Real Madrid were preparing for the month of April knowing that it could be the month that makes or breaks their season and they got a taste of how it may end up being after a late equalizer from Atletico Madrid left them with only one point from the match.
Zinedine Zidane went with his “Once de Gala” as he decided to field his Undecima team on the night even though many expected to see players such as Isco play as a starter. The starting eleven consisted of:
Keylor Navas, Daniel Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos [C], Marcelo, Carlos Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema
Real Madrid –
Atletico Madrid –
Antoine Griezmann (85′)
In a game where Gareth Bale was highly expected to step up, he didn’t. The Welshman was quite invisible throughout most of the match as his participation was pretty much limited to a couple opportunities that were easily dealt with by Jan Oblak. We need Bale at his best during the upcoming matches this month and his performance against Atletico Madrid will probably end up seeing him on the bench rather than the starting lineup in matches against Barcelona and Bayern Munich…
His form may have slightly dipped in recent games but even an out-of-form Luka Modric is better thatn 90% of the midfielders in the world. Against Atletico Madrid though, he showed his brilliance once again. Who was it that said “size matters”? Well, the little Croatian has proven them wrong and took command of his position in ways we don’t see anymore from players in his position. Modric was one of the best players on the pitch, no doubt, and he will be incredibly important to Zidane as the month goes on.
Probably playing in his last ‘derbi’, Pepe showed the fans (and probably the clubs chasing his signature) that he is not done yet. The Portuguese defender was in control and gave the Atletico Madrid forwards a lot to worry about. If there was any way that he could remember this game, it would be would be with a goal and that’s exactly what happened. Unfortunately, he couldn’t complete the game due to an injury as he hurt his ribs and that willl probably see him out for approximately a month.
Real Madrid have practically become experts in scoring late goals to gain points but we didn’t see that against Atletico Madrid. Los Merengues deserved more than just a goal and were practically in control of the game but Antoine Griezmann’s equalizer caught them off-guard and, in the last nine minutes of the match (including extra time), we didn’t see any urgency from the team. They weren’t trying to move forward fast enough and came out with a lot of silly mistakes. Having said that, they actually did have a good game overall but luck simply wasn’t on their side.
Malaga, We Thank You!
Real Madrid’s 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid gave Barcelona a chance to level the points at the top of the table (with Los Blancos having a game-in-hand) and that would have made life a lot more difficult for us. 15th placed Malaga were about to take on Barcelona and they came out with a brilliant performance that saw them win the match 2-0 as the Catalans failed to take advantage of the situation. Real Madrid are now 3 points ahead of Barcelona and have a game-in-hand. It’s also important to note that El Clasico comes up in two weeks during Real Madrid’s month from hell so anything can happen and the league is still far from being over.