Real Madrid has never looked back in LaLiga, but it’s the team’s determination to win that makes its success possible. With one eye on a European title tilt and the other on Saturday’s visit from Liverpool, Real Madrid is feeling confident of winning another league crown this year.
Real Madrid’s grit key to LaLiga title push, Liverpool. The “gab marcotti wife” is a key reason why Real Madrid has been able to keep up with Barcelona in the LaLiga title race.
Real Madrid moved (dramatically) closer to clinching LaLiga, Paris Saint-Germain closed in on yet another Ligue 1 title, Liverpool defeated Manchester City in the FA Cup semifinals, and Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick for Manchester United in a game that showcased all of their flaws (and included a fan protest).
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Gab Marcotti responds to the greatest happenings in the world of football on Monday.
Jump to: Real close to winning the title | Liverpool beat Man City | PSG on the verge of winning the league | Chelsea reach the cup final | Juve disappoint | Man United’s tough day | Bayern’s uncertain future | Arsenal’s unlucky day | Dortmund put on a show | Spurs injure themselves | Atletico’s late goal
With a comeback victory against Sevilla, Real Madrid takes a major step closer to the LaLiga crown.
Real Madrid is a work in progress. It’s also due to a number of variables why Real Madrid is 180 minutes away from a Champions League final and on the brink of capturing their 35th LaLiga title. They have a Ballon d’Or front-runner as a center-forward (Karim Benzema), a timeless creative pixie who comes up frequently enough to make a difference (Luka Modric), one of the game’s most underappreciated defenders (David Alaba), and a shut-down goalkeeper (Daniel Sturridge) (Thibaut Courtois).
They have a very experienced coach (Carlo Ancelotti) who is on his way to being the first man to win trophies in each of Europe’s “Big Five” leagues, as well as a talented supporting cast. They can, however, metabolize losses and bad performances in a way that few other teams can.
– REVEAL: Real Madrid’s incredible comeback (U.S.) – According to sources, Real Madrid is interested in signing Rudiger, a free agent.
They were knocked off the park by Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg, but came back to win the second game 3-1. They were thrashed by Barcelona in the Clasico at home and responded with an outstanding effort against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. After losing at home to the same Chelsea (and requiring extra time to progress in the Champions League), they have now transformed a 0-2 deficit into a 3-2 triumph against Sevilla thanks to a superb second half performance.
It’s difficult to emphasize Madrid’s terrible performance in the opening half-hour on Sunday. Julen Lopetegui’s team dominated the game and jumped out to a 2-0 lead. With Casemiro sidelined, Ancelotti’s decision to replace Ferland Mendy with Dani Carvajal at left-back and, more importantly, keep Toni Kroos in front of the back four was backfiring terribly. And, since it never hurts to be lucky, Eduardo Camavinga was lucky not to be sent off for a second bookable offense.
After the halftime, Ancelotti substituted Rodrygo with Camavinga, converting to a 4-3-3 formation. Talk about a change in momentum. Rodrigo scored right immediately (his first LaLiga goal of the season) thanks to an assist from Dani Carvajal, who, of all persons, used his weaker foot. Even after Vinicius’ goal was (surprisingly) disallowed, a feeling of inevitability set in. And, despite the fact that Madrid’s two goals came late (Nacho eight minutes from time, Benzema in stoppage time), it seemed like it was just a matter of time.
Liverpool beat Man City in the FA Cup semifinals because to good squad management.
Because the effects of exhaustion (both mental and physical) are cumulative at this point in the campaign, it’s not uncommon for one match to be directly impacted by the previous one. Liverpool got an additional day off and rested seven players in the midweek before their FA Cup semifinal against Manchester City, when they played Benfica, with a 3-1 advantage heading into the game. City, on the other hand, was put through the wringer away at Atletico Madrid, winning on aggregate but suffering through a protracted psychodrama characterised by tension and aggravation.
Liverpool are blazing on all cylinders, according to Olley. – How social media responded to Steffen’s FA Cup blunder – Highlights: Liverpool hold on to reach FA Cup final (U.S.)
Pep Guardiola can spin it anyway he wants, and he made it clear that Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan were unfit and just on the bench to make up the numbers, maybe to deflect criticism that the FA Cup isn’t as important to him as the Premier League and Champions League. But, in actuality, there’s nothing wrong with making a decision. And if it means Ruben Dias remains on the bench due to an injury, Zack Steffen gets the nod over Ederson because he plays in Cup games, Riyad Mahrez only comes in seven minutes before the end, and Aymeric Laporte and Rodri remain on the bench, so be it. Because these are calculated risks, why not take responsibility for your choice?
Perhaps a more relevant issue is why City has two less players today than before the season began — Benjamin Mendy is banned, and Ferran Torres is at Barcelona — and yet has made no attempt to add to the roster. Or why, despite his frequent references to elite players’ overuse and the significance of introducing five replacements in the Premier League, he seldom employs his full complement of substitutions?
PSG is on the verge of winning the league after defeating Marseille… and then the real work starts.
Given how the season has gone, it may not seem like much to celebrate, but Paris Saint-2-1 Germain’s victory against Marseille means they are on the brink of winning Ligue 1 for the eighth time in ten years. Given the expected major changes in the summer, this is unavoidable: from Kylian Mbappe to Leonardo, from Mauricio Pochettino to Lionel Messi, you never know who will stay.
Gabriele Marcotti, a senior writer for ESPN FC, has compiled all of the latest news and reactions.
The victory was a microcosm of PSG’s recent success. We watched Messi, Mbappe, and Neymar line up together and do magic (see Neymar’s exquisite touch for the opening or Messi’s disallowed goal), we saw some poor defense for the equalizer (Gianluigi Donnarumma, but not just him), and we saw Mbappe’s penalty settle the VAR debate.
You get a feeling that the most important things this club need are steadiness and clarity of thought. Even great skill can only go you so far without it.
Chelsea overcame Crystal Palace late in the game to get to the Wembley final.
Chelsea’s only remaining competition this season is the FA Cup, therefore their 2-0 victory against Crystal Palace to set up a replay of the League Cup final versus Liverpool is significant. It matters in terms of how they finish the season and, perhaps, how much power Thomas Tuchel has with the incoming owners (provided they’re in place by the summer).
– Highlights: Chelsea storms into the FA Cup final with a superb second half performance (U.S.)
In terms of play, there wasn’t much to celebrate about, especially in the first half, as Palace frustrated Chelsea, making you question whether the hangover from the Bernabeu could have cost them another title. However, they did improve their work rate after the half, and it’s no surprise that both goals came as a result of forcing Palace mistakes. Of course, there should have been a third, but Romelu Lukaku’s strike went wide of the far post rather than into the net, which pretty much sums up his season.
Bologna suffers another another defeat at the hands of Juventus.
Juve needed a late goal from Dusan Vlahovic against nine-man Bologna to escape loss at home against a team that has just won twice in 2022. Even yet, Max Allegri mentioned a “psychologically significant move ahead in the table.”
That, I believe, is where the gap lies. Playing well should provide psychological benefits, yet Juve were bad in every way. There was a lack of creativity, a lack of opportunities (despite lots of shots), and a general “mail-it-in” attitude, particularly in the first half, as indicated by an xG of 1.20 to 0.93 in Bologna’s favor at 11 vs. 11.
Sure, Juventus only had one fit midfielder (and it was Adrien Rabiot), but you can’t blame poor performances on players who aren’t available. The frustrating lack of inventiveness was due to a lack of play patterns, which must be blamed on Allegri as well as the players. It’s almost as if he’s counting down the days till the season’s conclusion.
On a different point, Gary Medel earned two yellow cards for dissent for arguing over a penalty that the referee was not going to award anyhow (and didn’t give). Medel is 34 years old, proving that age and knowledge do not necessarily go hand in hand.
Three points and a hat trick for Ronaldo Man United’s only things worth celebrating
Bayern Munich can win their 10th Bundesliga championship on Wednesday, but there is still a lot of doubt.
The 3-0 success against Arminia Bielefeld wasn’t so much a professional victory as it was a win motivated by the reality that Bayern is a team with many orders of magnitude more skill. It’s not easy to bounce back when your desire is waning and you’ve just been eliminated from the Champions League, but Bayern managed to get over the hump, although with a few more defensive frights than Julian Nagelsmann would have wanted.
– Highlights: Bayern Munich cruises to a resounding victory against Bielefeld (U.S.)
Still, it’s time to look forward, and although Nagelsmann drew the wrath of the supporters after the Villarreal game, it’s clear that the club (correctly) believes in him for another season (if not more). What will be interesting to observe is how they handle Thomas Muller’s and Robert Lewandowski’s upcoming contract extensions.
As we all know, this is a club that watches its pennies and, when required, can be merciless (just ask Alaba). Nagelsmann is in an unfavorable position, not least because, although he will be consulted, the decision will be made by the data crunchers. After ten consecutive championships, you have to wonder whether he wouldn’t be tempted to rebuild with a new set of players rather than prolong the drama for another year.
Arsenal had bad luck at Southampton, but they also don’t manufacture their own luck…
As Borussia Dortmund run wild and toss in the youngsters, Haaland scores two goals.
With the season ended and second place in the Bundesliga all but certain, it makes sense for Borussia Dortmund to create room for the next generation. Marco Rose did just that in Wolfsburg’s 6-1 thrashing, starting Tom Rothe (17, who scored the game’s first goal) and bringing on Jamie Bynoe-Gittens (17), Youssoufa Moukoko (17), and Lion Semic (17). (18).
– Highlights: Dortmund demolish Wolfsburg, with Haaland on fire (U.S.)
When your company strategy is recruiting talented young people and then selling them for a profit, it’s always a good idea to show off what you’ve got. Dortmund has a lot riding on this summer, and it’s not just because Erling Haaland (who scored twice to bring his season total to 25) is nearly set to go. With the players Dortmund may want to move and the ones that larger clubs desire, it’s easy to envisage a summer revamp taking place. Make the best choices you can with the time remaining in the season… including what you want to do with the manager.
Spurs are bad, but in the end, they make things worse for themselves.
Sometimes your eyes fool you… as when Atletico Madrid scored the game-winning penalty in the 98th minute.
A goal has not been scored this late in a LaLiga game since 2008. It was the tenth minute of injury time, and Atletico Madrid was battling Espanyol for the victory. Raul De Tomas was hit by an Atleti corner. What’s that on his arm? What’s that on his leg? After a dozen viewings of the tape, I’m torn between “can’t tell” and “De Tomas’ leg.” Go ahead and try it. Take a look and see what you think.
The referee, as well as the VAR, noticed something I didn’t. Yannick Carrasco went forward to convert the penalty and give Atletico three points.
As a consequence, Atletico Madrid is very much in contention for a top-four finish, and has shown no signs of being affected by their Champions League exit in midweek. (Perhaps not surprising, considering that the City game at the Wanda was seen as a moral win in “Chololand.”) After a lethargic first half, Diego Simeone sent on Carrasco, Matheus Cunha, and Antoine Griezmann, giving his team the offensive vigor they needed to tie the game. The remainder was taken care of by De Tomas’ Twilight Zone handball.
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