Real Madrid got back into winning ways with a much-needed 2-0 victory over Roma to effectively secure top spot.
How did the players rate?
Olsen 6. A shocking kick out helped gift the opener to Bale, but he made a few decent stops to prevent a heavier loss.
Florenzi 6. Attempted to set a captain’s example with some determined attacking play, but struggled defensively at times.
Manolas 6. Attempted to hold together the back line for the hosts and was concise and constructive in possession.
Fazio 4. An inexplicable back header straight to Bale handed Real the opener, and he was regularly troubled by Benzema’s movement.
Kolarov 5. Fizzed a long-range bomb inches wide and was classy in possession, but found it hard to contain Vazquez’s directness.
Nzonzi 4. Played conservatively, lacking his usual powerful impact before being replaced, clearly disgruntled, midway through the second half.
Cristante 6. The most active of Roma’s midfielders, getting on the ball and threatening to unlock the visiting defence.
Under 5. Showed some skill down the right and delivered good set pieces, but guilty of the miss of the season to derail Roma.
What a shocking miss from Cengiz Ünder to potentially put Roma up 1-0 on Real Madrid before the HT whistle 🤯 pic.twitter.com/5Yi8KBmQEq— DMV Soccer (@DMVSoccer96) November 27, 2018
Zaniolo 5. Largely passed by as Roma sought to attack down the flanks, but did neatly tee up Under’s shocking miss.
El Sharaawy 6. Made a few sharp early bursts down the left before being forced off by injury midway through the first half.
Schick 5. Replaced Edin Dzeko but lacked his presence. Scuffed a decent chance straight at Courtois and had another effort blocked.
Kluivert 5. Had a good chance almost immediately after being introduced but blazed it too high. Failed to catch the eye.
Coric 5. Came on for Nzonzi but failed to improve Roma in the centre of the pitch, struggling to assert himself.
Karsdorp 5. Entered the fray midway through the second half but was practically anonymous, offering very little.
REAL MADRID 4-3-3
Courtois 6. Made a decent low stop from Kluivert’s second half driven effort, and was otherwise well protected by his defence.
Carvajal 7. Made a heroic block to deny a certain goal and was generally strong, but lucky to escape conceding after a sloppy error.
Varane 7. A key early clearance inside the box precluded a solid performance, much improved from his recent form.
Ramos 7. Defended with determination and rigour, anticipating Roma’s attacks well and diverting several crosses.
Marcelo 6. Caught out of position a few times but always looking to contribute coming forward…pretty much standard.
Modric 6. Struggled in the first half when Roma were on top, but bossed the game after Madrid took over in the second period.
Llorente 6. Introduced to add some bite into midfield and fulfilled his task well enough, but needs more confidence on the ball.
Kroos 6. A so-so performance from a player who clearly possesses class but looks to be going through the motions at times.
Vazquez 7. Surprise selection on the right wing and provided a spark, popping up inside the box for a simple finish for the second goal.
Benzema 7. Some nice approach play and was unselfish to tee up Vazquez for an easy finish rather than going for goal himself.
Bale 7. Took the opener well and nearly scored again just after. Also delivered the cross for Vazquez’s goal.
Mariano 5. Replaced Vazquez for the final 15 minutes but barely had any chance to shine, kept very quiet.
Valverde 6. Given a rare outing in the centre of midfield to rest Modric and he looked accomplished enough.
Asensio 7. Came on for Bale inside the final ten minutes and enjoyed the wide open spaces left by Roma, regularly threatening.
Perhaps Santiago Solari should have stayed interim manager.
In his first game in charge of Real Madrid since being named the permanent manager of the club, Solari saw his side slump to a 3-0 defeat to Eibar. That’s the second time Los Blancos have been beaten 3-0 on the road, following their loss to Sevilla earlier in the season, and of course there was also the 5-1 reverse to Barcelona. It certainly hasn’t been happy travels for this Madrid side.
The result means Solari’s start, becoming the first manager to win his first four games for Real Madrid, is already irrelevant. The crisis he had eased with that run of victories is back.
And Solari himself has questions to answer.
Why does he not start Isco? The Spanish playmaker has suffered a drop in form at times this season, sandwiched around his appendicitis-induced layoff, but he almost always looks like Madrid’s best player, the most likely one to make anything happened.
Is it time to break up the Luka Modric–Toni Kroos axis? That midfield duo had seen a mini-revival over the previous four games, but they can often look slow and outmatched, especially without Casemiro, as they were on Saturday.
Who does he target up front? Karim Benzema keeps getting praise from various quarters, but his powers are waning. Gareth Bale started the season on a tear, looking ready to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, but has since fallen off. And Marco Asensio doesn’t even have the benefit of early-season form to make his case.
7 - Karim Benzema has caught offside seven times against Eibar, his highest in a single LaLiga game for Real Madrid. Novelty. pic.twitter.com/gItvwJZ5G7— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 24, 2018
Vinicius Junior, who came on as a substitute on Saturday – though by that time the game was already gone – deserves a chance to start and show what he can do when more responsibility is thrust upon him.
Likewise, until the transfer window opens in January and reinforcements can be brought in, perhaps it’s time to turn to Lucas Vazquez, who is less talented than Asensio or Isco but usually puts in performances filled with desire and determination – qualities that seem to have gone missing from this Madrid side.
Is it time to drop Sergio Ramos? The Madrid captain continues to earn accolades as one of the best centre-backs around, but his defending has bordered on the reckless this season. Trying too much to be a Franz Beckenbauer-like conductor of Madrid’s attack, he instead gets caught out of position and leaves the rest of his defence to pick up the pieces.
And, big transfer fee or not, Thibaut Courtois has not been up to scratch in goal. The defence isn’t helping, but Courtois’ own form has tanked. Luckily for Madrid, they have a backup goalkeeper good enough to start for most sides in the world in Keylor Navas.
Some tough matches for Thibaut Courtois since joining Real Madrid. pic.twitter.com/rXTSbZ2E70— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 24, 2018
Solari has decisions to make regarding his squad over the next month. Now that he’s no longer interim manager, he can afford to be ruthless – and he may have to be if his spell as permanent manager is to last long enough for the former Madrid player to have an impact.
A defensive injury crisis means for now, Ramos’ position is safe, though Courtois may not be. Further up the pitch, hard calls need to be taken. Modric – Ballon d’Or favourite though he might be – and Kroos aren’t playing at the all-conquering level of two years ago.
Dropping them might provoke a response from the players themselves, while Solari can see what Dani Ceballos – who himself admittedly had a poor outing on Saturday – and Marcos Llorente are capable of given a longer run in the side.
And something has to change up front. Vinicius clearly did enough to impress Solari during their time together for Madrid’s Castilla side, because the young Brazilian is getting more chances with the first team than he did under previous manager Julen Lopetegui.
With Asensio, Benzema, and Bale all misfiring, the front three is in dire need of rejuvenation. A starting berth for Vinicius, and a recall for Isco, are in order.
One thing is for certain. Despite making the best start ever for a Madrid manager, Solari’s honeymoon period is over. Saturday was a rude awakening – now it’s time to see how the manager reacts.
Hola Madridistas. And welcome to Tuesday’s Real Madrid blog.
The Sport360 team will be here throughout the day, bringing you the latest Los Blancos news, views and gossip.
13:00 pm – Matchday at Rome!
08:30 am – Madrid can go for Neymar in the summer
Rumours linking Neymar to Real Madrid never seem to cease. With PSG putting a €200 million price tag on the Brazilian, a move to Los Blancos next summer cannot be ruled out.
Click here to read more.
08:00 am – Solari upbeat
Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari is confident his side will rise to the occasion once again when they return to Champions League action in the wake of their latest La Liga setback against Eibar.
Real travel to face Eusebio Di Francesco’s Roma – who like Real, are suffering domestic trouble.
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