Barça once again failed to live up to expectations. They have lost both their big games this season, the Champions League defeat in Paris and Saturday night at the Bernabéu.
Once again it was Barça’s defence that looked shaky under pressure and it was three defensive mistakes that gifted Real their goals. Barca has spent the last two summers spending big to add world class strikers, all but ignoring their defense, Once again, in a big game, Barca defensive problems were exposed and ruthlessly punished.
Louis Suarez was impressive in his Barca debut, but what has to worry Barca fans is that Messi was virtually non-existent. Will the introduction of Suarez take something away from Messi?
On the other side, while Real Madrid have not entirely forgotten Xabi Alonso and Di Maria, who have been missed at times this season, but Isco and James’ performances showed that this version might be even better than last season’s European Champions.
What was impressive was that Real won without Bale in the lineup and a relatively quiet game from Ronaldo. Not to say that Ronaldo was poor, but others were better. This time the starring roles fell to Benzema, Isco, James and the two full-backs, within a good overall performance, which included Casillas. He made two huge interventions, one save that stopped Barça from taking a 0-2 lead and the other that prevented an equaliser that would have made it 2-2. The Bernabéu gave him a standing ovation when he was substituted near the end of the match.
In the end, a great victory for Real Madrid in the spring-like weather of the Madrid autumn. A great Clásico in which, in the absence of expected displays from Cristiano and Messi, we had many other things. And a Bernabéu that was happy.