Real Madrid’s superb recent form continued as they blitzed Eibar 4-0 to regain top spot in La Liga.
The stroll made it five unbeaten in all competitions, with four wins and scorelines of 5-0, 6-0 and 4-0 in three of the last four games.
Eden Hazard is finally showing the form we knew him capable of at Chelsea and he sparked the first move as Karim Benzema supplied the finishing touch when he pounced on a loose ball. Sergio Ramos made it 2-0 from the spot when Hazard bamboozled a defender to win a penalty, with Benzema then doing likewise when Real were given a second spot kick.
The result was never in doubt thereafter and Federico Valverde’s composed finish in the second half sealed three points in the pouring rain.
BENZEMA AND HAZARD SEND OUT A WARNING
The Hazard warning signs had been there, flashing from the start. Eibar didn’t hear the alarm sounding, or else they ignored it.
After a blotchy start to his career in the famous bright white shirt, Hazard is now looking like the brilliant boy in blue during his Chelsea days.
There were glimpses in the midweek 6-0 Champions League garroting of Galatasaray. On Saturday he was superb, and a budding bromance with Benzema should be filling Madridstas with excitement.
After he had earlier scraped the outside of the post, Benzema pounced to put the visitors ahead, finishing a move Hazard had started by releasing him down the left. Luka Modric’s shot deflected off a defender and into the path of the Frenchman who fizzed in a fine finish.
Three minutes later it was 2-0 and Real were roaring in the rain, thanks once more to the brilliant Belgian, who bewitched Pablo de Blasis, his trailing leg bringing Hazard down after he’d danced by.
Ramos stepped up and coolly slotted into the bottom left corner. Los Blancos were slotting back in at the top of La Liga, at least temporarily.
Benzema had his second and fifth in four games as Real won a second penalty, this time Lucas Vazquez on the opposite flank too quick for the full-back and the Frenchman dispatched it into the same corner Marko Dmitrovic had been beaten nine minutes earlier.
Heavy rain was beating down in the Basque region. Benzema and Hazard are making a splash. And the Belgian is ready for his Real reign to finally begin.
FROM PARIS WITH LOVE
On September 9, the end of the second Zinedine Zidane era looked near following Real’s 3-0 pulverising by Paris Saint-Germain. The opening result of the 2019/20 Champions League campaign was ominous and came days after throwing away a 3-0 lead over Levante to grimly hang on to a 3-2 victory and back to back league draws with Real Valladolid and Villarreal.
Fast forward to November 9 and Real have lost once in their ensuing 10 games, including four wins in their last five, 16 goals for and none against.
Yes, there remain a few creases to iron out, but Real are finally rolling. And unlike other big clubs across Europe who might be spluttering into life, Real’s squad is exceptional.
Benzema is only getting better now that he is unburdened following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure. Big summer signing Hazard is getting into his groove and they are blessed with class all over the pitch. On a sodden Saturday night in Eibar, Modric glided about the pitch like a prized yacht, while a much-maligned defence collected a fifth consecutive clean sheet since a 1-0 defeat at Mallorca.
A routine victory was achieved with Vazquez replacing midweek hero Rodrygo, kept wrapped up in the warmth of the bench, while Vinicius Junior did get to splash around in the second half.
Zidane could also afford to leave Toni Kroos in reserve too, while the injured Gareth Bale wasn’t even in the squad.
It looks like the real Madrid might have finally arrived. Barcelona beware.
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