The party has its that. Madrid and Athletic have met 189 times in almost a century, but they never did in the Super Cup, a tournament established 39 years ago to find the champion of champions and that Rubiales has turned into a home run and winter to leave money, less than expected due to the effect of the pandemic and the refusal to return to Arabia. Since its creation, Madrid have won eleven and Athletic, two (one without playing). Had he been born earlier, in the days of the super Athletic cupbearer, the record would say otherwise.
The game has a recent prequel, in mid-December, in Valdebebas, with a white victory (3-1) from which it is difficult to draw consequences: Athletic played an hour and a quarter with one less due to the expulsion of Raúl García (It is a short fuse when Madrid crosses his path, hence his 18 yellow cards against the whites) and because Garitano was on the red-and-white bench that day and today there is Marcelino, launched to Vietnam. His first sequence was Barcelona-Atlético-Madrid, an American track interrupted by the postponement of the Wanda duel.
In its premiere, Marcelino fled the revolution and only changed one footballer (Capa for Berenguer) of the last eleven of Garitano, but he already arranged the team with his header drawing: the 4-4-2. “It is the system that requires less specificity from the players, it facilitates automatisms and if I am losing, I already have two forwards.” That is expected today too, with Raúl García and Williams as apostles of the coach's football bible: stealing and attacking. “I'd rather have my team shoot 20 times on goal than to have 70% of possession and only do it ten.” The kickback manual.
For that plan a crucial player is missing, Yuri Berchiche, who was injured against Barça, but recovers Yeray Álvarez. In its favor is the rest factor, because Madrid brings a beating and a complaint from Pamplona and Athletic just a long plane ride on their frustrated trip to the capital. Against them, that Athletic has not beaten Madrid in their last eleven games and that Marcelino has only succeeded in three attempts out of 16. Curiously, it happened in the first, with Recreativo, and the last, with Valencia. In any case, he has a well-earned reputation as an immediate-effect technician.
In Madrid, which has not been at home for almost a week and has been sworn in to LaLiga, the defensive application no longer gives him to survive. He has not lost nine games, in which he has only conceded three goals, an even better defensive record than the one that led him to LaLiga (four goals in ten games until he was proclaimed champion), but the shortage in the auction already triggers all the alarms: he has remained at zero in four games and only in one he scored four goals , when last year, at this point, had already reached that figure or another four times higher.
Benzema He has not scored three games and that is now dramatic despite the fact that nails his average post Cristiano (0.57 goals per game), because this year Ramos has been absent in seven games and he is not as productive as last year. Athletic, in any case, is the Frenchman's favorite piece, to whom he has scored 13 goals, more than anyone else in Spain. With the departure of Jovic, it is even more Chinese vase.
Carvajal will be missing again and it is normal for Zidane to repeat the El Sadar team, included Hazard, who continues to wait (419 minutes, two goals and a general feeling of discomfort with him). If he plays, it would be his fourth consecutive game, the second longest streak in his stormy career in Madrid. Because it doesn't seem like a compromise for the forgotten on one side (Odegaard, Odriozola…) or the other (Ibai Gómez, Córdoba, Lekue, Kodro…). Although minor, a title is at stake and it matters. Ask Ernesto Valverde, martyr of the Saudi Super Cup.