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October 20, 2022

Elche 0-3 Real Madrid | Player Ratings

Real Madrid put up a show of their abilities against Elche as goals from Fede Valverde, Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio steered Los Blancos to grab the 3 points from Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero.

Here are the Real Madrid player ratings from the match:

Andriy Lunin — 8: Was sound in front of the goal. Made 3 crucial saves throughout the game. Good with his claims but most of the times left unthreatened by Elche.

Dani Carvajal —8: The Spaniard continues his stellar run from right-back. Combined well with Valverde and Rodrygo to unlock the Elche defence several times from the right. He could have been entitled an assist for the third goal which was ruled out for offside.

Eder Militao —8.5: A colossal presence in defence. Used his strength and stature correctly to neutralise any imminent threats from Elche attackers.

Antonio Rudiger —7: Got a cheap yellow card for creating an unnecessary disturbance inside the box during a corner at the end. His recovery has gone well and he showed that by winning aerial duels as well as helping the team build from the back.

David Alaba —8: Played in his natural position as a left-back and gave a considerable attacking edge to Real Madrid’s gameplay. Could have gotten his name on the score list but his goal was ruled out following an offside from Benzema who was involved in the gameplay.

Fede Valverde —8.5: The Uruguayan continues his goalscoring run as he scored the opener from a volley outside the box. His work-rate helped him cover ground both in the right and in midfield.

Luka Modric —7: Contributed to connecting passes and unlocking the opposition throughout his time during the game. Was subbed off in the 62nd minute.

Toni Kroos —7: Was involved in defensive gameplay most of the time and he fared well. Like always, synced well with everyone to give Elche a hard time.

Rodrygo —9: Another stupendous performance from the Brazilian who is improving day-by-day this season. Made two assists during the game — one was from Benzema’s goal in which he fed the ball to the Frenchman with a back heel and the second for Asensio’s goal as he threw in a precisive cross from the left.

Vinicius Jr —7: Gave Elche defenders a hard time with his menacing forward runs. Attracted a few fouls but couldn’t get himself involved in a goal after some wonderful displays.

Karim Benzema —8: Got two goals cancelled out for offside on the night by fine margins. Instead of getting disappointed, Benzema enjoyed the game with his exemplary passing and found the net after combining with Rodrygo. Ballon d’Or winner for a reason.

Substitutes

Aurelien Tchouameni —5: Since coming on from the bench, he kept the Elche attackers at bay. His passing game looked improved, just like the team.

Marco Asensio —7: Made an immediate impact after coming on by scoring a goal. Made a few attempts towards the end which ended in corners.

Eduardo Camavinga —5: Attracted a few fouls to keep the momentum flowing for Real Madrid.

Lucas Vasquez and Nacho came on late and couldn’t make a significant impact on the game.

October 16, 2022

Match Report: Real Madrid 3-1 Barcelona

It was the hosts, Real Madrid who found success in this season’s first El Clasico and kept their unbeaten record intact in all competitions. Goals from Ballon D’Or favorite Karim Benzema, Fede Valverde and Rodrygo helped the hosts cruise through the derby while handing Barcelona their first defeat of the season in the league. With this win, Real Madrid have regained the top spot in the LaLiga standings and are now 3 points clear of their Catalan rivals who shifted to 2nd place after coming short at Madrid.

Real Madrid drew first blood in the game as talismanic forward Karim Benzema opened the scoring for Los Blancos in the 12th minute. Toni Kroos unleashed a wonderful through ball for Vinicius to chase who picked and set up a 1v1 situation with Ter Stegen, Vini’s shot was saved by the German goalkeeper but Karim Benzema was on point to smash the ball home from the rebound.

The 35-times LaLiga champions further strengthened their lead in the 35th minute with a tremendous out-of-the-box effort from Fede Valverde. Vini released Ferland Mendy who drove through an unsettled Barca defence and rounded the ball off to Valverde before the Uruguayan smashed it into the goal with a powerful long-range strike.

It was a cautious start for both the teams in the second half as the midfield battle was crucial for either team coming towards goal. A lack of urgency was also noted from the trailers, Barcelona who were clearly showing fatigue after their 3-3 draw with Inter in the Champions League.

It was the substitute Ferran Torres who showed a ray of hope to Blaugrana supporters after scoring Barca’s first from a well-worked move from the Catalan outfit. In spite of a challenge from Valverde on the right side, Ansu Fati drove through uncovered space in the final thirds before sending a low cross for Lewandowski, who flicked it on for Ferran Torres at the far post and the Spaniard thumped the ball home from close range past a diving Andriy Lunin.

The Bernabeu went a little shocked with fears of a Barca comeback on the cards but the hopes of the Blaugrana were shut after Eric Garcia stepped on Rodrygo’s foot inside the box for a clear penalty in the 90+1st minute. After a brief on-field review, referee Hernandez Hernandez pointed to the spot and 21-year-old Rodrygo kept his cool to send the ball in the right corner past a diving Ter Stegen.

Real Madrid next faces Elche at the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero on Wednesday.

October 15, 2022

La Liga Preview | Real Madrid vs. Barcelona

One of the most awaited fixtures around the world, El Clasico is set to be played at the Santiago Bernabeu this Sunday evening.

Both Real Madrid and Barcelona have made an unbeaten start to their league campaign this season and quite interestingly at this point with 8 games played, both are tied on points (22) at the top of the table.

Despite being in formidable form last season, Real Madrid suffered a humiliating defeat to a recovering Barcelona side at the Bernabeu. Manager Carlo Ancelotti will need to make sure his tactics and team are on point to avoid such a debacle and come away with the three crucial points from this venerable fixture.

In their last game, Real Madrid managed to continue their unbeaten in all competitions since the start of the season after Antonio Rudiger sacrificed his face to head home the equaliser against Shakhtar in the last minute of added time. Carlo Ancelotti rotated his team and kept the likes of Vinicius, Luka Modric, Dani Carvajal on the bench to rest them for El Clasico.

Despite Real’s woes against the Ukrainian giants, they progressed to the Round of 16 while being top of their group but for Barcelona, the group has been cruel to them like last season.

After drawing 3-3 in a hotly contested match against Inter Milan, Barcelona now face a potential relegation to the Europa League as they are now three points off R16 qualification. The Catalan outfit still has a chance to progress through to the knockout stages but if Inter grabs a win in their next UCL game against Viktoria, Xavi’s men will become a Europa League outfit for this season.

Team News

For Real Madrid, Dani Ceballos is set to remain on the sidelines with a long-term injury.

Race against time as Thibaut Courtois attempts to recover fully for the El Clasico after getting affected by Sciatica. Otherwise, Andriy Lunin is set to continue in between the sticks.

Antonio Rudiger has rejoined the team in training before El Clasico but Eder Militao is likely to get the nod over the German defender alongside David Alaba.

In form Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Aurelien Tchouameni are set to retain their places in the starting lineup.

Fede Valverde is expected to start from the right flank replacing Rodrygo.

For Barcelona, Memphis Depay, Hector Bellerin, Andreas Christensen and Ronald Araujo are set to remain sidelined with long-term injuries.

Alejandro Balde is expected to replace Jordi Alba at left-back who is going through a sticky spell at the moment.

Jules Kounde is expected to start over Gerard Pique in defence alongside Eric Garcia.

Predicted XI

Real Madrid: Lunin; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Modric, Tchouameni, Kroos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Kounde, E Garcia, Balde; Gavi, Busquets, Pedri; Dembele, Lewandowski, Fati

October 10, 2022

Shakhtar Donetsk v Real Madrid | Preview

The current UCL holders, Real Madrid will set themselves up to continue their perfect win record in the Champions League as they visit Poland to face Shakhtar Donetsk in Matchday 4 of the top-flight European competition.

Both sides involved will face other only one week later of their previous matchup — which ended in a 2-1 victory for Real Madrid. In their defeat at the Bernabeu, Shakhtar showed tremendous character after conceding early and kept the scoreline respectable after last season’s debacle.

Real Madrid currently sits at the top spot in Group F of the Champions League with 9 points while Shakhtar secure second place with 4 points.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side will secure their qualification for the knockout stages if they come away with a win against the Ukrainian giants.

Team News

Shakhtar manager Igor Jovicevic is expected to name an unchanged eleven as his team has not been in action after their defeat at the Bernabeu.

Viktor Kornienko is the Ukrainian outfit’s only player to be out of this match with a long-term injury. Mykhailo Mudryk, Taras Stepanenko and the goalscorer in the last matchup between the two sides, Oleksandr Zubkov are expected to retain their places in the starting lineup.

Meanwhile, for Real Madrid, Karim Benzema got his much-needed rest to fully recover from a slight injury in Real’s last match against Getafe.

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is set to be out of this fixture with Sciatica.

Dani Ceballos faces a long-term injury surrounding his hamstring.

Predicted Lineups:

Shakhtar Donetsk: Trubin; Taylor, Bondar, Matviyenko, Konoplya; Stepanenko; Shved, Bondarenko, Sudakov, Mudryk; Zubkov.

Real Madrid: Lunin; Vazquez, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Camavinga, Tchouameni, Kroos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius.

October 3, 2022

3 observations as Real Madrid shares points with 10-men Osasuna

Real Madrid’s nine-game winning streak in all competitions came to an end after they played out a 1-1 draw with 10 men Osasuna.

It was a day of thrillers as Vinicius’ deceiving cross-like shot found the back of the net and Osasuna’s equaliser came in the form of a no-look header from Kike Garcia who was completely unaware of his header’s direction.

As Real Madrid shared points with the team from Pamplona on the day, they got toppled by Barcelona in the league standings who now occupy first place sending their Madrid rivals to second with points tied.

Here are my three observations from the match:

Weary from the International Break

As predicted, the players did come from the International Break with tiredness and stress. It was evident in the movements of Dani Carvajal, Aurelien Tchouameni and others. The International Break blues not only disrupted the performances of the players called on duty but it also seeped through the players staying at Madrid who didn’t receive any kind of football action.

Of course, Madridistas are gutted to see their team’s winning run falter but it was coming sooner or later. Hopefully, the players will be able to strike off their weariness and be truly back for the mid-week clash against Shakhtar.

Defensive woes continue

It has been another match where Real Madrid failed to keep a clean sheet because of defensive instability. If Antonio Rudiger could predict the incoming cross from Unai Garcia for Kike, Real could have kept their long-awaited clean sheet, such latency to foresee an attacking ball from the opponent will no doubt cost Ancelotti’s men many during the season.

There are more problems existing in the defence and Ancelotti might need to sort them out soon with El Clasico approaching this month.

This defeat doesn’t make the season

Let’s be clear on one thing. Yes, Real Madrid started the season on a high after composing a nine-game win streak but certainly, Madridistas perhaps didn’t expect an ‘invincible’ season from their club.

Optimistically speaking, this defeat was coming sooner or later and it happened early enough to give the team time to compose and restructure themselves.

The standards are always high at Madrid and as Ancelotti states, “We’re competing for everything.” It’s these kinds of games which win you the league at the end of the season but it’s also these kinds of games which brings you back to the roots to sort yourself out.

October 1, 2022

Real Madrid v Osasuna | Preview and Predictions

Real Madrid will look to stretch their perfect record in all competitions since the start of the season as they return to action against Osasuna in Matchday 7 of the La Liga.

Los Blancos has the upper hand in this upcoming fixture after dismantling their rivals Atletico Madrid in their previous match while the visitors suffered a 2-0 defeat to Getafe in their last league outing.

Preview

Carlo Ancelotti will have the talismanic Karim Benzema back on the squad list who is expected to start from the bench. The attacking trio of Fede Valverde, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo will look to continue their fine run of form after their exemplary outing in the Madrid Derby.

Real Madrid have scored at least two goals in each of their fixtures this season across all competitions and will look to continue their quintessential goalscoring form but at the same time, Real’s defensive vulnerabilities have been exposed owing them clean sheets in most of their wins.

Meanwhile, the visitors enjoyed an upright start to the season, sitting fifth in the league standings but the defeat to Getafe has left a bitter taste.

Despite their frailties in their last league fixture, they came back with a win, scoring two goals against Real Valladolid in a friendly match during the International Break.

Osasuna have managed to hold Real Madrid to two 0-0 draws in the last two seasons. But they have now gone 16 games without a win against the champions in all competitions since edging 1-0 in January 2011.

What to expect?

Real Madrid is expected to dominate possession as well as set the tempo of the game with the like of Toni Kroos starting. Luka Modric will be out of this match due to a muscle overload and Real’s sufferings are well known when the Croatian is absent. As Benzema is in contention to come on from the bench, the trio of Vini, Rodrygo and Valverde will need to establish a strong start in order to reduce the strain on the recovering Frenchman.

Osasuna have worked hard to sit fifth place and they always set up quite the force to destabilize the opponent’s midfield. Jagoba Arrasate will need to orchestrate his men to keep their cool after a hot-tempered clash against Getafe.

Prediction: REAL MADRID 2-0 OSASUNA

September 19, 2022

Atletico Madrid 1-2 Real Madrid | Player Ratings

Rodrygo Goes and Fede Valverde were on the scoresheet as Real Madrid stretched their winning run to nine consecutive games since the start of the season by dismantling Atletico Madrid in the Madrid Derby.

September 11, 2022

Real Madrid 4-1 RCD Mallorca | Match Report

Real Madrid continued their perfect start to the 2022/23 season after running riot against 13th placed Mallorca on Sunday in Matchday 5 of La Liga.

The current league and UCL champions were under pressure from Barcelona’s last night’s victory against lowly Cadiz and Karim Benzema’s absence from the squad for today. Despite getting 1-0 down in the first half, Ancelotti’s men packed a massive punch as they soared through Mallorca scoring incisively to make it a 4-1 rout.

Real dominated possession for most parts of the first half but were not clinical in their efforts which they later compensated for by conceding from an in-form Vedat Muriqi. Being unmarked, Muriqi rose above everyone defending and attacking a set-piece from Kang Lee before heading home his third goal in four matches.

Mallorca went a bit into their shell after scoring employing the tactic of ‘park the bus’ and allowed Real Madrid the ball with the chances.

It was not long before Los Blancos found the equaliser from a sensational goal from Fede Valverde in added time of the first half. The Uruguayan drove through with a phenomenal run after picking a pass from Dani Ceballos in his own half, covering most of the field and popping in an outrageous goal from just outside the box. Some may claim it to be a contender for the ‘Goal of the Season.’

A nervy came along for the home side in the 65th minute as Mallorca’s Clement Grenier dribbled exquisitely past Rudiger and Alaba, setting up an open scoring chance for Antonio Sanchez who pulled his shot wide.

Mallorca tried to hold a compact defence as they were content with a point but a moment of magic from Real’s starting Brazilian duo did the job in providing Los Blancos the lead for the first time during the afternoon. Rodrygo drove through the Mallorca defenders before passing the ball to Vini near the goal and the latter kept his cool and delicately shot the ball past the opposing goalkeeper Rajkovic.

From here on, it was all Real Madrid as they were the ones creating the chances and taking them. Real made it 3-1 in the 89th minute as Rodrygo dribbled past a weary Mallorca defence before sending the ball into the net and it was as easy as it was.

The insurance goal couldn’t quench Real’s hunger as they came haunting again from a Toni Kroos free-kick. New signing Antonio Rudiger got his first goal for the club as he thumped home the final one for Real Madrid just before the referee signalled the final whistle.

August 19, 2022

Ancelotti talks about Casemiro, signings and more

Ancelotti talks about Casemiro, signings and more

August 10, 2022

Real Madrid 2-0 Eintracht Frankfurt | Player Ratings

Carlo Ancelotti named an unchanged lineup from Real Madrid’s UCL winning final against Liverpool. Los Blancos got a taste of some early season silverware as David Alaba and Karim Benzema were on point to give Real Madrid their 5th UEFA Super Cup. Here are my ratings from the game:

Thibaut Courtois(7/10): Made 3 crucial saves, one of which came early on in the game denying Daichi Kamada who could have started the scoring. Made a few claims settling the gameplay in Real Madrid’s favour

Ferland Mendy (7/10): Was nice and tight at the back with occasionally moving up the pitch. Attempted a few crosses which eventually found no one but accustomed well in distributing the ball from tight areas.

David Alaba (7.5/10): Scored the opener of the game by being present at the correct position at the right time. Was effective in defending and marking the likes of Kamada and N’dicka.

Eder Militão (7.5/10): Synced well with his defensive partner David Alaba. Was defensively sound and neutralised any imminent with ease apart from a few shaky moments in the early phase of the game.

Dani Carvajal (7/10): Went head-on with the Eintracht players and locked down his part of the flank well with Valverde. Won 2 of his attempted ground duels and was substituted off in the 85th minute.

Casemiro (8/10): Same as he plays round the year, he was a tank during the hours of this game. Kept the momentum going from the corner resulting in a goal and assisting Alaba. He neutralised any advances from the dangerous Kamada and his attacking compatriots. Tried a long-range shot but ultimately hit the woodwork.

Toni Kroos (7/10): Another usual day in the office for our German maestro who completed the most passes in the match (97). Had a pass success rate of 94% and dictated the tempo of the game. Found Benzema from a tight angle which could have been something by quickly accelerating and winning a lay ball. Substituted off in the 85th minute.

Luka Modric (6.5/10): Had a few shaky moments and also got dispossessed two times. Eintracht didn’t let him grow into the match further by tightly marking him. Not in his usual self, he was substituted off in the 65th minute making way for Rodrygo. Won 33% of his ground duels but ended his game with a 93% pass success rate.

Fede Valverde (7.5/10): It’s a myth that Valverde has only two lungs, he was literally present everywhere on the pitch, starting off as a RWB and then gradually locking down that entire wing. Made 6 recoveries and won 2 of his ground duels out of an attempted 4. Showed an exemplary display, cutting out opponent passing lanes and supporting the defence whenever Eintracht approached the final thirds of the pitch.

Vini Jr. (7.5/10): Missed a huge chance orchestrated by Benzema in the first half and got denied by a goal line clearance from Eintracht’s Tuta. Got dispossessed several times and was well covered by the opponent defenders. In the second half, he gradually brought himself into the game starting off with invoking a measured acceleration, ruining the Eintracht resistance and finding Benzema leading to the score getting 2-0. Was the most fouled player in the match (3), clearly showing the peril he causes to the opposition even when he doesn’t get everything right.

Karim Benzema (8.5/10): Helped in the link-up game from the midfield to the forward. Latched on Vini with a few incisive through balls tormenting the Eintracht defence. Scored from a powered yet calculated shot from a Vini pass from across the pitch and thus putting him up there on the scoresheet.

Substitutes

Rodrygo (5/10): Linked up well from the midfield acting as a ball carrier by latching himself onto a few through balls, brought pace to the game and won 3 of his attempted ground duels.

Eduardo Camavinga, Antonio Rudiger, Aurelien Tchouameni and Dani Ceballos are the players that came on late and couldn’t make a significant impact on the game.

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