With the excitement of the first El Clasico, this second leg of the Spanish Supercup was a highly-anticipated event once again, with Madridistas excited to see their boys play their first home game of the season against Barcelona (while carrying forth a 1-3 advantage) and Barcelona fans were anxious to exact revenge on Los Blancos for the humiliating defeat, hoping to pull of a better comeback than their legendary comeback against Paris St. Germain last season in the UEFA Champions League.
And El Clasico #2 did not disappoint.
With an astonishing dominating performance from Real Madrid, Los Blancos showed why they were deserving of the four trophies they’ve won in the past 3 months, by shadowing Barcelona in a 2-0 defeat. Bearing in mind the match was not as fierce as the Camp Nou fixture, there were a couple important takeaway points from the game, some of which I can happily say I predicted in a couple articles earlier.
BBC becoming obsolete?
With Cristiano Ronaldo facing a five match ban for his insolence, and Bale being injury prone for the past year, Benzema has been the only constant piece of the BBC puzzle that fits in the squad as of late. BBC has been Real Madrid’s famed front line for almost four years and the footballing world loved the magic they made every time they touched the ball. However, with the unforeseen circumstances and new (technically) coach, BBC has seen their trio including several new youth faces; Isco, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vasquez.
It’s no surprise that with age the BBC trio, replacing them was inevitable, especially with Ronaldo clocking 32. However, it was not foreseen how easily and quickly the youths of Madrid would take to the frontline and fit into the lineup so easily. Isco, even as a midfielder, has fit in perfectly as a winger at times, and has proven to be a deadly attacking midfielder behind Benzema and Bale, making deadly runs and discoing (pun intended) around players who oppose him, creating some of the more riveting chances and delicate assists to the front line.
However, with Isco, Bale and Ronaldo absent, the second leg of the Clasico saw Lucas Vasquez and Marco Asensio alongside Benzema, with another youth player Kovacic in the midfield playing around a senior Barcelona team, beating them in every which way. Another superb goal from 25 yards outside the box saw Golden Boy Marco Asensio score within the first five minutes of the game to give Madrid a 4-1 score up on Barcelona.
The ever-consistent Benzema scored his first goal of the season in the 39th minute, giving Madrid a further lead. The trio atop saw Marco Asensio running through defenders like Pique and Jordi Alba while Vasquez was keen on his assists and crosses up top. It is evident that Madrid’s frontline is shaping up to be a destructive force and just maybe, BBC can get a little competition for their money.
Barca’s dependence on MSN
I know how touchy this topic is for Barcelona fans, they refuse to accept the truth and they will never see Neymar as their true saviour, not after his move. Regardless of his time as a player, his supposed betrayal was too much to bear. But I’ll say it again. NEYMAR WAS BARCELONA’s GLUE for the past two seasons and if the first leg didn’t show that enough, the leg of this Clasico sure highlighted even more of it.
It was a struggle for Barcelona yet again to break down Madrid’s defensive wall, for in the first half they barely had three shots in that had an impact on Madrid. Their entire first half was a shaky one as Luis Suarez tried to fight between defenders who attacked him mercilessly. Sergio Roberto was the trial Neymar for this game as Deulofeu had no apparent contributions in the previous game. Sergio Roberto did a better job on the ball than Deulofeu but still couldn’t keep up with Messi and Suarez’s pace on their attacks.
Again, the pace in Barcelona’s front line was missing horribly and they failed to capitalise on counterattacks and midfield breaks, with Keylor Navas only having to save three shots on target. In the second half Barcelona’s attack was a bit more steady but still no match for Madrid’s even though they did manage to hit the post once. Their once proclaimed style and grace and tiki taka were nowhere to be seen and Messi at some points seemed like a lone saviour to the Cules.
But it’s only been a few weeks since Neymar’s transfer and Valverde’s take over, so maybe Paulinho and his South American boots can help propel the team forward and put this dreary Clasico war behind them.
Messi’s frustrating fight
It was no surprise that Lionel Messi was one of Barcelona’s key players in the Clasico Super Cup but what we didn’t expect was seeing him be bulldozed by Madrid so quickly. Lionel Messi has always been a troubling player with his dribbling decadence and stupendous shots, amazing fans at the Bernabeu game after game. But even though he was the main man fighting in the battle between the Barcelona attack and Madrid’s defence, he was visibly frustrated at the way his team was playing. I’ve said it time and time again, a team cannot circle around one player, or three for that matter because it will cause chaos.
So said so done.
Messi often found himself alone in the middle of numerous Madrid defenders, fighting to pass the ball but without the support of his teammates. While Messi was fighting for attacks, Suarez was begging for fouls, Pique was visibly defeated and giving up even though he was one of the more hard working ones, alongside Javier Mascherano and Busquets.
Ivan Rakitic tried his best to keep the playmaking going but his midfield and defence kept failing him every time he tried to invent a play. Messi was working tirelessly with no achievements to his name, and it was frustrating him visibly knowing Real Madrid was his greatest opponent and had no support after a first smashing defeat to them.
Zidane’s Tactical Brilliance
Since Zinedine Zidane’s reign at Real Madrid, he’s added to his collection two UCL titles, the evasive double, A La Liga title, a Club Champion Cup, UEFA Super Cup and most recently, the Spanish Super Cup. Now I’m no bragger but I do vaguely remember writing about Zidane in a couple of my previous works and he has turned to be exactly what I said he would, one of the greatest. He’s not the Pep of Madrid but the Zidane of Los Blancos.
He has reshaped an entire team that was falling apart into a bomb squad without the addition of players from abroad or other famous clubs, but rather built his team from a team of youth Madrid and Team B players, coaching them and feeling them out until they were ready to take on their respective roles and boy did they deliver!
He’s seen the growth of Isco into a dancing magician, Marco Asensio from youth player to Golden Boy who always scores, along side Kovacic, a deadly weapon in the midfield beside Kroos and Modric and also Vasquez with his smart passing and aggressive plays.
Zidane has meshed each gear on Real Madrid’s destructive footballing machine so perfectly that with each churn, they create art on the field.
He’s allowed his midfield to grow in a way that everyone attacks, assists and defends, while Marcelo and Casimero at the back have the freedom to make long runs and crosses from different angles. He’s included Isco as more than just a midfielder knowing perfectly well that Isco’s agility and footwork make him deadly when manoeuvring amongst defenders while allowing the strikers to be left unseen, while also adding Marco Asensio as a smart striker who can read plays almost as well as he can execute them.
These young players are being brewed as replacements for the senior ones and Madrid would do well to capitalise on the youth talent in Enzo and Theo Hernandez alongside Ceballos. With their regular inclusion in the squad, there is no more “B Team” as they all can handle the game better than most of their opponents, as seen in the Second leg of the Super Cup. With this much talent and tactical brilliance at the forefront, one can almost taste the reign of Madrid on their tongues.
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