Spanish 2-1 Real Madrid (Benzema). Here is the immediate reaction to the defeat. Be there: details of press conferences, player ratings and the podcast.
With Barcelona and Atlético Madrid facing each other over the weekend, this match turned out to be a really good chance for Real Madrid to take advantage and widen the points difference at the top. Carlo Ancelotti opted for a midfield with four, with Eduardo Camavinga, Toni Kroos, Fede Valverde and Luka Modrić all starting. David Alaba was chosen to fill the left-back position that many have been thinking about lately, with Nacho Fernández as centre-back. The bench was the oldest in a long time, with only Miguel Gutiérrez and Luis López called up from the reserves. Karim Benzema had the bracelet today. The opposition lined up with just two Castilla graduates on the list – veteran Diego López in goal and Raúl de Tomás up front, posing a real danger in his day.
Looking at the team overview, it wasn’t really clear who would play in which position at the start, but it soon became clear that Alaba would be tasked with getting up on the left and going back – and Lucas Vázquez on the right. In reality, this seemed a bit disconnected and it was the home side who took the lead through that man Raúl de Tomás as he cleared a low ball into the penalty area. Other than a single chance through Benzema, Los Blancos didn’t really cause much of a problem. Espanyol didn’t exactly walk away with the game either, and besides looking dangerous after occasionally regaining possession, both teams contributed to making this a very dull half. Madrid had it all to do in the second half after finishing the first 1-0 deficit.
Camavinga really struggled to figure out how to make himself useful in possession. Wandered too much and didn’t offer consistent balance on the left. It doesn’t help that the overall offensive structure isn’t very defined.
– enemy tactics to destabilize (@OmVAsports) October 3, 2021
The break had little impact on the way the team played, with key players looking as nervous as ever at the ball. Things got really sour when Espanyol doubled their lead over Aleix Vidal. Espanyol took control of the game and would have been further ahead if Lucas Vázquez hadn’t made crucial defensive moves. Madrid then clawed a goal back from a sheer quality moment from Benzema as he rounded half of the defense and cornered the ball accurately from the edge of the penalty area. Benzema almost achieved the miraculous again, but what would have been the equalizing goal was disallowed for offside. The match ended with Espanyol taking the win. Real Madrid currently remain at the top of the table, but their position is now in jeopardy with Sevilla lurking and still to play. What’s your take on the game?