Monday, August 25, 2008

2008-08-24 Real Madrid vs. Valencia, 2nd Leg Spanish Super Cup - Thoughts after an awful first Half

Real Madrid have been atrocious. 1 goal down and 1 man down… and the man down, Rafael Van Der Vaart, making his debut, was the only player in the entire first half who has really made the Valencia goalkeeper work. What the hell is going on? Guti has been awful. His passing has been sloppy, rarely able to reach the desired targets. Half the time we have the ball, we’ve been making back passes to the defense. This was how badly we played against Arsenal in the Emirates Cup and likewise during the first leg of the supercup. Do we miss Gago? Should we integrate Dela Red into the starting XI ASAP? Is Schuster making a mistake my insisting that Guti should align himself in such a deep position as Diarra? There is a clear missing link between the defense / defensive midfield and the attack. Raul and Van Nistelrooy have been standing around waiting for service. Without that roving attacking midfielder, both of them are useless.
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What are Schuster’s options now? A few ideas I have in mind:
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1.) Pull out either Raul or RVN (my preference would be to send Raul to the bench) and replace him with Robinho (if we dare play him against in an upset Bernabeu) or Higuain, both players able to play deeper into midfield and can generate some form of passing and coherent passing sequences in the Valencia half.
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2.) Pull out either Raul or RVN (my preference would be to send Raul to the bench) and replace him with Dela Red. This would allow Dela Red to slot into that Central Midfield role with Diarra and allow Guti to roam forward to try to slip in his forward passes to the forward (RVN).
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3.) Or do we pull Diarra out and just go with a more offensively-capable midfield with Dela Red replacing him? I don’t like this idea.
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My preference is still the first option since we are in need of a goal and without Van Der Vaart or with the plan to withdraw a striker, we’ll need a goal scorer so Robinho or Higuain on the pitch gives us a better chance of scoring the 2 needed goals to win this thing.
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Something is wrong with Schuster’s system here: he’s insisted on deplying this system for the past few games and it’s yielded the same result: a lack of aggressiveness or offensive-mindedness, no creativity and 2 isolated strikers. He needs to have a look at this and do something: this doesn’t smell good or bode well for the upcoming season. If I hear him blaming Van Der Vaart’s sending off as the reason why we lost this one, then I say he’s clearly missing the plot.
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Here I am: still hoping for the turnaround.

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