We played a midweek match against Villarreal in an effort to stay top of the Liga table. We managed to pull off draw in a pretty crappy match.
No pre-match social media today. The boys seemed to already have an idea of how the match would play out.
Luckily, I’m off my ledge today. So it’ll be a little less downer than it would be if I had written this yesterday.
Toni, your chest and nipples are fine. But if you really want to check, I am CPR and First Aid certified…
Okay… I’m done objectifying #ToniLive (maybe).
Real Madrid: Kiko Casilla; Danilo, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Matteo Kovacic, Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez; Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo
Villarreal: Sergio Asenjo; Mario Gaspar, Mateo Musacchio, Victor Ruiz, Jose Angel; Bruno Soriano, Manu Trigueros; Jonathan dos Santos, Samu Castillejo, Denis Cheryshev; Nicola Sansone
We were looking for our 17th win in a row, which would break Pep Guardiola’s record at Barcelona. Personally, I don’t care all that much about the record. I just wanted a win at home. And I wanted us to play better than we have in the last two matches.
I got none of that.
My Ducky didn’t start for Villarreal, which is probably a good thing. I may have imploded. I’m just very sad for him. I reminisce often about the player he was and could have been…
Again we looked a bit lethargic and like we didn’t come to play.
Benzema had a header in the 19th minute that was saved by Asenjo at close range.
In the 29th minute, Cheryshev had a wicked shot tipped over by Casilla. It was both a fabulous shot by Denis and good save by Kiko.
Both Ronaldo and Bale seemed to still not be 100% and the few shots they had were not on target.
In the 44th minute, Marcelo had to come off injured. He was replaced by Carvajal.
In the 45th minute, Varane gave the ball away in a dangerous spot. When the ball was then played in, it hit Ramos’ hand and Villarreal were awarded a penalty. The Pony tried to play like it had hit his face. Again. Instead he was given a yellow card for a handball in the box. That makes it Sergio’s 4th yellow already this season.
Bruno scored the penalty with a chip down the middle.
After 2 minutes of added time, the first half ended.
Real Madrid 0 – 1 Villarreal
We got the half started and looked better than we had in the first half.
It only took 3 minutes for Ramos to make up for giving away the penalty. In the 48th minute, he got that gorgeous pony head to James’ corner.
In the 53rd minute, Angel was given a yellow card for a foul on Gareth (who I have to say looked off).
In the 64th minute, Villarreal replaced Cheryshev with Soriano.
In the 66th minute, Bale shot just wide of the post. I think I let out the most frustrated noise of my life. And I watched the match late, so I already knew the result…
In the 70th minute, Crispy was booked for a foul on Bruno.
In the 73rd minute, we brought in Vazquez for Bale. I was looking forward to what Vazquez could give us.
In the 74th minute, my Ducky (Pato) came on for Villarreal in place of Sansone. And, no joke, I could watch him run all day. He has the most beautiful stride.
Kroos picked up a yellow in the 76th minute when he fouled Castillejo.
Morata came on for Benz as our last substitution in the 77th minute.
Morata made an impact pretty immediately and in the 84th minute Asenjo had to make another great save on a close-range header.
In the 86th minute he got out to make another save on a Vazquez shot.
In the 88th minute, N’Diaye replaced dos Santos for Villarreal.
After 4 minutes, and being denied yet AGAIN by Asenjo, the match came to an end. We’re still undefeated but the winning streak has come to an end.
We dropped points at home, which I don’t like, but Barcelona and Atleti also dropped points as they played to a draw in their match.
Real Madrid 1 – 1 Villarreal
“We needed to start with more intensity but I’m happy with what my players are doing”, added the Whites’ coach.
Zinedine Zidane discussed the match against Villarreal in the press room at the Santiago Bernabéu. The madridista coach appreciated the reaction of his team after the break: “We lacked intensity in the first half. We like to start games strongly but we didn’t manage to do that in the first half. We can’t always play at our best and be at 100% from the first minute. These things can happen and so it proved in the first half. Then, when you’re down, it’s difficult to get back into it. I’ll take away our second half and the effort from everyone. We’re in great shape physically”.
“Individual mistakes happen in football, but it was more to do with the overall performance of the team in the first half. We started complacently. Then the second half was fantastic from everyone. We can’t take the three points in the final minutes all the time. In the second half we had chances to score. I can’t blame my players for anything, I’m happy with all they’re doing. We’re not going to talk about the record anymore. We have to rest up and get ready for the next match”.
“Now we’re thinking about the two points we’ve dropped tonight but these things happen. It’s nothing to do with attitude because we managed to change things in the second half. We have to work on it because it’s not the first time we’ve started a game in this manner. We’ll try and fix it. We’re going to think about it and work on that”.
The result of the Barcelona-Atlético match
“A draw, then we’re as we were. But I’m not bothered about the result, just with what we have to do. Now we have to rest up and prepare well for the match against Las Palmas”.
“There was an improvement compared to our performance in the Champions League. Everyone played excellently in the second half, in terms of the intensity levels and the chances we created… It was very different to the Champions League game. We’re looking to change the way we start games. If we get ourselves in front it makes things difficult for the opposition. Whereas if you go behind, it’s tougher for us. If it had been the other way round i.e. getting off to a strong start and then ending the game poorly, that would be worse. We need to show more focus at the start and play with greater tempo from the off”.
“We changed the system around at the end of the first half. We lined up with two central midfielders and pushed James on a bit to apply a bit more pressure. We also upped our intensity levels and everyone really put in a tremendous effort. In the first half there was effort on an individual level and in the second half it was a more collective effort”.
“I’m not going to focus on his mistake in the first half. A player can make mistakes out on the pitch, but I prefer to talk about the team and what we can do as a team. One player will never be singled out for blame, even if they make a mistake. You always have to accept these kind of errors”.
The record and Cristiano
“I don’t feel uncomfortable about the record. With regards to Cristiano, he was an important player for us tonight, as he always is. It’s important that he’s out there on the pitch for us. I’m not worried if he doesn’t score. He’s always keen to get his name on the scoresheet. I’m worried when he isn’t out on the pitch. The most important thing is for him to regain his form, because he’ll always get you goals”.
“We did enough to have scored another, but we didn’t get the luck we needed”, explained Lucas Vázquez.
James provided the assist for Sergio Ramos to head home the equaliser against Villarreal and he gave the following assessment of the side’s performance at the final whistle: “We have to begin games with much greater intensity and desire. We must say that we put in a very good second-half display and we deserved to have scored a second. You’ve also got to realise that we were up against a good side”.
“They wasted time and they were allowed to do whatever they wanted. At the end of the game there were only three minutes of stoppage time added on and I think that it should have been five or six”.
Lucas: “We came out really strongly after the break”
“We had some issues in the first half, we didn’t control the game and we failed to create chances. In the second half, we did more than enough to have won the game, but we didn’t have the luck we needed to get a second. We came out really strongly after the break and Ramos scored an early goal, but in the end the second goal didn’t materialise”.
“I think it was a clear penalty on Benzema and we’d like to ask the referee why he added on such little time. We have to work hard so these decisions don’t affect us. We’re all angry not to have won at home and we have to learn from our mistakes”.
Kovacic: “Now we’ve got to get ready for the game against Las Palmas”
“We have to pressure better than we did in the first half when we were fairly sloppy. After the break we did things very well and if we play like we did in that second half we’ll win easily. I don’t like to talk about the referee, my job is playing football. Now we have to carry on and prepare for the game against Las Palmas”.
Cavajal: “We gave everything we had”
“In the first half we were a bit sluggish and they scored their goal. We gave our opponents too much space. In the second half we gave it everything we had but in the end it wasn’t to be. Over the course of the season, if we play like we did in the second 45 minutes, the points won’t evade us very often”.
The referee’s performance
“I don’t think the referee had a great game, especially in the time he added on. In the second half there were five changes, constant time wasting on their part… it’s not an excuse but I don’t think the referee was very good in that sense”.
The next match
“On Saturday we’ve got a difficult game in Las Palmas, where we’ll give it all we’ve got to take the three points and keep ourselves at the top of the table”.
Post-Match Social Media:
At least Bale recognized the frustration I think we’re all feeling.
I’m sorry, Sergio, but it doesn’t really feel like we’re getting your all.
Okay, I’m not going to dwell on this. I have faith that when everyone is 100% that it will get better. This has been a tough string of matches. And it’s not really getting easier, but they’ll pull through it.
We play again on Saturday at Las Palmas. It’ll be a good match.
¡Hala Madrid y Nada Mas!