Tuesday, August 21, 2007

a few conclusions from the Spanish Super Cup

Sevilla 6-3 Real (agg.)

First leg: Sevilla 1 (Fabiano, p) : 0 Real
Second leg: Real 3 (Drenthe, Cannavaro, Ramos) : 5 (Renato (2), Kanoute (3)) Sevilla

As El Pais observed, this was the difference between 'a team and a project'. Alongside the Valencia I sometimes saw last season (not so sure how they're doing this season yet), Sevilla are the most complete team in Spain, and that is entirely admirable. (There's a reason there are so many Sevilla players in my La Liga fantasy team.)

I really hope those rumours about Spurs coming in for Juando Ramos come to nothing. (This is a really terrible time to sack a manager from the London club's point of view, anyway.) As they have demonstrated in their Champions League qualifier against AEK Athens, they're enough of a team that even losing a great player like Dani Alves won't be too much of a problem. Remember the people who predicted doom and gloom when Reyes was sold to Arsenal for 10 million pounds, not to mention Sergio Ramos (27 million euros) and Julio Baptista (24 million euros) to Real. Ramos has done such good work at Sevilla, and I'd like to see how they do with him at the helm in the Champions League proper.

So Sevilla begin the season as they ended it: by winning a trophy at the Bernabeu. Fully deserved, and congratulations to them. With apologies to Milan, I hope they go on to successfully defend their European Super Cup title.

Real Madrid
"...then today people talked about my decision concerning Guti. I simply don't understand why I shouldn't be allowed to do what I've been working on all week."
News flash, Bernd: this is Real Madrid. People will never stop talking about every single one of your decisions, from whether or not you play Guti to whether you shout enough in training. (Also, your attempt to include the decisions of the referee in the list of reasons for your defeat was pitiful. This could become tiresome really fast.)

For a Madridista perspective, see Gonzalo's take. As I said in the comments there, I do find it hard to fault Schuster for the lack of coherence and tactical clarity in the team at this moment in time, because whoever's in charge of transfers at Real has left him in a very difficult position. They're now only 5 days from the start of the league, and a big first game against city rivals Atletico Madrid at that, and they still haven't finished bringing players in.

How is Schuster supposed to plan his tactics with a squad missing crucial members? Sneijder, who is supposed to be the attacking midfielder the coach has been asking for since he signed on, only arrived a few days ago from an entirely different league. Expecting him to fit into the team straight away is lunacy. Just to take an example closer to home for me, after playing 5 halves and one full friendly with Barca, I still think Henry hasn't quite fully clicked into our tactical system. That's 300 more minutes of game time with the team than Sneijder (and Drenthe) have had.

But given all of that, who do you think will be blamed for any trip ups that do occur? Sadly, I think it would probably be Schuster. I don't expect to be defending him on a regular basis throughout the season, as I do find some of his behaviour annoying, but it's easy to appreciate just how difficult his position is at this point.


pdp_risingson said...

its funny you mention fantasy team... i was going to ask you to join mine. oh well, too late!

estoverao said...

aah . . . the agony of another preseason loss. My blog is running out of ways to spin it. Pretty balanced coverage for a Barca fanatic. kudos from a Madridista. The last time someone scored 5 on us in the Bernabeau was when E'to then with Mallorca thrashed the then 'Galacticos' during Ronaldo's first year. That same year(2002-03) though, we won LA LIGA, hopefully history will repeat itself.

linda said...

pdp_risingson: why's it too late? For clarity's sake, I'm talking about the ESPN La Liga fantasy game, in which I've arbitrarily decided to exclude all Real and Barca players from my team.

estoverao: good to hear that I'm achieving the balance that I aim for. I try to be passionate about my team without losing objectivity, so if I do get something wrong while writing about Real I'm relying on you guys to correct me. :)

Hmm, good omens for you guys. Was that not during Del Bosque's time?