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Real Madrid attained a 2-0 victory over Villarreal at the Estadio El Madrigal on Saturday. Though it wasn’t the sort story of vintage attacking performance we’ve witnessed from the European champions in last few games.
From the consecutive thrashings trio of Basel, Deportivo La Coruna and Elche resulted in an absurd tally of 18 goals. Truly exhilaration had been the theme of Los Blancos’ displays recently.
However, Saturday’s performance stood in stark contrast to the three that preceded the match. It was not a quite supreme exhibition of offensive fluidity. Fans didn’t get the typical Real Madrid flair.
The match has been defensively perplexing for Carlo Ancelotti’s side. Still we have to admit that the resilient showing was perhaps their most significant of the campaign so far this season.
Perhaps, clean sheet was achieved with that troublesome one-way midfield of Luka Modric, James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos. But most importantly, Real Madrid had displayed a capacity to alter the game’s tempo. They tried to quell the home side by sitting deeper maintaining the shape conservatively.
Real Madrid vs Villarreal:
According to The WhoScored.com, The men in white splatted the possession battle 50-50 by conceding 19 shots to their own 11 and seven corners to their own six. Literally they were forced to make 29 clearances to Villarreal’s 16.
But it was not that Real denied the hosts of an opportunity to impress. The Yellow Submarine tried their best by breaking down both wings in a bright first half and finding pockets of space between Los Blancos’ midfield and defence, which finally engaged Iker Casillas into constant action display.
And the capital club was calm and organized response to the onslaught. This composure was alarmingly missing when Real Sociedad poured on the pressure in late August.
“The best thing is that we won a difficult game against a team that played well”
Ancelotti said of his team’s performance per AS–
“We controlled the game. We had a good attitude and deserved to win”
As an Italian, Ancelotti is quite familiar with defensive principles. Probably he is the typically unmoved boss who was key to Real Madrid’s adapted approach in the second half , which allowed his team to ease to a third consecutive league victory this season.
Pleasantly, it all felt rather measured—a term that hasn’t been applicable to Real Madrid this season until now.
The side’s 4-3-3 with Modric, Kross and Rodriguez in midfield is still too easy to blast through. The back four are isolated as full-backs.
“Clearly it gives us less cover but we must take these risks because we have more opportunities in attack”
Ancelotti said of his preferred formation.
Such a display will no doubt be encouraging for Ancelotti. He is now looking ahead to five-game stretch that includes clashes with Athletic Bilbao. Also Barcelona and Liverpool. Definitely he is feeling that his team has progressed and taken a step forward. Obviously who else can plunder 18 goals in 270 minutes of football with the world’s most fearsome squadron and still be engulfed in doubt? Yes- of course Real Madrid can.
But the 2-0 victory at Villarreal has shown that the script can be changed positively.
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