Actual Madrid’s first lack of the brand new season got here of their seventh match — and in an important, too.
Sunday night time’s 3-1 defeat at Atletico Madrid mirrored the house aspect’s superiority within the derby and unleashed a wave of criticism in direction of the guests.
The disappointing consequence underlined doubts that had already been creeping in, some highlighted by The Athletic after final Wednesday’s 1-0 residence victory over competitors rookies Union Berlin within the Champions League.
Carlo Ancelotti was singled out as the primary offender. The Madrid head coach stunned everybody final night time by beginning Toni Kroos and Luka Modric collectively in midfield for the primary time this season. That pairing of 30-somethings now not pleases Florentino Perez, because the membership president advised his Italian supervisor throughout 2022-23 — on a number of events.
The experiment didn’t work, and Ancelotti, with a critical face, was self-critical afterwards within the Metropolitano stadium’s press room, utilizing himself as a defend for his gamers.
“When the workforce doesn’t do what they need to do, clearly it’s my duty,” Ancelotti mentioned. “The inattentiveness at first of matches is my fault.”
Ancelotti’s temper in entrance of the media couldn’t have contrasted extra with the gestures and noise of the Atletico followers. The victory was performed out in entrance of a report crowd (69,082) at their membership’s residence stadium, expanded for this season, and the celebrations that adopted solely lacked a trophy.
Even with the sport itself nonetheless in play, head coach Diego Simeone acted as grasp of ceremonies and the followers sang and jumped with such jubilation you would really feel the press field tremble. With the win sealed, the house workforce did a lap of honour.
On the opposite aspect, the final Madrid gamers to go away the pitch — Nacho, Lucas Vazquez, Dani Ceballos, Fran Garcia, Kroos and Antonio Rudiger — applauded the small variety of away followers.
Madrid had gained six video games out of six in all competitions earlier than final night time, and had solely let in three targets throughout these matches. However at Atletico there was failure on a number of fronts, and champions and arch-rivals Barcelona have now changed them on the high of La Liga.
Ancelotti didn’t get his choice proper, however there have been different issues, too.
In defence, they struggled to cope with crosses, with Ancelotti describing his again line as “fragile” and all three Atletico targets coming through headers. Madrid additionally conceded within the first 5 minutes of the match for a fourth time this season, with it having occurred in opposition to Almeria, Getafe and Actual Sociedad. It’s a painful coincidence that on three of those 4 events, the early targets had been scored by Madrid academy graduates: Sergio Arribas of Almeria, Getafe’s Borja Mayoral and, final night time, Alvaro Morata.
Madrid, in the meantime, had been once more missing up entrance. With Joselu on the bench, Jude Bellingham made his derby debut as a sort of second striker. By introducing one other midfielder, Ancelotti needed extra management, however this was not achieved and Bellingham ended up wanting considerably misplaced.
Bellingham has been Madrid’s high performer thus far this season, with six targets and one help. The build-up to Sunday’s sport introduced a discouraging signal, because the England midfielder needed to depart coaching early on Friday with abdomen issues, his mom coming to select him up from the membership’s Valdebebas complicated.
He did appear to reach on the stadium final having recovered, nevertheless.
Once more, Bellingham put his coronary heart and soul into every part, attempting to interrupt traces and seeking to elevate his aspect’s depth at key moments, corresponding to when Atletico had scored or had been taking part in to waste time. However he ended up getting annoyed and on one other day may need been proven a crimson card as an alternative of a yellow for a powerful sort out on Angel Correa in second-half stoppage time.
His disorientation affected Rodrygo, who has not began this season effectively and is with out a membership purpose for the reason that opening weekend over a month in the past. A weak try from the Brazilian within the twentieth minute prompted the primary of three sarcastic jeers from the stands, an indication of Madrid’s lack of innovative in assault.
There was a collection of reproaches and gestures of impotence among the many Madrid gamers.
Kepa Arrizabalaga berated the defence after making a key save within the thirty first minute. David Alaba, who was at fault along with his positional play for all three targets, complained to Eduardo Camavinga after Morata rose to make it 3-1 at first of the second half. Rudiger was very annoyed about having no assist in a late one-on-one with Memphis Depay.
On the touchline, there was one other snapshot of the match: Simeone, eternally on his toes, didn’t cease, whereas Ancelotti spent a lot of the first half sitting down.
After Kroos’ excellent purpose made it 2-1 simply previous the half-hour, Madrid appeared to have woke up. The teaching workers jumped as much as rejoice and instantly held a mini-meeting. Davide Ancelotti went wild calling Federico Valverde over to inform him a few swap: Kroos, not Camavinga, would now function because the No 5.
The visiting followers additionally felt hope, sensing an opportunity for a comeback. Ancelotti Senior appeared to have a plan, and earlier than leaving for half-time he instructed Antonio Pintus, the health coach, to remain out and heat up Ferland Mendy, Aurelien Tchouameni and Joselu.
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All three would come on throughout the first quarter-hour after the interval, with Mendy taking part in his first minutes of the season final night time following a hamstring harm, however the single change to open the half was Joselu for the now 38-year-old Modric. Morata then added to Atletico’s lead nearly instantly.
With 1 / 4 of an hour to go, Davide Ancelotti could possibly be seen down on the touchline, elevating his arms and attempting arduous to remind the gamers that there was nonetheless time.
Quickly after, a sequence of assured Atletico passes began up, every greeted with a gleeful “Olé!” from the stands.
It was a scene repeated a number of occasions earlier than the top of what was an evening to neglect, for Actual Madrid.
(High picture: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Photographs)
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- Bellingham misplaced in Ancelotti’s midfield gamble as Actual Madrid fail on a number of fronts
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