Real Madrid failed to score for the fourth successive game as Deportivo Alaves handed them a shock 1-0 loss at the Mendizorrotza on Saturday.
In what was yet another listless display, Los Blancos struggled to create meaningful chances with Alaves defending in a disciplined manner throughout the 90 minutes. The closest Real Madrid got to finding the back of the net was through Karim Benzema, whose headed effort was cleared off the goal-line.
Otherwise, the visitors were restricted largely to half chances that did not put Alaves under pressure all that much. As the clock ticked by, Real Madrid had failed to score for over six hours – their worst drought in over 33 years.
But, just when it started to look like Real Madrid were going to play out their second successive draw in the league, Alaves struck the decisive blow when Manu Garcia scored with the final shot of the match.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) October 6, 2018
The Basque outfit are now level on points with Real and Barcelona, who can take sole lead of the title race when they visit Valencia on Sunday. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Julen Lopetegui’s men following their third defeat in four games.
Thibaut Courtois: 6/10
A quiet outing for Courtois, with Real Madrid seeing the bulk of the possession. He did help absorb whatever little pressure Alaves were creating by coming off his line quickly and being assured in aerial situations. Perhaps could have done better to deny the hosts their goal, but he was a touch unfortunate that his original stop fell straight to Manu Garcia.
Alvaro Odriozola: 6/10
With Carvajal injured and unavailable for the next month, Odriozola had the opportunity to impress Lopetegui, but he only did half his job well. The youngster carried a huge threat in the final third and one of his crosses created the biggest chance for Real Madrid. But, he also had his hands full with Jony, who got the better of him as the game progressed.
Raphael Varane: 8/10
Quite easily the best performer for Real Madrid on Saturday and perhaps, this season. Varane held his own at the back and was imperious in aerial duels. A goal-line clearance in the first-half crucially kept the scores level, although it ended up being futile in the end. Needs better support from those alongside him at the back.
Sergio Ramos: 5.5/10
The presence of the Real Madrid captain was telling for much of the game, as Ramos organised the defensive line superbly and instructed them to press aggressively. The Spaniard was assured as ever in possession as well. But, all the good work was undone when he failed to mark Manu Garcia, who scored the all-important winner.
Nacho is everything that Marcelo isn’t, and that is not exactly a good thing, as far as Saturday’s game is concerned. The Spanish international was solid in defence, absorbing whatever threat Alaves created on his flank.
But, it is in the final third where Nacho has been found wanting time and again, with the player creating very little pressure with his deliveries. Marcelo can’t come back soon enough.
Luka Modric: 5/10
The World Cup hangover just does not end for Modric, who has failed to get going at the start of the season. Saturday’s outing was no different as the Croat’s link-up play was average at best and his passing lacked the required incisiveness. Needs to pull up his socks, especially with Real Madrid struggling.
It goes without saying that Casemiro’s presence is often key, especially to absorb the pressure that the opposition creates through the middle. But, in games such as Saturday’s, the Brazilian almost becomes a passenger, with his influence on the ball waning with his passing match. His role needs to be defined more clearly.
Toni Kroos: 5/10
What has happened to Toni Kroos? The German, who had been pulling the strings ever so effortlessly in August has petered off dramatically this past month. His passes lack the cutting edge while his set-piece deliveries fail to create the desired impact. Mubarak Wakaso’s relentless pressing also sold Kroos short. Another who needs to improve significantly.
Gareth Bale: 6/10
By far the most potent threat for Real Madrid in the final third, although that isn’t a huge achievement. Bale had the Alaves defenders backpedalling, with his pace and power providing them many-a-nervy moment. But, his end product was lacking severely and after being taken off in the 80th minute with an injury, there is a huge cause for concern for Los Blancos.
Karim Benzema: 5/10
The slump continues for Benzema, who has now gone seven games without a goal. The Frenchman did come close on a couple of occasions, with a goal-line clearance in particular being frustrating. But, his link-up play often left a lot to be desired. Another player who was taken off due to injury. Perhaps, some time off wouldn’t hurt.
Dani Ceballos: 5.5/10
Deployed in an unfamiliar role out wide, Ceballos was a bit unsure of his positioning at times but grew into the role as the minutes ticked by. A bundle of energy, he was exactly what Real Madrid needed in the first half. But, as his influence faded, so did the visitors’ threat, with Bale struggling as well. Needs to be more consistent with his displays.
Mariano Diaz: 6/10
On for Benzema at half-time, Mariano was lively throughout his outing. The summer signing even had a great chance to break the deadlock, but he ended up taking one turn too many, giving the Alaves defender time to recover. Could have a golden opportunity to cement his place if Benzema is out for an extended duration.
Marco Asensio: 5/10
Asensio would have liked to make a telling impact after being dropped to the bench. But, the Spaniard created absolutely nothing of note, as he and the rest of his teammates went on going through the motions. Another player who has been struggling of late after a bright start to the season.
Vinicius Junior: N/A
Thrown in on the 80th minute to help find the elusive goal, Vinicius struggled to break through the disciplined and resolute Alaves defence.