Leganés vs. Real Madrid Post-Match Analysis: The Final Warm Up Ahead of the Derby

Real Madrid's players attend a training session at Valdebebas Sport City, on April 7, 2017 on the eve of their Spanish League football match Club Atletico de Madrid vs Real Madrid. / AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)
Real Madrid's players attend a training session at Valdebebas Sport City, on April 7, 2017 on the eve of their Spanish League football match Club Atletico de Madrid vs Real Madrid. / AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images) /

Two days ago, Real Madrid faced a surprisingly tricky Leganés side. After a scare just prior to the end of the first half, Real Madrid were able to hold off a comeback, and win the match 4-2. With the Madrid Derby less than 24 hours away, lets go ahead and dive into how Los Blancos did in their final warm up match.

It’s been almost two weeks since the end of the International break. Many of us know how taxing it can be, but few teams have such a hectic schedule following it, as Real Madrid do.

In the stretch, Los Blancos will face, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich twice, and FC Barcelona. First up is Atletico Madrid, who are set to visit the Bernabéu in less than 24 hours.

The team has had two matches to prepare and get back into the swing of things. The first was the win over Alavés, who happen to be one of the best visiting teams in Spain this season.

The team performed alright, but Alavés were a handful up to the 80th minute whenIsco scored twice in three minutes. A 3-0 victory isn’t anything to complain about, but the team looked off defensively. We all collectively said “They’re coming back from the international break. They’re tired. Out of sync with each other”.

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It was only three days later, at Leganés, the team had their final warm up match for the derby. The attacking trio, the BBC, were given the chance to rest, as were Toni Kroos and Luka Modric. This match was less about how well the team could attack, but would they instead focus on bringing defense back into shape and get them working well together again.

Marcelo was back, and Nacho was given a starting spot alongside Sergio Ramos to see how well they would gel as the two starting center backs.

Most importantly, all eyes were on Casemiro, who has been one of the most important players. What he lacks in flair and passing technique, he more than makes up for with some of the best defending from any midfielder this season.

(Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images) /

The match started off with a bang. Real Madrid looked as much of an attacking powerhouse as ever. Alvaro Morata had come close to scoring by the 2nd minute. Then in the 14th minute, Asensio made a beautiful run that was put in the back of the net by James Rodriguez.

Shortly after, Morata scored the second from a corner header. Less than 10 minutes after his first goal, Morata scored the third. It was an onslaught of trademark Real Madrid attacking prowess we haven’t seen a lot of this season.

We all cheered.

Real Madrid are back stronger than we’ve seen this whole season.

But then, Los Blancos were blindsided by a series of counters; this is especially important because that is what Atletico Madrid do: they pull back and hit you on the counter. The defense was all over the place. There were three of them in total, but two of them ended in goals.

The first was what I consider the warning shot. Leganés got past Casemiro as if he wasn’t there.

Then, they outplayed the back line, whose formation was atrocious. Two center backs with zero support are obviously not a viable form of defending. By the time they did get the support they needed, Leganés had already taken the shot. This was the first sign of trouble.

Then we come to the first goal for Leganés. We see a pass lobbed through to send in the Leganés attacker. Danilo clearly sees it, but reacts one second too late.

In football, one second is enough to change a match. Then we see Keylor Navas do what he’s been doing all season: taking up a bad position and leaving the goal completely open.

All the winger had to do was lay it up, almost on a silver plate, to the other attacker and they had a goal. It terrifies me to think what Griezmann and Gameiro would do to the defense. This is the clearest example of how bad the backline and goalkeeper has been all season long

Finally, we have the second goal. Once again, a big part of the goal comes down to bad positioning. Leganés await the corner, which is whipped into the box. After winning the aerial duel, the ball bounces on its way to Navas. This is where the bad positioning comes into play.

If you look closely (there’s even a pause to allow for this), all of the back line went forward to provide the offside trap. All of them except for Nacho. What ends up happening is that Nacho allows for Luciano to be onside.

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Then we have Navas, who manages to get both hands on the ball but fails to stop it. Once again, Navas is the last line of defense and messes up, allowing the goal.

While Madrid did manage to pull the game back, scoring another goal (there’s a lot of debate on whether it was an own goal or a Morata goal), those eight minutes of counters and attacking runs almost brought Leganés back into the match.

It’s not hard to imagine a stronger team running circles around the team that was out against Leganés. Teams like Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have the speed to hit on the counter harder than Leganés. Bayern Munich is organized enough to find and exploit every hole in the back line.

Zidane has to learn from this and change things up, because at this rate, I don’t see Real getting any definitive wins against the big teams they have to face this month.

Next: Real Madrid Ready to Add Atletico Left-Back Theo Hernandez