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Vinicius reigns in El Clásico as a 'new normal' settles


El Clásico of the new normality - we now accept that Cristiano and Messi are no more - was won by Real Madrid because they are a) more of a finished article and b) because they have Vinicius. Ancelotti went with the same line-up and approach of the away trip to Shakhtar: holding in their own half before unleashing Vini to run at the opposition. Everyone in their place, all working for each other. Barça, however, are still searching. Injured players are getting back, and new players are getting involved, but the team is not yet in tune. Coutinho is back, Kun is back, Dembélé is back, Pedri is back... We will see if little by little Koeman will solve his doubts, which he most definitely still has.

It's all about El Clásico:

El Clásico: where Koeman got it wrong

He certainly didn't get it right putting Ansu Fati on the inside in the first half, perhaps to reduce his running efforts as he still not played much. And leaving Mingueza facing up to Vinicius, who destroyed him, was another error. Barça's insistent but ineffective ball-carrying upfield contrasted with Vinicius's dizzying breaks, which caused plenty of trouble for the defence, which was, in truth, fairly easy to unsettle. This was seen in the two Madrid goals, especially the first, which came from an interception by Alaba who, pulled forward by his sense of being a winger, got free from any marker as he reached the edge of the area, the defenders scattered by the speed of the Vinicius-Rodrygo interplay and the knowledgable movement of Benzema.

Madrid, unlike Barça, have clear plan

Another thing is that Frenkie de Jong does not justify the confidence that Koeman places in him. He plays well at times, gets into the opposition box in some games, but he is not the cog on which to build the wheel. As well as that, another of the manager’s pillars, Memphis, failed him in this clash, not offering much in attack, ignoring Alaba in the build-up to the first goal. For Madrid, everything is much clearer: the starters, the model, the substitutes in each position, even the order in which the changes are made. I don't know how far Madrid will go, but Ancelotti has his ducks in a row. The same cannot be said of Koeman, for whom the slow trickle of returning injured players does not yet allow him to put a stamp on his team.