Los Blancos bid adieu to the Copa del Rey, after a failed comeback at home versus Atlético Madrid. Now it’s time to move on and continue to fight for the titles that are still possible. January will be a much more calm month for Real, since they won’t have to play two extra matches now. In addition, Barça and Atleti will play each other in Copa, making this an ideal opportunity to get away in La Liga.
Preferred Formation: 4-3-3
Whether it was a mental problem or just two off nights, the current system showed its flaws in Atleti’s four goals. In just a few passes, the city rival arrived to the box and the defense was nowhere to be found, especially Carvajal and/or Marcelo.
Kroos, James and Isco, as fantastic as they are, can’t assure defensive compromise all season long. Maybe it’s time for Carlo Ancelotti to rethink the whole plan with this new failure.
GK: Iker Casillas
He probably was desperate to jump in the field versus Torres and company. He had to see his teammate suffer the bitter taste of elimination. In order to show Madrid’s still alive, Iker will start giving much more than usual.
RB: Dani Carvajal
Completely M.I.A. in Thursday’s failed attempt against Atleti, his attacking power is becoming too small of a reason to consider him untouchable. Arbeloa isn’t going through his best moment, so Ancelotti will have to revert this with psychology.
CB: Raphaël Varane
Despite his promising future and fantastic performances, he needs to really give more in order to change Ancelotti’s mind. Because of Pepe’s injury, he will have to pair up with Ramos once again.
CB: Sergio Ramos
Back to the Ramos we see in the first few months of competition, he deserves a significant amount of responsibility for the elimination. Hopefully in February we start to see that solid Ramos that goes the extra mile.
He continues to be a very threatening player. He tends to drive the opponents crazy and also unsettle his own defense. He was nowhere to be found in Torres’ goals, which is something that needs to be taken care of.
RCM: James Rodríguez
His persistence is appreciated by most. However, giving his best doesn’t really help if his contribution is useless to the development of the game. Modrić could also give him a boost in the coming month.
CM: Toni Kroos
Also improved, but with clear difficulties when it comes to intense rivals. He needs more support and more time to truly get used to his deeper role. While the Bundesliga teams are enjoying time off, he needs to get used to working harder.
His usual form can be enough for most, yet creating football that ends up with Real eliminated isn’t worth much. The best thing that could happen is Modrić’s return, since it will immediately put some pressure on the starters.
RW: Gareth Bale
He gave the assist to Ronaldo and not much more thanks to the great defenders in front of him. Improving compared to the rest of the season, still the BBC manages to waste too many opportunities.
ST: Karim Benzema
His most difficult rival won the fight once again. He hasn’t had the best start to 2015 and a ground like Getafe’s is ideal to start redeeming himself. He should be careful, as Chicharito might grow in importance.
LW: Cristiano Ronaldo
Scored the useless tie against Atleti, yet he still can’t seem to get out of his rut. Bale and others have stolen the leadership role, and it’s time for the Portuguese to reclaim it and show he’s worthy of the Ballon d’Or.