Ancelotti is overworking his main men
Ancelotti has his sixteenth consecutive victory, putting him above Muñoz and Mourinho. But straight away it should be said that the win came from a Madrid performance that was hardly stellar and that leaves a series of doubts. Málaga, with some major players missing (particularly Camacho, who normally runs the show) were never out of the game. Madrid showed signs of fatigue, especially in the midfield, and Ancelotti’s refusal to use Illarramendi gives the impression the Italian doesn’t believe in him. Between that and the fact Khedira has his head in the clouds, Modric’s injury, a major blow in itself, takes on excessive importance. Madrid won, but they never controlled the game.
And on the other hand, the game was terribly refereed. It started when the assistant referee overseeing the Madrid attacking line missed two clear offsides and continued with the referee's blindness to the pulling in the box. Benzema put Madrid ahead after resoundingly roughhousing Weligton. Equally, Madrid could complain that in the first half Cristiano and Sergio Ramos were held back when going for clear headers from corners. And Málaga could reply with a pull from Sergio Ramos on Santa Cruz in the other box. And on top of that there were a whole string of errors and the expulsion of Isco for a second yellow that never was.
Isco went off to an ovation. A visiting player, sent off, receiving an ovation. Something we’ve never seen before, but he’s from Málaga and the city are proud of his status as a national idol. And it was also an original way of pointing out that the referee had been a disaster. Málaga lost their first match at home in this League, but they can take some consolation from their decent football and the narrow scoreline, with Santa Cruz pulling one back at the end. Madrid take the points, but should also be a little worried. It’s the same players featuring all the time and that’s beginning to show. Some of them yesterday reminded me of the disappointments of the year under Queiroz.