Real Madrid saw a clear display of Casemiro’s value vs Manchester City

Carlos Casemiro of Real Madrid (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Carlos Casemiro of Real Madrid (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) /

Casemiro’s role at Real Madrid is tricky to explain. There aren’t a lot of teams that have a midfielder like Casemiro in the starting XI. It’s not because he isn’t good. He is fantastic, but most teams prefer their central defensive midfielder to be great on the ball, and if there’s one weakness to Casemiro’s game, it’s his lack of on-ball skill. But, the things that he brings to the table are really, really important, especially for a team like Real Madrid.

Los Blancos lost to Manchester City 4-3 in a really tense and thrilling game which could’ve definitely been a lot worse for Real Madrid. Manchester City created a host of chances, and it was evident that Real Madrid were not in the game defensively, and they struggled to build from the back against a team that is known to be a really aggressive pressing team.

Casemiro being there would’ve changed things, for both the good and the bad. The bad would be his press resistance, of course. But, what he would’ve brought defensively could’ve been really, really important to Real, and considering how the game went, it could’ve even ended in a draw. Maybe it would’ve ended in a draw if Real Madrid had a natural replacement for Casemiro, but that’s another topic.

Real Madrid were missing the security that they usually have in front of their defense. Casemiro, whenever the defenders go forward, or are out of position, drops back. He also cleans the mess that is sometimes created because of a lack of coverage from the midfielders and forwards, and in general is just very, very important.

If you look at the first goal, Casemiro would’ve probably dropped back into the defense to support the team from an incoming cross. It’s tough to reckon whether the goal would’ve happened regardless of Casemiro’s presence, but you could put some money on Casemiro potentially becoming an extra body in defense to clear out the danger.

The second one was peak Casemiro territory. He’d have dropped back and cleared the ball that was for Gabriel Jesus before it even got to the Brazilian striker.

Of course, this also means that Real Madrid would’ve struggled even more with the ball, but those trade-offs are worth it when you have a defensive behemoth like Casemiro tracking every ball down and clearing the danger. Real Madrid wouldn’t have conceded four goals. Maybe they wouldn’t have scored three, either, but what’s done is done.

However, it showed us how important the Brazilian is. And it showed us how much Real Madrid fans – sometimes, me included – underrate the Brazilian, because even at his worst, he’d still be a pretty good ball-winner, and Real Madrid, with Toni Kroos being the guy that provides that defensive coverage, really missed it.

While we’re on that topic, by the way, it wasn’t fair on Kroos to expect that much from a guy who isn’t a proper defensive midfielder. He’s getting way too much hate. He deserves some criticism, but not all of it was his fault.

Next. 5 Real Madrid players who could greatly increase their value vs. Espanyol this weekend. dark

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In the second leg, though, we know that Real Madrid would be better defensively. They’d have to be. If they want to be in the final, they have no choice but to be better. They’ve seen what happens in defense if the team’s not focused, and if the team’s missing its greatest defensive asset. Both of those things would probably change next Wednesday, at least according to the words of Carlo Ancelotti.