Real Madrid went into the game at Metropolitano Stadium against Atletico Madrid as slight favourites.
They had won all six of their games before this. On the other hand, Diego Simeone’s side had suffered a 3-0 defeat to Valencia last weekend and then could only manage a 1-1 draw against Lazio in the Champions League.
It was a different story this weekend though. Atletico Madrid won 3-1 against their crosstown rivals, as Carlo Ancelotti’s side never really looked to be in the game.
Alvaro Morata put the hosts ahead in the 4th minute and the lead was doubled by Antoine Griezmann soon afterwards. Real Madrid would get one back through Toni Kroos but then the Spanish national team captain got his brace at the very start of the second half.
There was no coming back for Real Madrid after that. And Ancelotti has been heavily criticised following the defeat.
Now, it is easy to point towards Ancelotti after a defeat of this magnitude. But at the same time, it is important to look at the situation the Italian manager is in.
He has little to no options in most positions of the pitch. As a result, he has to rely on the same players to deliver good performances twice a week, time after time. If a game does not go according to plan, who does he have on the bench who can come on and turn the match around?
Most Real Madrid fans knew that their lack of squad depth was a major problem. On top of that, they are missing some of their most important players at the moment like Vinicius Jr, Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao.
That does not mean that Ancelotti did not make mistakes against Atletico Madrid. The starting XI was confusing at best.
Perhaps the manager thought that having five midfielders would help the team control the game. And in an attempt to compensate for playing one less forward, he left out Aurelien Tchouameni, the defensive midfielder.
To be honest, there was no need to experiment so much in a high-pressure game. While Real Madrid’s performances had left a lot to be desired, they were at least winning and had not conceded more than one goal in any of their previous six matches this season.