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Madrid disappoint again

SPORTYOU SPORTYOU 14/12/2015 sportyou
El Real Madrid no remató a puerta en la primera mitad © Getty Images El Real Madrid no remató a puerta en la primera mitad

Another big let-down for Real Madrid. The Blancos went down in Villarreal and let slip a good chance to catch up on Barcelona. This was a serious blow to a team that seemed to have got their act together once again after the debacle of the Clásico.

Madrid gave the impression of being outcrowded from the start. Villarreal seemed to own them in many facets of play right from the start, since they went into the game with at least one more gear in their engine. Villarreal played with intensity, order and speed to put the big boys against the ropes. It was no coincidence that Dos Santos should have hit Keylor Navas' right post in the fourth minute or that Soldado should have scored in the eighth or that Bukambu should have been involved in a one-on-one situation in the twenty-sixth.

This was all the result of good work on the part of the hosts, who subjected their guests to a thorough going-over in every department, from attitude to play. Suffice to say, Real Madrid did not have a shot on goal before the break. What was worse about that is that it was no coincidence. With the suspicious 'BBC' trio on the field, the team become something else, above all when their opponents dispute possession with them. Madrid's only option during that period was for Pepe, Ramos or Casemiro to pump long balls up to them, invariably to the advantage of the Villarreal defenders. Is that what Madrid have become? A hoofball team? This dodgy way that Rafa Benítez has of understanding play does not seem the ideal formula for getting results on the field, as was seen in this game.

Madrid did not press, they did not join together, they did not steal the ball, they did not play their way out from the back. And they only stayed alive and in the game because Villarreal managed to get it right just one time against Keylor Navas.

But there was still the second half. There must have been a dressing down or something similar during the break, because Madrid came back out with a very different look and feel to them. They came out looking to dominate and were able to create three clear chances to score in just four minutes. This was a complete change of scenery. Villarreal took refuge in their half riskily, trying to weather out the siege as best they could. Benzema had three absolutely clear chances and Bale had another, while there was no sign of Cristiano Ronaldo, seemingly lost in combat.

Villarreal were unable to shake off Madrid's onslaught, except on a handful of occasions. But they held on for dear life and, despite having several absentees, had just enough to achieve their objective and take all three points from a powerless Real Madrid.

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