Real Madrid 2-0 Olimpic de Xativa [Agg. 2-0]: Post-Match Observations

Real Madrid hosted Olimpic de Xativa for the second leg of the Copa del Rey after the first leg ended 0-0. Los Merengues were able to make it through by winning 2-0 on aggregate.

Starting Lineup:

Carlo Ancelotti decided to give some of the younger players another chance as he fielded a very similar lineup to the team that started in Xativa last week. The starting lineup consisted of:

Iker Casillas [C], Daniel Carvajal, Pepe, Nacho, Alvaro Arbeloa, Asier Illarramendi, Carlos Casemiro, Angel Di Maria, Isco, Jese Rodriguez, and Alvaro Morata


Real Madrid –
Asier Illarramendi (16′)
Angel Di Maria (28′)

Olimpic de Xativa –

Angel Di Maria:

The recent transfer rumors have not been too kind to Angel Di Maria as he has been strongly linked to a move outside of the Santiago Bernabeu with many sources saying that he may be going to either Arsenal or AS Monaco. Add that to the pressure of trying to fight for a spot in the Real Madrid starting lineup, and you get an unhappy (and possibly confused) Di Maria. I’m not saying that he doesn’t want to leave but things don’t look too good for him at the moment. We are all used to seeing his big smile and his tricks when he is on the pitch but we barely saw any of that against Xativa. It could be that he was playing against a lower-level team while he is benched in the big games but either way, he needs to make a decision on his future soon.

Asier Illarramendi:

Asier Illarramendi was able to score his first ever senior goal last night against Xativa and the happiness was very clear for everyone to see. The young Spanish international has been trying very hard to prove himself in the team as many have tipped him to be the ‘next Xabi Alonso’ and he has been doing quite well. “Illarra” was fighting for every possible challenge last night and was also able to get his name on the scoresheet.


Carlos Casemiro:

Carlos Casemiro is a young talent and can make a very big name for himself in the next couple years. During the preseason, many were surprised at the talent from the young midfielder but once the season started, he suddenly disappeared. Lately, he has been given some more time in the starting lineup because of Sami Khedira’s injury and has been able to prove himself quite well. Last night wasn’t a very good night for him though as he went down too easily on challenges, didn’t really have a chance to make an impact in midfield, and got himself a yellow card for arguing with the referee. It’s one bad game and everyone goes through that, but my only worry is that it could affect his chances for starting a couple games in the league. He really is a great player but simply needs time and experience.

Lack of Determination?

If you’re following me on Twitter (@RMadrid37), I have made it quite clear that Real Madrid have not been able to show the hunger and determination that we have been accustomed to. Since the first leg against Olimpic de Xativa, there was something missing with the team. Against Osasuna in the league, the same thing happened and we came out with a 2-2 draw (even though a lot of that could be blamed on the refereeing during the night). Even though a lot is blamed on the referee, we can’t deny the fact that Los Blancos were not at their best whatsoever. Last night against Xativa, there was a little more ‘fight’ in the team yet they weren’t even close to their best. Maybe it’s because they were playing against a much smaller team, maybe there is something more. Either way, looks like we will have to wait until the league game against Valencia to see if there really is a problem or I’m just looking too far into it…

Iker Casillas’ Injury:

Towards the end of the game, Iker Casillas had a very hard collision with Carlos Casemiro during a Xativa corner as everyone was worried he could be injured badly after he got up holding his back. After the game though, things seemed as though they were going well. Casillas spoke to the press to and made it clear that he is actually fine as he said, “I’m fine, luckily. It was a nasty fall but I’m fine and hopefully in the next few hours I will be better.”

Our Next Opponents:

Real Madrid’s next opponents in the Copa del Rey will be against Osasuna, who beat Malaga 4-4 on aggregate. Los Merengues will be looking to make some amends after the league game a few days ago as they continue their road to the final of the cup. With a team like Real Madrid, every competition is important and worth fighting for.

My Personal Player Ratings:

Iker Casillas – 8/10
Daniel Carvajal – 8/10
Pepe – 8.5/10
Nacho – 8.5/10
Alvaro Arbeloa – 8/10
Asier Illarramendi – 9/10
Carlos Casemiro – 7/10
Angel Di Maria – 8/10
Isco – 8/10
Jese Rodriguez – 8.5/10
Alvaro Morata – 7.5/10


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