Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Finding Hope.... To Play for Pride... and even more Hope

Juande Ramos: He has given the team Tactical Organization, Discipline and Confidence. He is also giving Madridistas hope.
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Many expected a rout, a beatdown, a massacre. People were mentioning possible scorelines like 5, 6, 7-0. They weren't so wrong to think so because I as a Madridista feared the same thing, knowing that it was all truly possible.
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Since Capello, we've always played Barca on the counter (except of course that night of the pasillo). The difference today however was just that we didn't even have enough warm bodies to put on the field. Heck, we even tried an unfit Sneijder. We had a makeshift defense too with our rightback Sergio Ramos on left back. That was the beginning of the surprise.
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Yes, yes, yes. We played like a small club as Cules (Barca fans) are now criticizing us. They call us cowards, called us pathetic. What would you all have us do? Play Schuster style? To get hammered with 7 goals? Now THAT's stupid. THAT's pathetic. Every great team should and will play according to who their opponents are and how they play. Every great manager will use his resources in a manner that will make it hard for his opponents to do what they do: for Barca's case, it was about denying them space, giving them no time, never allowing them to feel comfortable even if they had the ball. And it almost worked.
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Who knew that Madrid could actually be ordered, organized, disciplined, and tactically proficient to repel Barca's relentless tiki-taka onslaught? For 83 minutes at least. Juande did so apparently. Seems like he's pretty good afterall.
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Few knew we had a bright right-sided youngster named Miguel Palanca. I say draft him into the squad even if we're getting a winger on January. With Robben always hurting and with 'Acci-Drenthe', it's good to have choices.... especially from the Cantera.
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The only mistake I think that Juande made was to give up perhaps too soon on his 4-4-2 (or 4-4-1-1 ?) and switch to a 4-2-3-1. Perhaps he decided that he was ok with a draw? In swapping Guti for Javi Garcia, Juande lost the guy who can make that defense piercing laser guided pass on the counter (like he did vs. Sevilla at the Bernabeu under Capello) in favor of another defensive bodyguard. He then swapped the pacy Pipita for Van Der Vaart, to turn the now paceless Raul, who had been working his ass off helping at midfield into the 9. So we lost our pacy attacking option for an attacking midfielder who can't really pass coz our guy who could make that one pass was subbed out already. VDV didn't help much as a defender either so what goes? Juande will need to figure out what to do with him. But to Juande's credit, he let Palanca in for Sneijder instead of VDV. It was a great surprise out of the bag.
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Super Iker was RE-canonized as a Saint Last Saturday Night at the Camp Nou Cathedral
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Then, there are some more: San Iker is back!!! Salgado it turns out have a few more decent performances in him, same for Cannavaro and there is hope yet for Metzelder (as a 6 yard box policeman)! Gago continues his progression and in Juande's system, I am really coming to believe that it will be further accelerated.
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Barca is now 12 points away though. And at 6th place, it is clear that the objective is now to make the top 4 to qualify for the Champions League next season. Realistically speaking, the only way we'll win La Liga is through a Capello-esque, double digit winng streak coupled by a sensational Barca capitulation: though not impossible, very imbrobable.
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Juande Ramos has made me delusional though: from his 2 matches thus far, I have now come to believe that we will achieve things in the Champions League. With his slew of Copa Del Rey, Supercups and UEFA Cup titles, I don't find Champions League success beyong reach anymore. We are now finding order, discipline and harmony, coupled with a new injection of new morale. January re-inforcements to regain our squad depth and the blessing of good luck that we are very much due will take care of the rest.
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We might not be heading for La Cibeles straight from the Bernabeu come May, maybe not from an away match locally either. But if we get there late from a flight from Rome, then Barca can have their La Liga title. We'll get them back for next season... Like we always do.

2 comments:

  1. Very well said. I simply loved the way to framed the last paragraph. No Madridista would mind a late flight from Rome. :D

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  2. I know [realmadrid200708]... of course this is partly the delusional/overly-hopeful part of me talking.

    But if we think about it: if we recover our injured players, find our form again, get the tactics and strategy right and get the right re-inforcements, why are we not to believe that we can win the big one?

    Thanks for sharing the optimism!

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