Ronaldo rediscovers La Liga form for Real Madrid in 5-2 win over Sociedad

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Real Madrid cruised to a 5-2 win over Real Sociedad in a La Liga clash at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday night.

Cristiano Ronaldo led the goal-scoring with a hat-trick after Lucas Vasquez made the breakthrough inside the first minute while Toni Kroos curled one in from outside the area as well.

Here, we look at three things we learned from the encounter.

RONALDO REDISCOVERS LA LIGA FORM

Despite his poor showing at Levante, Ronaldo appears to be regaining some form in the league. A treble against Sociedad means he’s now scored 15 La Liga goals against them at the Bernabeu itself, more than he has against any other opposition,

His hat-trick was also his third goal-scoring return in the last four league outings, accounting for 39% of his tally in Spain’s top flight this season.

The Portuguese now also holds the distinction of leading the league’s goal-scoring charts for the second half of the season with seven to his name, confirming his resurgence in the division.

Against Sociedad though, it wasn’t just his goal-scoring that impressed. He set up Lucas Vasquez for the opener and should’ve had another assist when Karim Benzema’s effort was deflected wide.

He also hit the post on one occasion and his movement was devastating. He’s starting to look at his sharpest again.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

INTENSITY IS KEY FOR REAL MADRID

With the hosts opening the scoring inside the first minute, the fact that they began the game like a house on fire is a fairly easy conclusion to draw but it’s also a significant one.

Too often this season have Madrid started games slowly or taken their foot off the gas too soon. On this occasion, they maintained the tempo, launching wave after wave of attacks despite the early breakthrough.

The players seemed up for the clash and were relentless in the first half. Having already scored four before half-time, naturally things settled in the second period, especially as Zinedine Zidane began to make changes with the Champions League tie against Paris Saint-Germain in midweek in mind.

But the job was done by then and perhaps a similar approach throughout the campaign would’ve seen them in a far better position at this stage.

Lucas Vazquez

Lucas Vazquez

FORMATION DILEMMA FOR ZIDANE

The 4-4-2 formation that has worked wonders for Real Madrid on occasion in the past and was revived to great effect against Sociedad.

The movement and intelligence of the personnel is what makes the system work although on paper, it may seem a little rigid.

Marco Asensio regularly stepped up and made it a front three in attack or dropped in behind Ronaldo and Karim Benzema with Vasquez pushing forward.

The problem however arises at the other end of the pitch and that’s where their concerns will lie when they face PSG.

Luka Modric and Kroos on their own make for a soft centre. With the full-backs overlapping, there’s also a lot of pressure on the centre-backs to read danger early and be on top of things. Raphael Varane in particular has looked suspect all season.

Sociedad got in way too easily to score their first with the Frenchman and Dani Carvajal behind caught out of position.

The system may be potent in an attacking sense but certainly leaves Madrid vulnerable at the back.

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane

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Real Madrid player ratings as hat-trick hero Cristiano Ronaldo gets a 9 in 5-2 win over Real Sociedad

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Real Madrid demolished Real Sociedad 5-2 in a La Liga clash on Saturday night.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick after Lucas Vasquez opened the scoring inside the first minute while Toni Kroos also got on the score sheet.

Here, we rate the Madrid players on their performance at the Bernabeu.

RATINGS

Keylor Navas – Didn’t have a save to make but some lax defending saw him concede twice. 5

Dani Carvajal – Was caught out of position for Sociedad’s first which tarnished an otherwise good performance. 6

Sergio Ramos – Was itching to get involved in attack and did make a few inroads but there was plenty to sort out at the back which he didn’t do. 6

Raphael Varane – Suspect again. Must shoulder some of the blame for both goals conceded. Dwells on the ball for too long and keeps getting caught out of position. 5

Marcelo – Great assist for Ronaldo’s second with a vintage Marcelo overlap and drilled cut-back. Made three key passes from his full-back role. 7

Lucas Vasquez – Provided genuine width and showed great industry down the right. Did well to score the early goal and created plenty for his team-mates as well. 7

Luka Modric – A rare subdued performance from the Croatian. Tried to drive forward but seemed stifled by the system with only Kroos alongside him in the middle. 6

Toni Kroos – A trademark sublime finish from outside the area to get on the score sheet. Dictated Real’s build-up play expertly with his near-perfect passing and also made a few fine tackles. 8

Marco Asensio – His direct running and movement provided the drive that ensured Madrid maintained a high tempo after the early breakthrough. 7

Cristiano Ronaldo – Starting to look like himself in La Liga. Scored a hat-trick but could’ve had more. Showed good movement for his first and took full advantage of a mismatch from the corner to score his second before rounding the keeper for his third. Also set up the opener with some great wing-play, a throwback to his younger days. 9

Karim Benzema – How did he not score? He had couple of great chances, hitting the post from Marcelo’s pass and then having his effort from Ronaldo’s cut-back deflected wide. Skying Bale’s ball across from close range summed up his night. 5

SUBSTITUTES

Isco – Didn’t make an impact after his introduction in the second half. 5

Mateo Kovacic – Tried a couple of eye of the needle passes that didn’t really come off. 5

Gareth Bale – Proved to be a real threat in the closing stages and should’ve had an assist. 6

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Real Madrid v Real Sociedad: Cristiano Ronaldo's form against Basque side and other key stats

David Cooper 10/02/2018
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Before Real Madrid take on Paris Saint-Germain in a Champions League round of 16 tie, they face Real Sociedad on Saturday.

Zinedine Zidane will have to find a balance between resting players ahead of the midweek game and ensuring that they don’t lose further ground in La Liga.

The title may already be out of reach with Barcelona 19 points ahead but if Los Blancos don’t get their act together may not even secure a Champions League spot for next season.

Here, we look at the key stats ahead of the encounter including Cristiano Ronaldo‘s stunning form against the Basque side.

– Real Madrid have only lost one of their last 21 La Liga games against Real Sociedad (W17 D3) and it was away from home (4-2 at Anoeta in August 2014).

– At home, the Whites are unbeaten in their last 10 games against Real Sociedad in La Liga (W9 D1), their last defeat against them at Bernabeu was in May 2004 (1-4).

– In that game, Xabi Prieto found the net for the first time ever in La Liga (two goals). He has scored more goals against Real Madrid than he has versus any other side in the Spanish top-flight (nine).

– Real Madrid have only won two of their last six La Liga games (D2 L2), conceding goals in all six matches (10 goals conceded in total).

– Real Sociedad are winless in their last six La Liga away games (D2 L4) – the last time they went seven in a row without an away win was in March 2015 (13).

– Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in each of his six league games against Real Sociedad at Santiago Bernabeu (12 goals in total). Only against Sevilla and Getafe (13 apiece) has he scored more home goals in La Liga.

– Gareth Bale has been directly involved in nine goals in his eight La Liga games against Real Sociedad (six goals and three assists).

– Sergio Ramos is the only La Liga defender to have scored in 14 consecutive seasons.
65% of Sergio Ramos’ goals for Real Madrid in all competitions have been headers (46 from 70).
64% of Toni Kroos’ assists for the Whites in all competitions have ended in headed goals (29 out of 45).

– William Jose has scored the opening goal of the game more times in La Liga this season than any other player (seven).

Statistics provided by Opta

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