Barcelona beating Real Madrid? Boring. Well not exactly boring, but nothing new about it. Messi didn’t score, Ronaldo did but disappeared shortly after, We didn’t get anything interesting from Mourinho, yet, while the dirty tactics, with Pepe incharge, were what resonated in many minds after the match.
Somehow, Pepe finished the match without a red card. Mourinho pulled him off after 80 minutes, as it seems pretty clear that the red would be coming pretty soon. Disgraceful diving and flat out violent tackles and behavior on the pitch can leave no room for excuses and lying from Real Madrid about his behavior or any provocation. The man didn’t do his job as well, as he was the one marking Puyol on the Barcelona equalizer.
But Pepe doesn’t deserve so many words, with Carvalho and Conterao also on the same list of players who tried to actually hurt people, especially Lionel Messi, last night. It wasn’t the best of performances from Messi, the three time Ballon d’Or winner, but he did find Abidal for the winning goal, and did just about enough in passing and movement while Pepe, Xabi Alonso and Diarra spent the match trading chances to cover him.
Real Madrid’s failure to change the dynamics of a Clasico were far too evident again. The three-man front worked for a very short while, but that pressure of keeping Barcelona passing around their box soon evaporated. Manchester United tried similar tactics in the Champions League final, but Barcelona were too patient, and too good, and things went back to normal pretty soon.
It was the same in Madrid, for the second time this season. Real opened scoring, with the afterburners soon put out as they were pushed more and more back, with Iker Casillas becoming more and more involved. A bit more luck, a bit more concentration from Iniesta and Alexis, and Barcelona would have already scored in the first half.
It’s only the Copa Del Rey, and Real Madrid, despite two losses to Barcelona (not including the Super Cup), lead the league, 5 points ahead of the champions. Is it enough for the rest of the season? Real seem to have the perfect team to beat everyone else, but Barcelona. Barcelona look fragile at times. Maybe it’s a lack of drive after so many titles together these past few years, or maybe those are the problems in the back.
Espanyol didn’t press the Barcelona defense, but pressed the midfield, and didn’t fall back so eagerly. They didn’t panic when Messi had the ball and immediately surround him with 4-5 men, leaving the other danger-men open. Mourinho tries different tactics, from high lines to offside traps to pressure up front. Nothing works. Maybe a motivated Barca side, and there’s plenty of motivation playing against Real Madrid, is just too much.
The previous Clasico loss didn’t really shatter Mourinho and his side. They’ve come to accept that beating Barcelona is just a bonus this season, with bigger goals in mind. It might be annoying to hear Mourinho say that, but it’s true. It reeks of avoiding to talk about his team’s failures when facing Guardiola, but these losses won’t matter if Real finish ahead of Barca in the tables and the Champions League.