On Sunday, Sevilla not only handed Real Madrid their first loss but also completely embarrased Real Madrid and their defense. Sevilla beat Real at their own game. They didn't play for possession, they just came out firing in an all out attack. I didn't think C. Ronaldo meant so much to Real, but they had no spark and were never really a threat on offense. More importantly though, Sevilla completely exposed the terrible back line that call themselves Real Madrid's defense. Talk about unorganized. Marcelo is a joke, as will be shown in the video. Pepe can't organize anyone, and Sergio Ramos is too interested in scoring goals. They are not in sync, and no offense should feel intimidated having to go up against Real's defense.
In a previous post, we discussed the SI.com Power Rankings and the fact that they had ranked Real #1 and Barcelona #2. We argued that Barcelona is still deserving of the top spot and also that there was no way Real Madrid's defense was good enough to control the top spot. There were a lot of statistics mentioned, but the premise was basically that Barcelona controls the ball practically the entire game and they hold their opponents hardly any shots and chances on goal. Real has a weak defense that allows too many shots on goal. This was demonstrated again on Sunday:
Barcelona vs. Almeria:
Barcelona - 17 shots, 7 were on goal. Almeria - 0 shots, 0 on goal. Barcelona controlled the ball for 73% of the game.
Real vs. Sevilla:
Real Madrid - 17 shots, 3 on goal. Sevilla - 24 shots, 10 on goal. Real controlled the ball for 58% of the game.
Ok, of course Sevilla is a tougher opponent than Almeria, but 0 total shots! That is complete domination. Almeria isn't the best team in La Liga, but they are far from the worst. If this was the first time Barcelona had held a team to 0 shots on goal, then it might be more of a statement about how poor Almeria is. But this is the third opponent with 0 shots on goal (Almeria being the first with 0 total shots), so its more of a statement that Barcelona is just that good.
Meanwhile, Real has serious issues. Below are the highlights from the game. Iker Casillas was other worldly. His performance deserves a post of its own. His saves at the 3:05 and 3:23 mark are just phenomenal. Simply amazing. Sadly for Real's defense, he makes incredible saves like that in almost every game. Mainly because Real's defense just stands around and lets opponents roam free in the box. The way in which Marcelo stands around on the first goal (2:09) is a perfect representation of Real's defense right now. Sevilla had so many open men and chances, it was just absurd.
The issue isn't so much that Real Madrid isn't deserving of the #1 spot in the Power Rankings. Those are just arbitrary rankings that don't really mean anything. The issue is that it's the same song and story for Real: Spend lots of money on offense yet forget about your defense. That equates to losing to Barcelona in La Liga and another early round exit in the Champions League.
Brief addendum to the post. In the comments for the previous post about the rankings, Brad thinks that the rankings should be:
3. Real Madrid
4. Man U
5. Man City
Personally, I wouldn't put Real Madrid before Man U or maybe even City. I would struggle putting Real anywhere before where ever Liverpool would fall in the rankings. Liverpool may have lost to Chelsea, but I think they fared a whole lot better than how Madrid would have done against Chelsea. Chelsea can shut down Madrid's offense and their high powered offense could put up 4-5 goals against Real Madrid's terrible defense. I think upcoming matches for Liverpool against Man U and Man City will be interesting. I'm still not impressed with Man U and I think City is still figuring things out. Arsenal is also quietly doing well. I think the only thing for sure is that Barcelona is 1 and Chelsea is 2. After that, its a crapshoot in my opinion.