The victory of Barcelona by 2-1 in the classic He confirmed that Real Madrid has a lot of serious problems beyond the 12 points that now open up at the head of LaLiga.
The defeat of the reigning champion at the Camp Nou, although it was the length of an eyebrow that ruled Marco AsensioOffside of the potential winning goal, confirmed that the Barça defender Ronald Araujo is living without paying rent inside junior viniciusthe head The aggregate total when the Barca coach Xavi has ordered the 24-year-old central defender to change position, play right-back and mark Vinicius, is now: P4, W4, with a score of 11-2.
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The worst thing was that the Brazilian full-back started the game by forcing an own goal from a timid Araujo. But despite the fact that Barcelona pursues a first home Classic win in LaLiga since October 2018, not only the blaugrana turn things around to win, but Vinicius, instead of erupting in his usual way, flickered briefly, then turned into a wet squib once more.
Another concern for the Madrid fans was that, once again, The whites he had very few tactical, athletic or creative answers on how to hurt an error-prone Barcelona once Vinicius was sidelined.
This theme was not only a central theme when the teams last met on March 2, now it is only April 5 until they play again, for the last time this season, in the second leg of the Cup semi-final. King. That match, although less important than LaLiga or the Champions League, is the gateway to a possible Madrid Quadruple (European Super Cup, Club World Cup, Champions League and Copa del Rey), or a Treble for Xavi in his first full season. as boss (Spanish Super Cup, LaLiga, Copa del Rey.) And, with Real Madrid down 1-0, I promise that it will be the most explosive, tense, all or nothing, spiteful Classic for many seasons.
But the question, after this dramatic late victory for Barcelona via frank kessieThe skilfully carried goal is: if Ancelotti, Luka modric, Toni Kroos and company did not find solutions for Vinicius to overcome Araujo in the fortnight that elapsed between losing the first leg of the semifinals and on Sunday, will they do it before the second leg?
The worst is also yet to come when the implications are weighed. Vinicius can have good days and bad days, which is true for any elite athlete, since they are all human. Yet while he added to his bloated credit the way he created the opening goal on Sunday, cutting off his weaker left foot and crossing with such purpose that he had Araujo score an own goal, never, throughout his career. , he has been stopped so effectively by a player on so many consecutive occasions.
What does that mean? Well, it becomes a model for Chelsea, Madrid’s opponent in the Champions League quarter-finals, as well as Manchester City or Bayern Munich if The whites advance to semis
Not all teams, in fact very few, have an Araujo. He may not be in a class of his own yet, but he is world class and has effectively shown how others should keep an eye on Vinicius. I’m sure Chelsea boss Graham Potter, assuming he’s still in charge when the first leg of the quarter-final rolls around on April 12, will be working on something similar with the side. reece james.
The facts of Sunday Classic it could also have loosened Ancelotti’s grip on his work. Heading into the final year of his contract, if Ancelotti can’t find a way to free Vinicius from his Uruguayan shadow for the Cup semi-final, and then the Chelsea tie, then those of us who enjoy having the Italian working in LaLiga we can probably kiss that prospect goodbye for next season.
This, by the way, is not an attack on Vinicius. He showed effort and commitment; his perpetual bravery meant he wanted the ball whether he was under pressure or not, his idea was to take the fight and try to turn the game around. But all around him, teammates like Karim Benzema and Federico Valverde He had very disappointing nights and Vinicius was often Madrid’s only player (until Ancelotti finally brought Rodrygo and Asensio) who was energetic and combative.
In general, it is about winning and the Araujo vs. Vinicius has a 100% success rate for the blaugrana. Madrid always look sterile when the Brazilian gets frustrated and, worst of all, if you look at the minutiae of this battle, Vinicius plays differently when he takes on his Uruguayan rival. He does not hide and is not afraid, but he is tentative. Time after time, particularly in the second half on Sunday, there was space behind Araujo that Vinicius would normally run into, tempting a right-back to make a rash challenge or leave them in the dust.
I fully accept that this is easier when you have players like Benzema in top form around you. But if you look closely, there were numerous occasions when Vinicius looked at Araujo, weighed up the sprint and opted to dribble or pass inside. It is not a crime but he is taking away a central weapon from Real Madrid and that has made him, according to Ancelotti, “the most decisive player in world football”.
Why it’s game over for Real Madrid’s title run dreams
Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens discuss why the title race is over for Real Madrid after their 2-1 loss to Barcelona in El Clásico.
Was he on Sunday? No again. And for the neutral it was disappointing that this was more of the same.
Ancelotti and Madrid had a tactic planned and for parts of the first half it threatened to work. Kroos would fall in the position of left back since Madrid played from the defense, left back Nacho he would push forward around the midline, but still wide to the sideline. With Kroos occupying the extreme of Barcelona raphinha There would often be an option, if Madrid moved the ball quickly, for Araujo to run forward and shut down Nacho or, as instinct told him, stay and mark Vinicius. But like Vinicius himself, the plan flickered, threatened and then faded as both Nacho and Kroos were substituted.
A nice side note of the duel between Araujo and Vinicius was seeing the healthy and respectful interactions between the pair, which is not always the case in the heat of battle. I think they are enjoying the fight, although it is clear that the Uruguayan is much more and Vinicius, at 22, is still thinking about what to do. Ancelotti lacks useful remedies and several of the Brazilian’s teammates are actively letting him down.
It’s a problem that needs fixing. And fast. Time is ticking as the next version of this “irresistible force against the immovable object” is fifteen days away. And then there will be the interesting question of how much Chelsea boss Potter and his Araujo-style athletic right-back James have learned from what they saw on Sunday. The end of the business season is coming and it is time for Madrid to get down to work.