Arbeloa was and probably is a good defender. Before the match against Galatasaray he was always known as a good defender. Just good. Not brilliant or highly athletic.
That was the main problem why he was always considered as a player who would not win you matches but just be there to hold things in shape.
That obviously changed in the Galatasaray match. What did Arbeloa do? What did he change in his game? Obviously it could not have been a drastic change such as his speed or strength or even shooting technique.
It was one simple thing. Attitude. The attitude he brought to that game was totally different from the one he brought in almost every match he had played since turning professional.
Usually when he received the ball on the wings, he would do down the wings a little bit. When he got confronted by a defender of the opposing team, his first reaction was to pull the ball back and pass it to one of the center backs or even to the goal keeper.
In Galatasaray match, he did not do any of that. He took on the defenders. He tried to cut, he tried to take advanced positions on the field even when Real Madrid were one man down. That, I think, caught Galatasaray off guard who could not have possibly planned for a player to completely change his look on the game overnight.
That is the reason why Arbeloa was involved in 2 goals and could have gotten himself a hat trick.
All because of one simple decision. His technique remained the same, his speed did not change and neither did his strength on the ball. He was more adventurous (and teams like Bayern Munich might be able to punish Real Madrid for that) and hence got more reward.
Be more attack minded and take more risks. That’s how you get transformed from the old Arbeloa to the new Arbeloa
(Photo By Jan Solo)