Real Madrid hosted Barcelona in the first El Clasico of 2017 as they were favorites on the night but it seems like they didn’t come out with the “Clasico Mentality” as they found themselves in yet another chaotic match but this time, a last-minute goal went against them.
Zinedine Zidane named a strong starting eleven but questions were raised regarding the choice of Gareth Bale, who has been picked to start having just returned from injury. It was a recipe for disaster. The starting eleven consisted of:
Keylor Navas, Daniel Carvajal, Nacho Fernandez, Sergio Ramos [C], Marcelo, Carlos Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema
Real Madrid –
Carlos Casemiro (28′)
James Rodriguez (86′)
Lionel Messi (33′)
Ivan Rakitic (73′)
Lionel Messi (92′)
One of Real Madrid’s most influential player on the night, Keylor Navas was an absolute beast. Even though three goals were scored against him, there wasn’t much he could do about them. If the Costa Rican wasn’t at his best on the night, the game would have ended A LOT earlier. Unfortunately for him, the defenders in front of him weren’t anywhere near their best and therefore he was left to do what he can and hope for the best. On paper, it doesn’t seem like he had the greatest match but it was a great performance by our goalkeeper who has gotten a lot of criticism in recent months.
Throwing Away The Game
No excuses. Sergio Ramos was given a straight red card for a dangerous two-footed tackle on Lionel Messi and nothing can be said about that. After his dismissal, Los Merengues were able to get an unlikely equalizing goal from an unlikely source as James Rodriguez slotted the ball in the back of the net. A draw would have actually been fine for the Men in White but, instead of defending it for the last few minutes, they decided to go for the winner and paid the consequences in full as the last move of the match was Messi’s shot which went into the bottom corner.
I can’t stand him anymore, it’s weird but it’s true. He’s a solid defensive midfielder and has been doing well but he gives us way too many problems. Just like in the second-leg match against Bayern Munich, he should go to sleep thanking God constantly that he doesn’t get sent off. The Brazilian deserved to be dismissed during the first 45 minutes and it’s a miracle that he stayed on the pitch long enough until Zidane decided to take him off for Mateo Kovacic. He is a rough player and he needs to control himself because he won’t get lucky everytime…
Why Start Gareth Bale?
Gareth Bale has come back from an injury, played a few games where he was clearly out of form, got injured again, so you start him in El Clasico?! None of this made any sense and, unsurprisingly, he found himself getting substituted off half-way through the first 45 minutes with an injury. Marco Asensio came on to replace him and did A LOT more than Bale was able to do throughout his time on the pitch.
La Liga Still In Our Hands
Real Madrid could have had a comfortable cushion and practically secured La Liga with a win or even a draw against their bitter rivals. Unfortunately, that has never been how Real Madrid like to do things and have therefore made life a lot more difficult for themselves as they are now in second place tied on points with Barcelona but have a game-in-hand against Celta de Vigo. If we win all our remaining matches, we will win La Liga. Sadly, we have some difficult games coming up and that’s putting aside that we are also focusing on the UEFA Champions League while Barcelona can put all their concentration on La Liga for the rest of the campaign. This may not end well for us.