Real Madrid ran out comfortable 3-0 victors over Real Sociedad last night
Los Blancos finally impressed after a poor run of form, and despite looking nervy at times managed to ease to a victory against the fifth-placed side. Goals from Mateo Kovacic, Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata were enough to see off Sociedad.
Injuries have forced Zidane into having to constantly change his side, but given the depth of quality Real Madrid have in their side, the manager will not have too many complaints. The result was an important one for Real especially considering Barcelona dropped points against Real Betis over the weekend.
The result also means that Madrid are now 4 points ahead of the Catalans with a game in hand. Zidane will be pleased with the victory and it was definitely one that he needed given Madrid’s struggles over the last few fixtures.
We take a look at the key talking points from the game.
Karim Benzema has lost the faith of the Madrid fans
Karim Benzema was audibly booed throughout the match and the fans were quick to get on his back every time he made an error. Zidane defended Benzema earlier in the week and maintained that the striker was having a great season but the fans clearly seem to think differently and after yet another performance like the one he put in last night it is hard not to agree with them.
Benzema took no shots on goal and made no key passes before being hauled off on the 66th minute for Alvaro Morata. He also only managed to make only 15 passes and was visibly downcast upon being substituted.
Reports have been linking Benzema with a move away from Real and given the hostile treatment he is now receiving at the hands of the Bernabeu faithful he could start considering a move away as the best option for him.
The Frenchman has not looked at his best for a while now and Madrid fans are an unforgiving bunch. Benzema needs to step up his game or step out of the Bernabeu and given last night’s performance and the boos that rang around the Bernabeu, it looks like the latter is more likely.
Alvaro Morata still has a future at Real
Karim Benzema’s struggles will lead to more chances for Alvaro Morata to impress at some point. It was reported earlier this week that Morata was infuriated by his lack of chances in Madrid having made the summer move back to Los Blancos from Juventus, although the striker moved to quickly deny those rumours.
However if Benzema’s form does not improve – and it doesn’t seem like it will – Morata will definitely grow in importance to Zidane’s men. Benzema is also 29 years of age and at 24, Morata will only get better with time.
Morata showed he meant business when he came on last night and made as many successful passes as Karim Benzema despite playing less time than the Frenchman. He also managed to pick up a goal and performances like that show the Spaniard still has a future at the Bernabeu.
Mateo Kovacic impresses again
Mateo Kovacic opened the scoring for Real last night and put in an all-action performance in Madrid’s midfield. The 22-year old powered into the box and slotted home confidently after Cristiano Ronaldo played him through and finally bagged his first La Liga goal for Los Blancos.
He then returned the favour with a smart pass for Cristiano Ronaldo who made no mistake as he bared down on goal, chipping the Real Sociedad keeper delightfully. Kovacic’s involvement in attack was matched equally by his defensive workrate as well which would definitely have pleased Zinedine Zidane.
The Croatian international made 6 tackles and was dribbled past only once, according to Whoscored. He also completed 3 successful dribbles of his own and was the driving force in Madrid’s midfield. Kovacic was the man of the match without a doubt and Zidane will be hoping for more of the same from him as the season progresses.
Casemiro the perfect foil for Madrid’s creativity
Casemiro has grown in importance to Madrid as time has passed and he showed exactly why once more last night. The Brazilian international brought up flashbacks of Claude Makelele with his performance, and put in the perfect defensive midfielder’s performance.
The 24-year old made a whopping 12 tackles during the match, twice as much as the next highest player in that regard, which was Kovacic with 6. Casemiro also made 3 interceptions and 1 clearance as he constantly broke up Sociedad’s attacks.
He also made 43 passes which just goes to show how he keeps Madrid’s midfield ticking over. Alongside Toni Kroos and Mateo Kovacic, Casemiro is the perfect foil for his more creative partners in midfield.
La Liga title race looking more interesting with each fixture
The La Liga title race is slowly developing into one that could finish in truly dramatic fashion. Real have a game in hand but at this point are only 4 points ahead of Barcelona. Their goal difference is identical at 34, although Barcelona have both scored and conceded only one more goal than Madrid.
With Sevilla also tied on points and continuing to impress as the season progresses, we could be in for a treat towards the end of the season. Although Barca dropped points over the weekend, Madrid have shown that they also have weaknesses and the title race looks like it will only get more interesting from here.