Real Madrid: First thoughts from utterly disappointing loss to Cadiz

Real Madrid drop points at home vs Cadiz in an utterly disappointing fashion.

Full time Result – Real Madrid 0-1 Cadiz (Lozano 16′)

This was the worst performance that I have seen from Real Madrid in La Liga in quite a while. From the first minute, Real’s defense looked very shaky and started the first half with an unnecessary giveaway from Toni Kroos which resulted in a shot from Alvaro Negredo, who took a shot that beat Thibaut Courtois, but was cleared on the goal-line by Sergio Ramos.

This wasn’t enough; the team looked shaky and out of position every time Cadiz moved into Real’s defensive third. Marcelo and Nacho Fernandez were nowhere to be found in the defence.

Real Madrid conceded on the 16th minute; Negredo received a free header and flicked it to Lozano, who was left open by Ramos. Lozano chips the ball over Courtois. Real Madrid were left clueless whenever Cadiz attacked them.

Going forward, it was just as bad, if not worse. The team’s attack looked one-dimensional and relied heavily on overloads from Nacho or Vazquez on the right, whenever the team had to switch the ball to the other flank. Cadiz team overloaded the ball side whenever the ball switched to either flank. Both Nacho and Vazquez are trying to provide overloads, and nothing was working.

Luka Modric had a disastrous first half — reminiscent of his 2018/19 season. He gave away the ball many times unnecessarily, looked lethargic and worn out on both ends of the pitch.

The same was with his counterpart, Toni Kroos, who looked tired from the start although not as much as the Croat.

Isco started as a ’10’ and provided movement between the lines at the start but he was ineffective. He had a free-role but it didn’t work at all.

Real Madrid were lucky to not concede a second, a third or even a fourth goal. Cadiz had so many clear-cut chances but they couldn’t capitalize on them. Get this: Cadiz had FIVE shots on target in the first 15 minutes, alone. Cadiz exploited the space left by the defenders and the midfielders in their surge forward on the break.

Zinedine Zidane made four changes at  the start of the second half with Isco, Vazquez, Ramos and Modric going off for Valverde, Asensio, Militao and Casemiro.

Real Madrid started the second half a lot better than the first, although still didn’t make enough clear cut chances until later on in the game.

Kroos had a more advanced role now, after being in a double-pivot with Modric and having to cover for Marcelo (who, by the way, didn’t have much to do in the attack, but somehow was still nowhere to be found whenever Cadiz hit on the break) in the first half. That decision limited his production. Marcelo, who was just invisible in the first half,  looked more involved in the second half, receiving a lot more of the ball. The team attacked through the left more often now, which wasn’t the case in the first half.

Luka Jovic came on for Kroos. Minutes later, he scored but was just offside. Minutes later, Karim hit the crossbar from outside the box. Real Madrid’s offensive scheme was better and more direct in the second half. There was some improvement on the defensive end as well, although there were still a few chances for Cadiz, which were nowhere near as clear-cut as those in the first.

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Here are some additional notes:

  • Casemiro was missed in the first half. But, even if he was there, you can’t say that the team would’ve done a lot better. Cadiz attacked from the flanks more often than not.
  • There was no one covering for Nacho whenever he went forward to provide overloads. One of Vazquez and Modric, presumably, was supposed to do that. But both of the players were in the attacking third, and both of them had disastrous games.
  • There was no threat to Cadiz’s goal in all of the first half. The closest Real got was when Varane took an open header just wide on the 38th minute.
  • Raphael Varane was the best player in a Madrid shirt in the first half. Or, you could say, the only good outfield player.
  • Cadiz had ELEVEN corners. Yes, you read that right. Madrid’s defensive scheme was all over the place today.
  • There were so many unforced (and forced) giveaways from Real’s players today. It reminded me of the game against Manchester City last season.
  • Luka Jovic is just a very unlucky player.