Monday, 31 August 2009

Why will Real Madrid fail this season?

Why Will Real Madrid fail this season?

By: Ramzi Tanani

Perez admittedly achieved it! He succeeded to put Real Madrid back under the spotlights and upgraded their squad quality notably. Since then, there were Zillions of articles praising the team and planting promises for the following season. There are enough reasons to consider Real Madrid as a front runner for all the titles of 2010. Let’s not add another article talking about that. Instead, how far is it possible that Real Madrid only yield a huge disappointment?

I can claim that there are as many reasons for the disappointment to happen as there are for success to be achieved. Knowing that Barcelona is the eternal Rival and the team to beat, there is no way to avoid comparisons.

Defence hidden stitches:

1) Leadership:

Real Madrid defence for this season will have to answer the same question they faced when Hierro left (or was kicked out of) the team. Back then, they bought each and every centre back they read in a newspaper that he is “The big thing”. Walter Samuel, who was labelled as the best Centre back in the world during his days in Roma. Jonathan Woodgate, the Next big thing for England football. They tried to hand the leadership to Iván Helguera, But all in vain. The defence line lacked leadership, which is not acceptable in a big team that competes on the highest level.

Canavaro defence qualities declined notably with time. But he was still capable of pulling all the strings together, instructing, organising, screaming and leading. Now that he left, the question is: Who will lead the defence this season?

Albiol is a defender with great potentials. But his last season performance raised lot of eyebrows regarding how far he can improve to meet the expectations. Pepe is a quality, well…most of the times, but he doesn’t sound to have the “it” to be a leader. He definitely does not have his head between his shoulders all the time, and with a knife in his hand ready to stab anyone in a moment of madness, he is not a good candidate. Beside, will Ramos accept Pepe leadership? What about the other way? In fact the chemistry between Ramos and Pepe will be something to monitor next season while the authority process is taking place.

2) Depth and Characteristics:

This point may prove a deciding factor next season. The main line of defence may include Ramos-Pepe-Albiol- Arbeloa. Some may argue that Marcelo will be the left back, but with time the coach will recognize that this will put lot of pressure on the holding midfielder (Diarra) if Xabi and Ramos contributed offensively. Marcelo can’t act as a third Centre back, which will leave Pepe and Albiol territory exposed. But in any way, who else Real Madrid have in defence? Untested Garay, Injury prone Metzelder, Soon-to-go Torres, and Drenthe the mad boy. I can’t see this as a quality defence for a team aiming to win everything this season. If any two defenders of the primary line up are not available, then troubles troubles.

Midfield and Up:

In midfield the team has lot of quality. The question is about the perfect mix. Not on papers, but on the field.

For example, for the holding midfielders, on paper it’s obviously Xabi-Lass. But I can argue that the two players do not really complete each others. Lass is young enough to improve, but his natural attributes are closer to Xabi than to a pure defensive oriented midfielder. I still believe Mascherano was a better signing for Real than Xabi. The team weakness last season was building up offense, no doubt. But through buying Xabi they ignored the fact that the new signings Granero and Kaka are more than enough to solve that problem.

The problem last season was not only the holding midfielders lack of quality to launch the transition from defence to offense, but the missing link in the midfield to take the responsibility in the last third and orchestrate attack. With Mascherano dropping deep behind Lass, and Granero continuous transitions back and forth, that will release Kaka to operate in the last third so the ball flow from defence to offense could be established without exposing the defence line. Granero will be able to operate on the flank where the fullback can not contribute offensively, creating more balance.

With Lass and Xabi, it will not be the case. As none of them is a Vacuum cleaner as a holding midfielder. Lass is a player who is easy to tease out of position, while Xabi lack Grenaro dynamics to make a fast transition back and forth. Mahamadou Diarra in my opinion is a better partner for Xabi than Lass, if he will come out of his injury with more pace than he had before getting injured.

The wingers are another matter to point out. Real Madrid with all the signings made will lack creating threat from the flanks. Against parked buses you can’t afford missing this option. Kaka on the flank will turn to an easy to contain player, he need more tactical freedom than being flanked. Ronaldo prefers playing in the centre, and he operates better there. Granero is a decent player on the flank, but again he is more productive in the centre.

Higuin and Benzema can open to channels on the flanks, but all that by being in front of the ball, not behind it while building up offense. So they will not contribute in the ball circulation and transition from the defensive third to the offense. If the team played a 4-4-2, they will not be an option. Selling Robbin was a stupid move, and the question is, who will be the new Gravesen (winger) after selling the Claude Makélélé? Julien Faubert?

Marcelo and Drenthe may be considered as promising options. Regardless of how valid or reliable this argument is, it will raise a crucial issue when it comes to starting line up. You need the four positions in front of the two holding midfielders for your key-high-profile-players. Adding two more options there will increase dissatisfaction, unless if Ronaldo takes it cool to be benched while Drenthe runs here and there and every where (except where has to be) on the field.

Up front, Benzema, Higuaín, Nistelrooy, and Raúl are the options. Again, selling Álvaro Negredo was a mistake. He is a strong young bull that you need to run over the opponent defence and create holes for his teammates to penetrate through. While Benzema and Higuain are naturally second strikers more than being target men. Nistelrooy is too old for this role. He is (or at least was, before his injury) the best finisher inside the box. But he is not the tank that Negredo is. Raul has always been a more dangerous forward with a striker in front rather than being the last man standing. He is a smart fox who can read both his teammates and the opponent movements and knows exactly when to run into that right spot in the box at the right moment. Camping in the box is not an option for him.

Another question is about how far Nistelrooy and Raul will turn to be automatic selections. Raul seems to be a none questionable starter. Last season, Real Madrid offense improved only when Nistelrooy got injured leaving a space for Higuain. Raul and Nistelrooy together means a very, very, …very slow offense.

Player’s compatibility and teamwork efficiency:

When you classify Real Madrid squad members, you get the impression that putting them all together on the field is like putting Bailey dancers and Break-dancer on the same stage. Some master slow tempo and Patience offense build up, others are more explosive. Some are more static, positioning sense; others prefer versatility and switching positions. It may sound a weak argument, but even though it will be barely notices while launching counter attacks, it’s the time that will tell us who will dictate the offense tempo in a static situation. That’s a very crucial challenge that will decide how far the players will click together creating a harmonized group dynamic.

Barcelona had to deal with this challenge when they signed Henry and Abidal. Both are more direct players who struggled at the beginnings to understand Barcelona possession game where Patience is a virtue. Henry publicly declared his frustration back then. He ran in a space but instead of getting the ball the midfield kept on playing horizontally, he played the pass in a space while the teammate requested it in another (deeper and more secure) spot.

But because at Barcelona there is an established identity, it was clear who were the players that need to customize their game more, to fit the group. At Real Madrid, it’s not the case. First, there are too many new players with various football profiles, and there is no definite identity. Obviously it’s the coach’s role to dictate one, if he can. But can he? The board and the director of football are not really helping. Selling two players the coach declared that he is counting on for the next season is not a promising start; it won’t strengthen his authority as the main reference. Nor announcing again and again that Wenger was actually the main candidate, but there was no choice to sign him, so “we had to hire that other guy”. If the Board and the director of football do not show unquestionable, unlimited, long term support to the coach, we will see lot of “Heads shaking” on the field as a sign of dissatisfaction, such as “He is too slow”…”Is he blind or what! I ran into a space!”…”Where the hell is he going? We are still in our own half and he is already in the opponents’ box!”

Even in the first Galacticos’ Era there was a point of reference in Zidane. This season things will be trickier as who is the point of reference? Who will lead the offense build-up and to match which player’s taste?

For Arrigo Sacchi: “Today’s football is about managing the Characteristics of Individuals, and that’s why you see the proliferation of specialists. The individual has trumped the collective. But it’s a sign of weakness. It’s reactive, not pro-active.” Then he explains the Real Madrid galacticos policy (the old version), saying:”There was no project. It was about exploiting qualities. So, for example, we knew that Zidane, Raul and Figo didn’t track back, so we had to put a guy in front of the back four who would defend. But that’s reactionary football. It doesn’t multiply the players’ qualities exponentially. Which actually is the point of tactics: To achieve this multiplying effect on the players’ abilities. Football is becoming all about specialists. Is football a collective and harmonious game? Or is it a question of putting X amount of talented players in and balancing them out with Y amount of specialists?”

Now of course, one can admit that Sacchi is an extremist when it comes to being system-oriented. Besides, the new Madrid squad is a bit younger than the previous one which will provide a better work rate for the group dynamics. Yet there is a very valid sense in his argument about team building.

If you compare Real Madrid to Barcelona for example, its not which team embrace more quality individuals. Defensively, its not if Pepe better or Pique, Puyol or Albiol, Ramos or Alves, Abidal or Arbeloa, Maxwell or Marcelo, etc… But it’s the defensive quality of the team as a whole. The group contribution in defence is the main issue. Henry defensive contribution is as important as that’s of Pique. Messi contributes defensively as much as Alves does. Will that be the case at Real Madrid? And how far defensive contribution of the forward line will decrease their offense output? Will Kaka (the Madrid Version) do continuous pressure on the opponent and still after twenty games from now deliver the same quality offense as he used to offer at Milan where he had less (if any) defensive duties?

In fact, the best alternative for Madrid is to copy Barcelona game plan, trying to earn back possession early in the opponent half to avoid exhausting transition back and forth. If the offense line failed to apply high press, the opponent will have enough time to set up offense. That will force Real Madrid defense to bounce back too early to their own third to avoid being striked by counters. Defensively it will be very demanding Physically (transitions) and Tactically (repositioning). It will also stretch the team structure vertically creating highways between the lines. Offensively it will make offense build up too slow to damage, as the fullbacks and holding mids will think twice before contributing in offense, and the playmakers and forward line will not be close enough to the holding mids to create the link.

Have you seen how the titanic cracked into two halves? If Real Madrid failed to apply high pressure in the opponent half, thats most likely happening to the tactical structure. It will look more like a baseball approach, a group of players to defend, and another to attack. Barcelona style is the answer, but that’s easy to say. This football dynamic is a result of years of football evolution. If Madrid reached that level in a short period then no one must hesitate to give them full credit. Beside, this style requires a strong leadership for the back line, and we discussed this point already.

Offense wise, Robben was labelled once as a better player compared to Messi, now the same papers give “Valid” reasons to sell him. So it’s an endless discussion to judge who is better Xavi or Kaka, Messi or Ronaldo, but again, will the duet “Ronaldo-Kaka” deliver a better Understanding and higher performance than the “Xavi-Messi”? Comparing Messi performance with Argentina to his performance for Barcelona gives you an idea how the chemistry between Messi and Xavi delivers a better output than the summation of pure individual qualities of the two players (if Mathematical expressions is a valid terminology in football). Add Iniesta to the Mix, Yaya, Henry, Keita etc…

Ibravimovic situation is a very bold example. He is a quality player no doubt. But he is still not clicking completely with the rest so he usually dances on a different tempo than the one his teammates play. Yet again, the established identity at Barcelona draws clear guidelines. He already knows exactly what to improve and how, so it’s a matter of time. At Madrid, it’s still an ongoing uncertain process.


Last summer, while it sounded all jubilant for Real Madrid after winning the title, I predicted that all the sins of Calderon will be pointed out again (after years of ignorance and denial) the moment the team underperforms. The same goes for Perez now, he is the brilliant guy. He created the perfect team. Even overpaying Ronaldo was not his fault, its Calderon’s. By the way, does anyone really buy that “30 millions Penalty” story? Not me. There is a reason to sell Robben, said Marca. No complains about the depts. But it will only take some negative results, and Calderon will again have a chance to defend himself when Marca and co become more welling to publish his point of view.

I do not predict a clash of ego between the players, as commonly believed. Not on the short term. And not if the coach applied the elementary principles of team building, which is something I know he will. Countries where the community diversities suffer continuous struggles always search for an enemy outside the boarders to unite against. For Madrid Barcelona is the enemy. All the players will be completely focused on outclassing Barcelona. Being the new kids in the building will make all the new players less self-focused and more determinant to behave so they prove their worth for the club. Egos clash may start later on, after they win something, not before. But if the team suffers, there has to be a scapegoat. And that’s where everyone will start to push everyone to the spotlight.

How will Real Madrid succeed this season?

As I mentioned from the beginning, I will not praise their good side, as there are lot of madridistas out there to do that job. The article may turn to sound unfair as it only raises the negatives, but I can claim trying to create some balance with what’s already written. They have enough game changers to win any game, enough said. But there is one external factor that may help them to succeed and it’s important to point out: Barcelona.

The period from the beginning of the season till January is very crucial this season. If Barcelona made a strong steady start, they may cause a permanent damage for Real Madrid moral that will not be easy to overcome, though one must acknowledge their fighting spirit. If Barcelona start was slow and inconsistent, that will offer the rivals lot of hope, but most importantly the time to gel.

I believe Barcelona is the team that holds all the strings of the coming season. It’s up to their performance to decide the destiny of Perez new adventure.


i_love_boobs_and_barca said...

Great article, Ramzi! Thanks very much. Always a pleasure to read your texts.

Now, as I wrote in a comment in some post yesterday, I would be amazing if you would write a pre-analysis of the Inter - Barcelona game. I would REALLY enjoy that one, and I'm sure everyone would. You know, how will they play now that they have a new team, how will we play, tactics, etc.

HouseMD said...

We should mind our own business and not be bothered with RM. I wish them fail this and any other season. Talking about "them" is wasting time and words.

barca4life said...

Real Madrid for all the bashing they took last season were just 4 points behind barca after 33 games and leading barca 1-0 in the 34th. They have since added a whole lot more quality to their team. Its gonna take a whole lotta heavy lifting for barca to repeat

groga said...

Good read for sure.

After yesterday's game and despite all the spending it nevertheless seems everything stays the same: they play bad but in one way or another they come away with it a lot of times. It's already from the Del Bosque time that Madrid played some impressive football.

yuti said...

Impressive piece!

Boat Forever said...

While we are happy discussing about the fact that their defense lacks depth, lack of depth in our own mid-field and attackers worries me :(

Shekhu said...

Impressive article Ramzi.

I would like to add another point to it..

Impatience on Madrid side to succeed and give results.. if they fail to deliver initially they would succumb to their own expectations that would add more pressure.

Anonymous said...

I think Kaka will be reason why they will succeed this season, he is just what they needed. Buying Ronaldo and getting rid of Robben wont make much of a difference in my opinion.

hawk_barca_4_life said...

good article but i dislike the idea of worrying abt the downfall of madrid rather i concentrate on our team our strengths and depths than madrids ..... !!!

tero said...

Mindblowing article...I believe that we can still win this race,Madrid will start to panic if we can get a great start for the season...the pressure is on them

Moltisanti said...

@barca4life:That's one of the most annoying things people used to say: last year we had x points, now we signed great, wonderful players, so we will surely have x+15 points this season.

This logic doesn't work in football.

Dvir said...

Who care about Madrid ?
If we play as we need to play, The titles is belong to us.

barca4life said...

Moltisanti that is not what I said. I said last year depsite all the bashing real madrid took they were just 4 points behind us.

Whether you want to admit it or not kaka cristano ronaldo benzema are an upgrade from what they had last year in terms of talent. Real Madrid have gotten better and Barca will have to take them very seriously and do a great deal of heavy lifting if we are to retain the league title.

It has nothing to do with x points and therefore they have x+15 this season. Nothing of the sort. It has to do with they were matching us almost stride for stride last season with players of lesser quality than they have now. This idea that barca fans have that we must underestimate real madrid is a very bad one.

I dont like ronaldo but i respect the quality of the player and what he can bring to a club like real madrid. And to just dismiss the fact of how close they were behind us last season seems a bit foolhardy to me

Anonymous said... reports Barca put a 40m bid for Robinho. Mark Hughes & City owners considered the bid, but then decided against selling him considering him to be most important player of the squad

Moltisanti said...

In the middle of the summer I had a feeling, that even though Barca is and will be the better team, Madrid will have a chance of winning la liga because of their bench.
Now that they sold Negredo, Sneijder and Robben (and who knows who else, they've still got one more day to sell :D) I'm relaxed.
They could be the perfect players for their bench, who can come in the 70. minute and add something to their game or start when the others are injured.

Ramzi said...

Anonymous(the deleted Comment), Insulting any of the people who comment on this post will not pass. If you have a meanningfull contribution you are more than welcomed, or else enjoy your day somewhere else.

Some people are not interested to tackle some topics, others follow RM results and games and think we cant avoid analysing them as a part of enjoying the season as a whole. Or at least to compare the two football templates (Barcelona and RM) and conclude our own lessons. Some agree others dont, all fine for me.

But I am commited to make sure no one comment on my post and get insulted. Keep it a decent and Mature discussion.

You are always welcomed to share your point of view as you can discuss other members oppinions without offending.

Thanx for your visit.

Anonymous said...

My comment regarding the lack of necessity of Madrid articles here was hardly derogatory or offending in any nature. Nor did it take other members opinions and discuss them in a condescending or offensive manner. How could you stipulate that to be indecent and immature?

Moltisanti said...

@barca4life: I didnt't say that their signings didn't improve their squad in terms of talent. It is clear that they have much better players now.

The fact that they were almost always behind us with a weak squad doesn't mean they can do the same or better with this new squad.

Just look at Barcelona's 2007-08 season. We signed Toure, Abidal, Henry and Milito. That squad was also better (in terms of talent) than the previous year's squad and we all know what happened.

yuti said...

I actually don't think anonymous people will decide which articles will put on here. If you don't like some article, just don't read them and that's it. I also don't read everything, but I don't start complaining "I don't want to read this, nanana".

It's good to know more about your opponents. Short-sighted people don't get far in life.

Ramzi said...

Anonymous, if you read hawk_barca_4_life, comment it was about the topic and the blog, and its still there as you see. He made a decent opinion and its welcomed.

Your comment was one word. Not even a phrase, but an insult. We both know what it was. Period.

I am here to serve creating the right environment for people to exchange knowledge and opinions. And I will do it as needed.

Anonymous said...

Great article, but it would be easier for all of us to read if the english was a bit better.
Keep up the good work though! :)

Anonymous said...

Ramzi: I'm talking about the comment directly above the insult, which in this instance was not my contribution.

My comment was two sentences, not one word.

Of course my cause is not helped being classed as one of the "Anonymous".

Ramzi said...

Fair enough Anonymous, your first respond about the topic is available. You believe that its not appropriate to discuss this topic I understand.

It seems your "two sentences" comment was deleted by a certain mistake that I am not aware of.

Feel free to contribute or raise any other topic that meet your interests.

Anonymous said...

barca4life, what are you talking about, the last three games we played with youth and bench players, the only starter was etoo. if we would have tried like madrid in the last three games the difference would have been more like 16 points. Also they only had one competition last year, la liga. I think the only way they have a chance to win something this year is to fail at the other two competitions. this article highlights that madrid bought and sold player according to wich would sell more shirts, selling robben was idiotic, he scored 2 goals yesterday for bayern. on the other hand real madrid played like shit yesterday I thought: the defense was shitand ronaldo was shit, I guess they spent 100 million euro for a guy to kick in penalties, good stuff. lass diarra was their best player, this guy, kaka and benzema are the only people we have to worry about.

Anurag said...

actually i see no problem with a piece on RM here. whats wrong?

its a good piece of work Ramzi, but could do with a bit of touching up, at least in punctuations, particularly apostrophes.

i agree that madrid will find success hard to come by - the logic being lack of depth. selling people who could have been integral to the squad is a very stupid move. robben, sneijder and negredo are important, torres is decent backup, VdV will not play well even if he stays, and crissy ron is a waste of space unless he himself feels like playing well.

Ramzi said...

Its never too late Anurag. It is still there where you know;) Make your touches. You may find some other feasts there, if you know what I mean.

And just to remind you guys, we droped 12 points in one month last season. We, barcelona.

I am not underestimating their team here. I was clear in the article that I will try not to repeat whats written by their own fans about the great team they have. I am pointing out the challenges they need to deal with. If some of the mentioned challenges striked the team, they will struggle.

Beside, you can find an indirect praise for our own squad and team Building model in the article as well :)

Anonymous said...

How many of their star signings will take to the bench. Now will they let their slow, old captain start, or will they give that chance to Higuain and Benzema. Who'll play in Mid. Will it be Gago, Mahmoudo, Lass, Kaka, Alonso, Granero. Also Ronaldo is of course a forward so he'll need to get his playing time too.

Dimmu said...

Good article! Good insight on Madrid.

Ondra said...

Great article Ramzi. I always appreciate insight to some other team, whether it's Madrid, Inter or Liverpool...

koko=barca said...

What's with the "30 millions Penalty Story", I am not familiar with it.

I really think that if we play as we played last year we won't be worried about Madrid's points.

Shekhu said...

30 million penalty story was figment of Perez's imagination :D

he claimed that Calderon has signed a pre agreement for Ronaldo that if they do not sign him for 80m Pounds this season he would have to pay a penalty of 30m.

Unknown said...

Great article ...

I completely agree that it will be up to Barca to decide if RM would succeed or come crashing down. If Barca starts the season right and wins then the pressure will be on Madrid and trust they will crack.

Let's follow Pep's philosophy and take each game at a time and win. We wont have to worry about RM then ...

Nice work Ramzi! I don't know if someone edited your article by now but the English seems fine to me!

Cheerz ~

rasagna said...

@Ramzi: The article is good, though I wont completely agree with you in all points. Diarra in my opinion is the best combination in the midfield for them though you are point of xabi-masch combination is also valid. Since we are only talking about the negatives of the RM team, the only thing that comes to my mind is, this team needs time to gel, or really become a TEAM. Expecting more articles from you.

Eladir said...

I'm a RM fan and have been following both Real Madrid and Barcelona closely for years.

I mostly agree with the article that Real Madrid will fail but there are some good points.

The way I see it with not much analysing, RM and FCB have same quality of starting 11 but FCB has great advantage that they have only 1 change and they already have chemistry and confidence (very important). FCB had the chance this summer to sing 3-4 players to fill the bench that was the weak spot of FCB last year, though they didn't suffer from it as there were almost no injuries at all. RM has an excellent bench and they have every position covered, except from the LB position which is a big risk and questionmark.

So, to conclude, I believe that if FCB keep not having injuries in key players (Messi, Iniesta, Xavi) they are the favourite for La Liga. If there are injuries for both sides things will even out and it will be a tight race though I'd tip RM for the win as I believe that when things get tough they always deliver.

Eladir said...

^ "I mostly DISagree..."

ElDuroDeFCB said...

WHY DO WE GIVE A FCUK if Real Fail or NOT. I dont give a rats ass if they Fail or not. We should put our focus in Barcelona and not in Madrid. Ramzi this is actually the first time I think that u spend ur time on a bullshit of an article. Im not ANTI Madrid IM a BARCELONA FAN, who dont give a crap if MADRID buy all the stars in the world, as long as Barcelona plys well and win. So please more focus on how Barcelona should do to penetrate a team who plays defence for 90minuts instead on why will Madrid fail this season!!!!

Jigga said...

Do you guys realise the reason why Real Madrid on the long run of wins last season before losing to us is because of the way the FA fixtures made every team that played Barca played Real the week after.So all Ramos had to do was to watch how Barca dealt with the opposition.This season we will have a fairer playground.

Ramzi nice work again.I will not predict who will win the La Liga but I pray Barca wins all their matches.
Visca el Barca.

Humankind said...

Great article Ramzi.

Man how much I missed those. Keep them coming.

Something that Eladir said is that Real have a better bench and I think that this is where they may get the decisive advantage this season.

Their squad was decimated last season and they still pushed us nearly all the way, so this time around if we get as unlucky as they were last season, there will be no chance to catch up to them.

Missing_Etoo said...

As a Barca fan, I actually have to disagree with some of the article. I think it's an interesting piece and has good points, but overall, I think Real will at the very least push us.

Real will take a little time to gel, but I think Albiol will provide the leadership they need in defense - he provided it in Valencia (last year is no indication as the whole team was unstable). As for their depth, they have as much depth in defense as we do. I mean Chygrinsky definitely adds some needed depth, but we have no backup for Dani Alvez at all (except for Puyol playing out of position) and by the end of the season, this could hurt us a lot. True Real's second string defense isn't the best, but they'll do their job when called upon (especially if they use Metzelder as a second string defender instead of starting week in week out).

Midfield and up
No one will know how their midfield will gel until a few games into the season, but they all show drive and hunger which will make most teams gel. Pellegrini has a clear vision of what he wants, and that will be key in avoiding the mistakes of previous Madrid sides. As for the Lass - Xabi partnership, I disagree. I think Lass did a lot of clean up last year and is the only reason Real was able to keep up with us and bring the 12 point margin down to 4 (before el Classico). He has shown that he can dig his heels in and do whatever needs to be done. Xabi, while not Xavi, has been brought in to provide the tempo you claim Real lacks. Xabi, if he lives up to the expectations, will be the key to Real's midfield - more of a Deco to our previous sides. He'll do some of the dirty work, but also provide some space for the attacking midfielders to feed off of. That's where Kaka will come into play. Kaka will have the freedom to create Madrid's attacks. I don't think he'll be excessively bogged down with defensive duties as Lass and Xabi should be able to cover that amply.

I agree that Real has made a huge mistake selling Robben and Snejder, and their wings are fairly empty now. At the very least, Robben and Snejder would have provided alternatives to cracking teams that are solid defensively. But, if we look at our wings, we don't have any classic wingers either (with the exception of potentially Henry and Alves doubling up as a winger). But that's not to say that we lack in our attacks. I think Cristiano (although I strongly dislike him and think he's overrated) has the quality to provide what they need as a winger. If the coach can manage his ego properly and make him play as part of a team, I think he'll do a good job of being a solid winger/second striker and do whatever is asked of him. The trick is he has to understand that Madrid doesn't rotate around him - which is a big if.

Their squad depth as opposed to ours is going to make a huge difference. VDV is a quality midfielder and can cover for Kaka or Xabi. If Xavi and Iniesta are out injured, we're going to struggle in big games - especially if they get injured during the African Cup.

I actually disagree that they don't have a main striker. Benzema provides that, and has shown the pace and strength needed. He'll need some time to improve his scoring efficiency, but even if he doesn't score, he creates a lot of space and chances for others. What he lacks in terms of RVN scoring prowess, he more than makes up in his pace and creating space. I don't think RVN is going to start over Benzema, but will provide a solid back up given his age. Higuain can be a solid second striker if he's employed that way.

Our attack, however, lacks serious depth. We only have Henry, Bojan, Ibra, Messi, and Pedro. Pedro is still young and while he scored a crucial goal the other day, he's still got a lot to learn. If Messi or Henry are out with any of our midfielders (namely Xavi or Iniesta), we're going to be exposed. Jeffren is still too raw, and I don't think he'll be able to fill the shoes needed. Madrid, in this aspect is much more solid than we are.

Missing_Etoo said...

Player’s compatibility and teamwork efficiency:
I disagree about this point as a whole. I think different tempos are crucial in having a successful team. One of the best midfield partnerships - Xavi and Iniesta - worked so effectively mainly because they have different paces. Xavi is static while Iniesta is dynamic. If Real are able to balance their squad right, they might be able to dictate a deadly tempo. They have the quality to control a slower game as well as the pace to counter attack and in faster games. That's not to say that they won't struggle to find this balance, but I believe if they do find the balance, they can be quite deadly.

As for the pressure, Madrid will struggle with all the pressure and I don't think they'll be given enough time to gel.

All in all, if we can avoid injuries - I think we'll win it again this year. If we're hit with injuries, it's all down to how fast Madrid can gel and if they can deal with the pressure until they start firing on all cylinders.

Ramzi said...

My Additional follow up:

Eladir, I appreciate your contribution. Though there is a common belief that Real Madrid squad depth is better than thats of Barcelona, and that Barcelona are more dependent on key players than Real Madrid. I dont agree on that. In a following article where I will talk about Barcelona squad I will detail that.

@Missing_Etoo, good contribution. Yet:

- If you watched Albiol last season, it was one of his worst actually. Valencia fans call him "Albagoal" for scoring many goals in his own net. He is a quality no doubt (I mentioned it). But his leadership is not something for certain. Thats why i said "Who will be the leader is something to wait and see" I didnt say "they will definitly have no leader". Its one of many challenges they will face and time will show how they will deal with. So last season is not an indication that he is bad, but its an indication that he may go either way.

- Again, I dont agree on squad depth. As I mentioned above, I will tackle this issue later. Yet if we take the defense for exampåle (which u mentioned) there defence is not even close to thats of barcelona. On the left we have Abidal and Maxwell and both are better than Arbeloa and Marcelo. In the center they have Garay, Metzelder, Pepe and Albiol, we have Puyol, pique, Marquez and cheg beside the youth defenders so we are better here as well. You ask who is our cover for Alves? (good question), but who is their cover for ramos who is not as good as alves as a fullback? Their cover is Arbeloa (who come from the left flank and who is not as good as Puyol. It will not weaken our Defense if we have Puyol on the right back acting as a third CB with Pique and Marquez while Maxwell Move forward (its the same structure as having Abidal as a 3rd CB from the left when Alves go forward. But if they use Arbeloa on the right back they will need either Marcelo or drenthe on the left, non of them is as good as Maxwell neither defensively nor offensive wise. The other options like Metzelder and Garay on flanks are not tested yet with RM, so as our additional options. So I cant see where they are better. But I will come to this point in another article.

- Regarding Lass-Xabi, watch their first game in the season. Lass was playing infront of Xabi, not behind him. As for the midfield link, We will let the league tell the whole story.

- As for our flanks, we dont use classic wingers in Barcelona as we dont play the 4-4-2. We use whats called wing forwards which is a different thing in football terminology. And we have enough of them. Henry, Messi, Iniesta (and I will not get into the same debate again about this one), Pedro, Jeff, Bojan and even Maxwell and Ibra can play there.

- Players compatability: Xavi and Iniesta are compatable in a way Kaka and Ronaldo will never dream of. Its even strange to argue that. They play the same style and Philosophy even though each one of them has his plus or Minus. Ronaldo and Kaka for example are not that. Its not how you are as a player, but what kind of games suits you most. If you are a ronaldo a static style kills you. If you are a Xabi its the other way, if the game tempo is high you will have transition problems. And do on. So every player set the tempo (and demand the tempo) that he likes. If the coach cant dictate the tempo he want, it will be a mess. Again, they mad harmonize, but again, its a challenge. And thats exactly what I said.

Ramzi said...

Good review for RM game here:

Missing_Etoo said...

Here we go again:
Albiol along with all of Valencia was awful last season. Even Silva looked average in many games. But if you saw Valencia's games two years ago, Albiol was rock solid when on form and showed potential to being the leader any defense needs.

As for squad depth, I think defense is the one are where we're fairly covered. I have some worries about Puyol's fitness and Alves being out injured which would leave us without anyone at all. As for the rest of Real's defense, I didn't say they match our quality, I said they have players that can cover adequately and have a fuller bench. I think their defense is adequate, not lacking as you previously argued.

Midfield and Wingers
We'll have to see how Pellegrini has them playing, but I assumed Lass would be playing more of a holding midfielder role. I still think that by the time the team actually gels, Lass will be more of a holding midfielder and going forward when the situation permits - like Toure. I might be completely wrong, and he might be more like Keita or Essien as a box to box midfielder, but I think that depends on what he's needed to do. The point being whatever his role is, I think he'll partner fine with Xabi.

As for the flanks, I wasn't implying that we have the same set up as Madrid, but rather that Madrid aren't a traditional 4-4-2 and don't need traditional wingers. And when they do, I think Cristiano will be able to fill that void.

As for having "enough" forwards, I really think with suspensions and injuries, we're going to hurt. Hopefully luck will be on our side, but if it's not, our squad especially in attack (attacking midfielders and wingers) is really, really bare.

As for players' compatability, I'm not arguing that Xavi and Iniesta are incompatible. Rather, I'm saying that the reason they're so compatible is that they compliment each other. Xavi plays the static role while Iniesta supplies the dynamic. My argument is that Madrid can find that balance. That the different tempos you're arguing as being a negative can actually be a killer strength like at Barca if the coach can get them all to gel. If each player plays alone in their own tempo, you'll have a mess but that's true of any team. If Real plays as a team, you can have varying tempos that can be a killer.

Missing_Etoo said...

Finally, as an unrelated side note, why do you keep deleting Anonymous's comments when he says he agrees with me? It seems a little juvenile. He shouldn't stoop to name calling, but he does have a point, no?

Ramzi said...

Missing_Etoo, Both opinions may have a point. The season will tell how things will go.

In this article I analysed "The other way" without "Judging".

As for the troll, I am not sure if you so the initial comment he made (and read well between the lines).its not that he agree with you. I welcome those who disagree with me so I have no problem with those who agree with the ones who disagree with me, right?:)

There is a history of comments that makes me more capable of managing the comments quality on the post the way needed.

Lot of people agree with you. I see you have a point as well as you show the other side of the story.

I like the quality insight comments like yours. Want to keep things on this standard.

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