into their own half, clogged passing lanes and then countered at pace. Ronaldo’s early goal set them on their way and Benzema really should have killed it off before half time. The Barcelona goals came from a series of deflections and miscues and a free kick of ridiculous quality. But I will say that Ozil should have come off sooner. I have read several people that praised his performance, but I still wonder about his endurance and quality at the highest highest level. And one other thing: Where is Coentrao? Hurt, AWOL, in the dog house?

As for the Blaugrana, I thought Adriano did ok at center back. He held CR7 on for the second goal, and that was disappointing, but he performed admirably in the midst of a patchwork backline. CR7 and Benzema switched early in the match to try and exploit some match ups but reverted back to usual attack. I felt Iniesta was marginalized due to Fab’s inclusion. It’s hard to get all of these players on the field but the Vampire never quite does the job as part of the front three. Speaking of which, they did not have the drive and energy of previous games but I chalk that up to the opposition—world class, highly organized, well-disciplined players preventing anything in the final third.

A thought on Alves. Twice now he has allowed the ball to come across the defense without closing down the attacker to my satisfaction. That is worrying, but his injury (last I heard was a hamstring and will be out three weeks) almost paved the way for a glorious moment for Montoya, whose effort smashed off the crossbar in the waning moments.

Felt that the draw was a fair result and of course Messi and Ronaldo would score the goals, because neither can allow the other to gain any advantage in the world’s greatest player argument.

So now what? Let me put this out there. This match could launch another run of Real Madrid results. In the first two years of Pep’s reign, deep holes saw Los Blancos win almost every single point in the run up to the second league El Clasico. Same scenario here, with the two teams playing again in March. Add to that last year’s stunning form— RMFC took off in fall and only lost one time the rest of the season, collecting 100 points—and this thing ain’t over by a long shot.

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