Crazy, crazy, crazy match. Was totally worth damaging the sleep and watching it with my brother xD. This should serve as a quickfire and probably inaccurate in parts review. I plan to write a detailed review in a week or so, highlighting all the issues with the 4–4–2, which came out to the fore today.
1. NO MORE SERGI AT RB PLEASE. He seemed to be at fault for CRs goal, with his reluctance to make a tackle and then was provoked by Marcelo. Yes, he created the first goal, but he can’t defend to save his life. Seriously, why does Semedo get treated like crap even when he’s put superb defensive shifts and shows decent stuff with the ball? A RB’s first job and job description is defending. Sergi is anything but good at this.
2. Valverde, Marcelo left oodles of space behind him. Why not play Dembele and Semedo in a 4–3–3 from the start? Pep played Isaac effing Cuenca in a CL semis home leg when we had lost the away leg. Why can’t you trust a generational talent in a match like this? Seriously, I’m sick of this cowardice from you. You could have surprised Zidane with this and upset his game plan, but you’ve become too predictable.
3. Messi and Suarez were horrifying in putting pressing work in the first half and RM repeatedly exploited that gap with the superb combination play from Marcelo- Kroos- Benz- CR. Seriously, these guys have grown too accustomed to the 4–4–2 with poor high press and a team with good individual quality can simply scythe past. Time to bring full blown high pressing back. I can’t believe that these guys had a week’s rest and yet were this lazy. Lunacy from the players and Valverde. RM had an exhausting CL match vs Bayern and yet worked harder. These players have grown too entitled man. Valverde has a much harder job next season than we realize- waking up these players, along with getting rid of this cowardice in his approach.
4. In the first goal we conceded, Sergi’s reluctance to tackle stood out for me.
5. In the second goal we conceded, the backline and midfield slept. I know you lot are a man down, but guys, seriously? The whole 7–8 guys turning off at once? Great vision from Asensio there (can’t believe Barca missed out on him because Barto was stingy for 2 Million. FC Banterlona indeed).
6. Messi went absolutely nuts in the second half. Man, if only Keylor had missed that brilliant save and we had gotten the third goal. The players seemed to wake up as well, but the fact that they needed that push is highly discomforting.
7. Valverde probably would have made adjustments in the second half (saw one instance of him writing down a lot), but Sergi’s red card totally damaged any such chances.
8. I have complaints with Rakitic, but one of them isn’t his El Clasico performances. Man turns up big time in them usually.
9. Finally, Barcelona’s offensive structure in the first half was poor, along with the defensive (pressing) structure. Absolute shit of a half, exposing the inherent issues with this 4–4–2.
Some RM thoughts:
1. Zidane anticipated Barcelona’s plans (well, my grandma would have as well) and did well to shred it apart. If only RM had some more luck in the final third.
2. RM scored an equalizer in the second half, but their offensive structure lacked that killer edge without CR.
3. Casemiro should write a book called “how to get away with fouling”.
Refereeing seemed to be crappy for both sides. Don’t think either side could really complain about it (not that it won’t happen).
Finally, I’m growing sick of this periodic chaosball from Barca. Setien, here I come next season!
PS- Rosell is accused of serious crimes and you guys want to show support to him? You lot deserved a loss today. Sick board and sick spectators who did this: