Real Madrid visited the Vicente Calderon in order to keep their 3-point lead at the top alive but weren’t able to after a difficult 2-2 draw against their neighbors.

Starting Lineup:

Carlo Ancelotti named a strong starting lineup, while leaving players such as Daniel Carvajal and Marcelo on the bench. The starting lineup consisted of:

Diego Lopez, Alvaro Arbeloa, Pepe, Sergio Ramos [C], Fabio Coentrao, Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Angel Di Maria, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema

Scorers:

Atletico Madrid –
Koke (28′)
Gabi (45′)

Real Madrid –
Karim Benzema (3′)
Cristiano Ronaldo (82′)

 

Daniel Carvajal & Marcelo:

When the lineups were first confirmed, many were confused as to why two very consistent players were on the bench for the game. They slightly understood choosing Alvaro Arbeloa ahead of Daniel Carvajal because of the experience, but no one quite understood why Carlo Ancelotti decided to go with Fabio Coentrao instead of Marcelo. When both players came on during the second half, the whole game changed as they added strength and determination to the team. In my opinion, Marcelo definitely should have started the match and it would have been better to choose Carvajal ahead of Arbeloa on the night.

Pepe:

Pepe is a great defender and he has improved so much during this season but it is games such as these that ruin his reputation. The playacting and the violence from the Portuguese defender seriously ruined his reputation and it was obvious that his focus wasn’t 100% on the game. Atletico Madrid’s players weren’t innocent of course, but Pepe should not be wasting his time getting into useless arguments on the pitch.

Karim Benzema:

Karim Benzema has improved drastically in recent weeks as it seems like he has finally been able to find the required confidence that has been missing for so long. The French attacker was able to open the scoring early in the game after finding the end of Angel Di Maria’s cross. Other than that, he was always around getting himself into the plays and trying everything he can to make an opportunity happen. Made a few mistakes here and there, but everyone did. A great night for the attacker overall.

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Gareth Bale:

One good thing about Gareth Bale is that he has finally been able to get a run of games under his belt and it seems like his injury problems have drastically lessened, but the bad part is that he is very inconsistent. I know that this is his first year at the club and he has been having a great season overall so far. With that said, the Welshman needs to show against the bigger opponents and prove himself. There is no denying that he is a wonderful player and has a lot of skill but he needs to show it more. Against Atletico Madrid, he was invisible for many parts of the game and wasn’t able to do much whenever he got the ball.

The Positive Side:

Real Madrid are still the leaders of La Liga as they are now one point ahead of Barcelona and three points ahead of Atletico Madrid. Also, Los Merengues are unbeaten in 2014 with the following statistics:
– 16 Games Played
– 14 Wins
– 2 Draws
– 41 Goals Scored
– 12 Clean Sheets
– 6 Goals Conceded

My Personal Player Ratings:

Diego Lopez: 7.5/10
Alvaro Arbeloa: 7.5/10
Pepe: 5/10
Sergio Ramos: 7/10
Fabio Coentrao: 6/10
Xabi Alonso: 8/10
Luka Modric: 7.5/10
Gareth Bale: 6/10
Angel Di Maria: 7/10
Cristiano Ronaldo: 8/10
Karim Benzema: 8.5/10

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