Real Madrid hosted Barcelona for the first Clasico of the season in a match that ended up disastrous for the home team as they came out with a 4-0 loss.
Rafael Benitez (for some odd reason) decided to go against his very trusted lineup and go with a more offensive side. It seems as though he has given in to the pressure from the fans and it backfired. The starting lineup consisted of:
Keylor Navas, Danilo, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos [C], Marcelo, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema
Real Madrid –
Luis Suarez (11′)
Andres Iniesta (53′)
Luis Suarez (74′)
What Went Wrong?
Literally everything. From the start of the game, Real Madrid looked extremely uncomfortable as Barcelona were able to hold back and take in the minor pressure that the hosts were applying. It only took 11 minutes for the Catalans to come out with their first goal of the match and it was simply a downhill struggle from there.
Why would you play Karim Benzema as a starter and keep him on for the full 90 minutes when he did nothing useful throughout the full match? The French attacker has just returned from a long-term injury and a (very weird) scandal so his head isn’t fully on the game and it showed. With Jese on the bench, it should have been a no-brainer to bring him in for Karim Benzema during the second half of the match.
Toni Kroos was an absolute machine under Carlo Ancelotti last season and it’s extremely obvious why he isn’t that way this year: He is not a defensive midfielder! Benitez has been playing him in that position and his discomfort is very evident in every game. It was, of course, more noticeable against Barcelona because, well, it’s Barcelona!
Facing The Facts:
There is no denying that Barcelona are the better team and they deserved to come out with the three points on the night. Some people think that the 4-0 scoreline was a little flattering to the Catalans but I personally see it as being VERY flattering to Real Madrid after that performance. Things need to change and these changes need to happen as soon as possible.
#RafaOut, #BenitezOut, and other hashtags against the Spanish manager were circulating on Twitter during and after the match against Barcelona. Rafael Benitez was not a fan favorite when he first joined the club and he certainly did not do himself any favors on the night. After the match, his press-conference was embarrassing to say the least. As of this second, he is still our manager and he will need to make changes while he has the time to. One thing is for sure: Rafael Benitez is walking on extremely thin ice right now.
My Personal Player Ratings:
Keylor Navas: 6/10
Raphael Varane: 5/10
Sergio Ramos: 5.5/10
Toni Kroos: 5/10
Luka Modric: 4/10
James Rodriguez: 5/10
Gareth Bale: 4/10
Cristiano Ronaldo: 5/10
Karim Benzema: 2/10