Madrid is in Babia, absorbed with the virtuosity of Benzema, and goes from defeat to defeat, beaten by the Sheriff and Espanyol, after drawing against Villarreal. Ancelotti does not stop chewing gum, senseless footballers come and go and the team can’t find a way to retrace the steps that led him to the leadership of the League. Madrid detracted from Benzema’s solemn performance. Espanyol’s victory was indisputable no matter how the statistics announced a white success after their 11 wins in 13 games at the RCDE Stadium. The Blue and Whites penalized the bad game of a rival who did not play football but made plays around Benzema, author of nine goals, insufficient to compensate for the inconsistency and disruption of Madrid.
Ancelotti slept little and badly during the week due to the poor results and had a lot of time to think about the line-up that would face Espanyol. The insomnia ended with Casemiro on the bench and Alaba on the left side, while Nacho formed as a center-back along with Militão. Although sometimes it is enough to resort to the 4-4-2 conventionality to recover the lost security, it was not the case of Madrid. Ancelotti’s wakefulness increased very soon, after Espanyol’s legs stopped shaking due to the reverential power of Modric, Kroos and Benzema. This explains why Pedrosa gave Vinicius a goal ball that the madridista ruined because he wanted to turn it into an assist to Benzema.
Vinicius dribbled from the outside in, while Camavinga ran without rhyme or reason. Madrid had a harder time defending than attacking because their media lost the ball and facilitated Espanyol’s transitions. Ancelotti’s team did not close well to the luck of Embarba, who overflowed Alaba and put the ball at the near post for Raúl de Tomás’s shot. The errors in the pass of Kroos and Modric contrasted with the success of Melendo. The blue and white midfielder handled the game with authority and ease, excellent in the game between the lines, master of the medullary next to Darder before the innocence of Madrid. Ancelotti’s team had a hole in the divide and did not fold well at Espanyol’s speed. There were many players out of place in Madrid. The only lighthouse was the always admired Benzema.
The greatest danger for Espanyol, very stabilized around Darder, was the agitator Embarba because the expulsion of charging with a yellow card for a stomp on Camavinga was played. The blue and white rhythm surpassed a well-off Madrid squad, confused and lacking defensive aids due to the lack of interest of Vinicius and the displacement of Camavinga, replaced by Rodrygo.
The support of the fans
Madrid changed to 4-3-3, opened the field on the wings with Vinicius and Rodrygo and forced Espanyol to retreat. The script evoked for a moment the game well planned and poorly resolved by Espanyol against Atlético. The cheer of the fans then supported the team after Militão missed a shot off a corner kick. Vicente Moreno wasted no time in replacing Melendo with Morales.
The Espanyol coach did not want surprises. Already chastened, always competitive in demanding matches, the Blue and Whites were well organized and applied better in concentration, the same in defense as in attack, more damned than the clueless Madrid. Ancelotti’s footballers were distracted by a foul and no one interrupted Aleix Vidal’s career, excellent in driving, Nacho’s dry break and impeccable shot against Militão. And if Espanyol did not count the third, it was because the cross shot narrowly escaped Darder. The cons of Espanyol tortured a Madrid that no matter how many players it changed —Casemiro, Jovic, Hazard, Rodrygo— always ended up entrusting itself to Benzema. The forward paced the edge of the area like a tightrope walker and dribbled past three defenders before finishing off Diego López.
The party no longer stopped turning around Benzema. The madridista attacked, sometimes an artist and sometimes a boar, and Espanyol defended himself as best he could, busted from running so much, tense by Benzema’s recital. The striker, however, did not find the goal more times, not even with the help of Courtois, and the leader abdicated, turned over by a more proud and better placed Espanyol, superior in his flirtatious and vibrant RCDE Stadium. Ancelotti will have 15 more days without sleep due to the League break.
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