Real Madrid maintained the pressure on Barcelona with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Granada on Saturday night.
Real Madrid heaped more misery on Granada, who have been relegated, while also keeping the pace with league leaders Barcelona who also put in a great performance to beat Villarreal 4-1 on Saturday night.
Zinedine Zidane made nine changes to his side and Real Madrid were without both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. But that did not stop them from taking the lead within three minutes and eventually going 4-0 up after only 35 minutes.
Granada – who could muster up only 3 weak shots on target – were quite simply limp and did not offer any threats. They showed exactly why they have been relegated this season and Tony Adams has a massive job ahead of him if he wants to get them promoted immediately.
For Real Madrid, however, it was an important win, especially given the fact that several key players were rested, and Zinedine Zidane will have been pleased with the performance. We take a look at the key talking points from the match.
Morata deserves to start over Karim Benzema
Alvaro Morata was quickly making a name for himself as one of the finest young strikers on the planet after impressing with Juventus. So it is natural that Real Madrid wanted their former youth player back and they subsequently exercised their €30 million option on him.
Many expected Morata to displace Karim Benzema upon his return to the side but at a club that sometimes plays their stars for political reasons rather than footballing ones, the Spaniard has had to play second fiddle to the Frenchman despite clearly being the more impressive player this season.
Morata has been restricted to just 13 starts in the La Liga this season but he has still managed to score 15 goals and pick up 4 assists. In his last 5 matches, Morata has scored 7 goals and picked up 2 assists. Yet even this spectacular form has not been enough to convince Zidane to start him in their key Champions League clashes.
The 24-year-old has benefited from a somewhat regular run in the side and on current form looks to be going from strength to strength. It is clear that the Spaniard deserves to start ahead of Benzema in the line up.
Álvaro Morata’s 2 goals last night means he’s on 20 for the season (1 goal per 81 mins). Karim Benzema on just 15 (1 goal per 178 mins)… pic.twitter.com/AY4mgdLiO2
— Messi Minutes (@MessiMinutes) May 7, 2017
Madrid have brilliant squad depth but might not for much longer
If there was one thing last night showed, it was that Real Madrid truly have incredible squad depth, with real quality in every single position on the pitch – except perhaps in goal. For a team that is always competing on all fronts, squad depth is a huge contributing factor to any success and Madrid have that in spades.
With Zidane ringing in the changes to his side against Granada, Real could have been forgiven for putting in a somewhat lackluster performance given that several of those players have not played regular football this season.
This was not the case. All of their fringe players stood out and given their quality, Zidane is going to have a very hard time keeping hold of not just the likes of Isco and James Rodriguez but also the likes of Lucas Vazquez and Mariano Diaz.
Real Madrid’s B team would easily win the Premier League. Best squad I’ve ever seen by a country mile. Absolutely disgusting superiority.
— Jamsheed (@JamsheedFCB) May 6, 2017
Lucas Vazquez shines
Lucas Vazquez may not have scored last night, but the 25-year-old put in a fine performance and will definitely have made an impression on Zinedine Zidane. The Spaniard did exactly what was needed of him, constantly pressing Granada’s defense and tracking back to help out Danilo whenever necessary.
In addition to his industrious, hard-working performance, Vazquez put in 3 tackles, made 1 key pass and picked up fine assist for Real Madrid’s first goal. If these performances continue, Zidane will have no choice but to start Vazquez more regularly.
Lucas Vázquez’s game by numbers vs. Granada:
87% pass accuracy
3 tackles won
1 shot off bar
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 6, 2017
James Rodriguez must start or move
James Rodriguez’s situation at Real Madrid has been well documented and it looked like the Colombian international was certain to leave back in January, with Real eventually retaining the player despite interest.
However, the links between Rodriguez and a potential move to Manchester United and Chelsea have not died down and he would definitely make a fine addition to both clubs should either of them sign him.
Rodriguez’s situation at Real has not improved since January and he is still not a first choice player. Given his talent, it would be a shame to see him wasted for one more season and it might be the best move for his career to move clubs at the end of the season if Zidane cannot assure him of a first team berth.
James Rodriguez has been the victim of a coordinated propaganda campaign and whatever team that gets him will get a peach of a player
— Nando (@nandorvila) May 6, 2017
Tony Adams has a big job ahead of him
Arsenal legend Tony Adams was known for his incredible leadership and never-say-die attitude on the pitch but he did not have the best of starts to his managerial career, taking over Portsmouth from Harry Redknapp back in 2008 and being sacked by the club only 16 games later.
It was never going to be easy taking over Granada, who have looked like relegation fodder from the very beginning of the season and it is clear that the squad requires some serious surgery before it returns to the La Liga.
This might not be the best move for Adams as Granada’s relegation will do his reputation no favours – despite the fact that he did not have a major part to play in it – and the Englishman has a huge job to do if he is to make his latest managerial outing a success.