After thrashing a spirited Seville side by 7-3 on Wednesday night, Real Madrid would go to Vallecas in inspired form and romp to a victory. After 48 minutes in the capital suburbs, it looked like everything was going to script. Los Blancos led their city rivals by 0-3, Cristiano Ronaldo with a pair of goals and misfiring Karim Benzema with one as well, new mega signing Gareth Bale registering two assists.
Then it began. With talisman Xabi Alonso exiting the fray at half time, Real Madrid began looking very nervous and uninspired. Courtesy of Pepe and Marcelo, Los Blancos conceded two penalties in the space of 5 minutes, Jonathan Viera converting both spot kicks to make the score 2-3. Rayo pressured their famous visitors and wasted a catalog of chances that could have seen them draw level, but it was not to be. Real Madrid survived until the final minute to pick up the three points.
However, even though his side won, I doubt Carlo Ancelotti was pleased with the second half performance of his team. Without their ”director” in Xabi Alonso on the pitch, Los Blancos did not look much like a team, and it all started to fall apart. They were definitely second best on the night. Marcelo had a genuinely poor game at left back for Madrid, and Pepe didn’t have the best of games, showing up Real’s defence once again this season. So, despite the 7-3 hammering of Sevilla midweek, there are still problems in the Spanish capital, and if they aren’t solved soon, it will be yet another disappointing season for Madrid.
However, with negatives, along comes positives. The recently misfiring Karim Benzema again had a good game and scored Madrid’s second goal of the night, following up his two goal display against Sevilla. Cristiano Ronaldo was brilliant as usual, now up to 13 strikes in La Liga, and Gareth Bale was again a difference-maker for Real Madrid with his two assists.
However, it is fair to say that the negatives in the Spanish capital outweigh the positives. As Barcelona showed last season, a weak defence and a less than creative, working midfield will screw you over even if your attack is firing all guns blazing. Ancelotti has some homework to do, and fast. If I were a Real Madrid fan, I wouldn’t be expecting much in Turin…