Footie Forever
Thursday, February 09, 2006

Oy vey! Zaragoza blasts Madrid - Copa del Rey

We all knew Zaragoza was a tough team, well organized, with a top notch attacking duo, but I do not believe anyone could claim to have predicted a shellacking of quite this proportion. Madrid let in three in each half in an absolutely pitiful display of defending that combined with career nights for the two opposing strikers, Milito (four goals on his first four shots) and Ewerthon (2 goals, including the most beautiful volley he has ever struck. Zaragoza came into the match with very clear tactics and were well marshalled by their influential captain, Cani. Hats off to them for thoroughly outplaying my team.

That said, there are some serious tongue-lashings that need to be made. Let's start with the most obvious:

Helguera - Probably his worst ever game for Real Madrid. Where to begin? Poor positioning, tackling, and marking. Only played part of the first half and bore part of the responsibility on each of the first half goals.

Ramos - Yes, he is the wonderboy, but he looked awfully naive out there. Milito burned him on the same move at least twice. His marking was also poor.

Pavón - Came on for Helguera and was just as bad. It is no wonder Mejía has taken his playing time, as he still cannot make a decent pass, nor does he possess the speed to make up for any mistakes.

R. Carlos - Was, along with Helguera, god-awful in the first half, particularly. Errant passes that led to easy breaks, late coming back... It was as though his head just was not in the match. Bad game, RC!

Gravesen - Did nothing in his task as DM. He is there to disrupt play and support the defense, but he did neither. His passing was also worthless.

Guti - Where was he? Invisible and a complete non-factor. Compare him to his captain counterpart Cani...

Baptista - The lone goal scorer for Madrid, off a Beckham free kick, he was not truly bad, but I still do not see what he brings to the side.

Ronaldo - The people who defend him against his critics must be blind. He made ONE meaningful run. One. He was consistently late getting back. "So what? He's a striker," they say! "He doesn't get any service!" "He needs to save his speed for the runs!" I will tell you what: his not getting back is one of the big reasons RM often looks slow to attack. Instead of streaming forward when the ball is won in the midfield, with a striker making a diagonal run for a through ball, precious time is wasted waiting for Ronaldo just to get himself in position to make the darn run. By that time, the defense is re-organized and prepared to thwart the [slowed] attack. And THAT is why he doesn't get service. He provided zero pressure and botched several touches, to boot.

López Caro - I have certainly been pleased with the changes he has brought to the squad, but he deserves his share of the blame for this one. Baptista needs to sit. Period. There has to be an attacking threat in the middle of the attack formation, for crying out loud. Next, Ronaldo needs to sit. He is simply not the answer up front, difficult as that may be to believe - at least not until he shows he is willing to increase his workrate in every game. If you read the above paragraph, you know how I feel about his effort. Gravesen played poorly against Celta and Espanyol, with his temper starting to get the better of him. I think it is time to get García back in there - remember, he played very well early in the season before getting injured. I do not understand why Woodgate was not in the lineup, but perhaps there were fitness questions. Playing Woody also affords the possibility of playing Ramos or Helguera in front of the defense (two DM's) and moving Guti to the AM position. Hindsight is 20/20, though, isn't it? The mister still has my support.
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1 Barcelona 55
2 Valencia 49
3 Real Madrid 48
4 Osasuna 46
5 Sevilla 41
6 Celta 39
7 Villarreal 38
8 Deportivo 37
9 Atlético 35
10 Zaragoza 33
11 Getafe 30
12 Racing 27
13 Real Sociedad 25
14 Espanyol 24
15 Athletic 22
16 Alavés 22
17 Cádiz 22
18 Mallorca 22
19 Betis 22
20 Málaga 20


Etoo 18
Villa 15
Ronaldinho 12
Diego Milito 12
Ronaldo 10
Tristán 9
Riquelme 9
Güiza 8

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