Real Madrid took the win over Barcelona once again. Although, Barcelona actually played better than usual, in the sense that they pressed a lot better and forced Real Madrid players, at least at the start, into a lot of giveaways. The team also faced problems in stringing a bunch of passes together to hurt Barcelona. There was just so much space left behind them, it was odd to see it not being exploited. Anyway, apart from that weird phase, Real Madrid got the job done, and they did it while playing in a style they really haven’t gone with this season
They rarely pressed Barcelona, stayed back and made Barcelona suffer through the pace on the wings, which is essentially what won them the game. Neither of the wingers was on the scoresheet, but they were so crucial in making sure things went their team’s way. Alaba and Vazzquez made sure that Real Madrid win the game relatively comfortably, and despite all the improvement, Barcelona only threatened the goal once or twice.
So, that being said, what are my takeaways from this game?
Rodrygo’s defensive coverage was more important than his contribution in offense
Rodrygo had a decent game, but it was a lot more about his defense than it was about his offense. You could say he was one of the biggest reasons why Barcelona’s left side was ineffective. As has been said before, Lucas Vazquez was great on both ends of the pitch, but he would’ve faced a lot more difficulty if it wasn’t for Rodrygo tracking back literally every other sequence to cover for Jordi Alba’s overloads. Previous Clasicos have shown us how dangerous Alba is in the attacking third, whenever he’s linking up with Messi in the final third and being set free sequence after sequence.
Messi wasn’t there, but there was still a lot of danger that could’ve come out of the left side, which is what Rodrygo neutralised as well as he could’ve. Of course, there were a couple of times when Alba actually broke free, which was followed by David Alaba’s crucial block, but the rest was managed very well by Rodrygo.
He had two tackles, one block, one interception, nine presses, and covered a lot of ground. Offensively, like I said, he didn’t do much (apart from the great assist, of course), but he didn’t need to do a lot, either.