Celta de Vigo – Real Madrid: Los Blancos Respond After A Much-Scrutinized Preseason (1-3)
Real Madrid control the first half before Toni Kroos and co. save the team, having gone down a man due to a red card for Luka Modrić.
Tactical analysis and match report by Om Arvind.
To say that Zinedine Zidane was under pressure coming into Real Madrid’s LaLiga opener in Estadio Balaídos would be an understatement. After a whirlwind of a summer - where Madrid made a multitude of signings yet disappointed in preseason - at least a quarter of the fanbase was already calling for Zidane’s head.
While such an attitude was definitely an overreaction, there was reason to be concerned. Real Madrid had been disappointing in their last two league campaigns, meaning that some of the issues seen in preseason were merely reflections of longer trends, such as defensive transition.
An issue that was always present in some form or the other since the departure of Carlo Ancelotti, as Zidane was never quite able to figure out how to balance the fluidity of his offense with a solid defensive structure once his team lost the ball. This problem reached its apex under Santiago Solari, when the post-peak and fatigued Luka Modrić and off-form Casemiro could no longer paper over the cracks.
Among the multitude of other challenges that come with managing Madrid, the need to create stronger collective defensive structures is arguably Zidane’s toughest. Fail to do so, and even the signing of Neymar may not be enough to prevent another fruitless season.
Celta de Vigo are another team that came off a very disappointing league campaign. They hung around the bottom of the . . .