Monday, September 1, 2008

Sliced Open by the R(i)azor

So now the Curse Continues... 18 years running now without a win against Deportivo in their stadium, and last night we had ourselves, not the ref, not an intimidating stadium, but ourselves for the sorry loss.
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Our midfield wasn't as bad as many of the commentary websites have said. We weren't choked out, we can control of the game for very long spells. No one bullied us in the midfield except for Jonathan (?) the Canadian dude with the funny afro. On their end, Guardado played an awesome game. But heck, we had a few things going for us... but I think we had a few more questions:
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Why is Guti so obsessed with keeping himself aligned to Diarra? By keeping himself as a 'pivot' in the middle, he is just relegated to making sideways passes to the surging fullbacks and backpasses to the defense. Every so often, he can direct a pass forward but that was it. If he were to unhinge himself forward, I really think he'd be able to direct play more effectively and provide those incisive passes for Ruud and Raul to latch onto.
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Why did Robben keep insisting on drifting inwards diagonally? When on the right side, he's shown us before that he can surge along the right touchline and round his man to cross for his forwards. But not once did he do this the entire game. Instead, he kept insisting on drifting inwards diagonally, trying to take a shot or making a soft pass.
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Why did Schuster wait for so long before trying to make substitutions? My halftime pick for subs would have been to bring De La Red in to replace Raul so that Higuain could play as a striker and Guti could be placed in an advanced role. Schuster waited till there was practically only 10 minutes left before he made his subs. Among the subs were Royston Drenthe whom I felt was quite useless. I also felt that maybe they should have let De le Red take those last 2 free kicks near the Depor goal.
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Beyond the questions, I think everyone has said it: Our set piece defense was absolutely awful. I actually thought that Pepe played a great game in open play. But he just absolutely ruined himself by being culpable for both conceded goals.
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In some way, having something of an expectation of losing this match because of the supposed curse of the stadium cushions the blow of the loss. But I can't help but feel like we wasted such a great opportunity on a night where Barca fell to newly-promoted Numancia. By the way, I also just wanna say that the scheduling of these matches has just been terrible! Just when I finally get a taste of La Liga action, I have to wait another 2 weeks thanks to an International break. Whatta bummer!

3 comments:

  1. whoa! we've got the same opinion about the match except for a few things!

    I thought our midfield was pathetic. By playing Guti alongside Diarra, it took the attacking game out of him. I hardly saw him go past the half-line! Even Diarra went forward more than him. And, whats with Higuain on the left wing??? Raul did his usual work-your-socks-off-without-end-product. Ddi you notice sometimes we were 4-2-4!

    Pepe had a great game except for those two moments. Life is cruel for a CB.

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  2. Thanks for the comment los blancos! Will add your blog to my link list!

    Higuain was supposed to play the role Sneijder played before: start on one flank but drift to the middle to sew up the midfield and attack: the same role we should expect from VDV when he's back, same role I hoped Guti would play that night. No disrespect to Higuain (I love the guy), but De la Red was great during the pre-season too and I felt that he was the better option to start with Diarra to allow Guti foward. Thing is, Higuain's not very good at that role. He's also just so-so as a winger. To me, he's Raul's heir (2nd foward) and should see time in that role if Raul's not effective that night.

    Yes we were playing 4-2-4 when we were attacking, but with no 'attacking fulcrum' (Guti) we were dull and blunt in attack.

    If Schuster wants a double pivot then he should sit a striker down and let De la Red or Gago (whom I thought was great during the Olympics) sit beside Diarra to have 2 attacking midfielders foward (Guti, VDV or Sneijder) plus a winger who can interchange sides (we only have Robben now). I think that attacking lineup will still have enough firepowe.

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  3. Wow, great insight view of the hodoo game :p , a new madridista like me will appreciate this.Thanks for your effort in bringing us, the real madrid fans best posts of real madrid

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