Monday, March 1, 2010

Firepower


Kaka, Pipita & Marcelo: the 3 South Americans played an amazing Offensive Game
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For the second straight week, Real Madrid has romped through the pitch and has put their opponents to the sword. For the second straight week, we showed that characteristic of our squad that all of Madridisimo has been drooling to see week-in and week-out, a flagrant, shameless showcase of Firepower.
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This is good news for all Madridistas especially in the wake of the scandalously poor performance at Lyon… as we look forward to the return match and host a series of top Spanish teams at the Bernabeu (with Villarreal down from our 6-goal blast and Sevilla due to arrive this weekend). With Sevilla due to fly in this weekend, and Lyon a few days later, it feels very comforting that our beloved Merengues have all strapped on their shooting boots and are in the mood for some real goal scoring action. I would like to further add: that like the Riazor (though perhaps to a lesser extent), Tenerife has been regarded as a cursed due to Real Madrid’s infamous losses of the La Liga title in that little island. Perhaps, next week, we can all once again celebrate the breaking of yet another curse: our Champions League last 16 curse that has gripped us for the last 5 years.
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Pipita Higuain: This man deserves a Pay Raise. A Big One.
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1.) Let me start by proclaiming and explaining my Man of the Match: Gonzalo ‘Pipita’ Higuain. He was my favorite Real Madrid player of last season and he is becoming my favorite current Real Madrid player, period. The Argentine scored the match’s 2 opening goals to set the tone for the match and allow us to proceed for the rest of it with both confidence and comfort. With 16 La Liga Goals, he is now right in the thick of the fight to be the league's 'Pichichi'... Let me also point out that this is 5th brace of the season. For those who watch the beautiful game with a footballer’s eye: let me point out that the 22-year old scored one goal with his left foot and another with his right. Both were well-taken and clinical finishes that are hallmarks of a top level striker.
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Sadly however, at 1.5million Euros a year, Pipita does not make the kind of money that a world-class striker playing for Real Madrid does. Neither is the 2.5million/year that seems to be on the table for him. With Raul at 6m and Castrol boy at 13m (I think)… this is a scandalous travesty. Pipita said midweek that he would earn his extension on the pitch with goals. Valdano has responded that his feats will not go unnoticed and will be rightfully rewarded. Let’s all hope that this becomes the case.
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2.) After seeing Iker Casillas commit his fair share of blunders on the pitch in the last weeks, Casillas’ cat-like reactions came alive again last Saturday: making the life of the Tenerife attackers completely miserable. I wish to bring up this point to remind all the Madridistas out there who have been enjoying the fireworks the last 2 games at the opponents’ goal, that our Saint is still alive and kicking… and that he’s… well… still Saintly.
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3.) With guests in the house for the weekend (sleeping on the Living Room Couch), I was not able to catch the match on our Big Screen TV. I had to settle with streaming the match which usually resulted in me watching the game in another language. I had the fortune of catching a UK-Skysports broadcast of it though… (much better than the English Language coverage that we have here in Singapore). In the match, the commentators spoke about Marcelo calling him ‘wonderful for strikers and a nightmare for Center halves’ after showing a replay of his wonderful maneuver to recover the ball and poke it forward to assist Higuain’s first goal… and then another replay showing a chance that his poor positioning offered to Tenerife.
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It’s been the subject of conversation here in the blog: how the backline should be shuffled given our weaknesses at left back. Let my state my opinion on Marcelo once again: he’s a good left-sided midfield player: but must never be allowed to play Left Back. Last Saturday, once again, he was very good going forward but very poor in defending. Without Arbeloa, I suppose we had no choice… once the ‘2’ is back however, the Brazilian should be pushed forward to the midfield right away.
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5.) Are we now seeing the emergence of Kaka in Real Madrid? If we were to ignore the Lyon game (where EVERYONE played poorly…. Though he had some good moments during the second half), I think we can now start tracing the improvements on Kaka’s game coming out: a much more vertical and incisive game. Apart from his runs, the ‘8’ has not been as careless with the ball as he has been early on. His passing game has also improved tremendously as exchanges between him and his teammates have helped improve the ‘construction’ of our attacks. Let’s of course not forget the 2 goals he has scored in the past 2 matches. Guillem Balague mentioned in his Skysports pre-weekend La Liga preview:
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“...Also, what's happening with Kaka? We saw the way he celebrated against Villarreal and I think it's fair to say he is not happy! It appears as though he is putting himself under too much pressure psychologically. He takes things too seriously and doesn't seem to be enjoying himself as much as Ronaldo is.”
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With his strange, attempt to do a celebration jig with Cristiano after his goal, perhaps signs of him REALLY settling in with the squad and develop that chemistry with Castrol Boy is coming along. Madridisimo looks forward to the positive outcome and what it can do for the team on the pitch.
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6.) Xabi Alonso once again played the role as the beating heart of the Madrid midfield. The Basque midfielder simplified the entire game for the midfield with his passes and allowed us to control the match. In stark contrast, Lass didn’t seem to need to tackle anyone to win balls, while Granero was rather poor. If there is one thing that horrifies me at the thought of the Lyon game: it is imagining how we will manage to cope without Xabi Alonso at midfield. My educated guess would be perhaps Guti (which might partly explain why he’s being ‘reserved’) partnered by one or 2 Diarras. A sad anecdote to last Saturday’s match was to not see him get the chance to play against his brother.
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Raul tells us: 'Count 'em!' That's 227 for '7'
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7.) Item number 7 will of course refer to ‘El Siete’ Raul: who scored his 227th goal to move to 3rd in La Liga’s all-time goalscoring table, tying Don Alfredo’s record. Appearing as a substitute, ‘El Kapitan’ turned in Van Der Vaart’s cross into the net with a seemingly-simple but technically superb flick. What a magnificent way to cap off a ‘Manita’!
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Finally, as some of you may have noticed, I've edited the layout of the site a little bit. I've changed banner at the top of the page and I've also added a poll at the right hand side of the page (sort of an experiment.... if we get enough people to vote in these polls, I plan to make them more regular). So please vote your Real Madrid Player of the Match  last Saturday... and also on what you think the outcome of our Champions League tie against Lyon will be.

2 comments:

  1. Hey Mac, I really like your blog and I think your points were spot on (particularly the one about Higuain)!

    I'd love to see you on Twitter. ;)

    twitter.com/ILoveReal

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  2. Hi sjdvda... Thanks!
    Will look into it perhaps further down the road: my current goal at the moment however is to be more regular in this blog to keep you guys coming back and enjoying the site.

    ReplyDelete