Thibaut Courtois, Raphael Varane and Eder Militao were colossal as Real Madrid beat Getafe 3-0 to go level on points with Barcelona on Saturday.
Real Madrid were hot off the gates as Karim Benzema forced David Soria into a save in the very first minute. Getafe soon found their feet though, and if not for a brilliant save by Thibaut Courtois, who denied Mauro Arambarri. Minutes later, however, Real Madrid were in front through Raphael Varane, although they had Soria to thank for deflecting the ball into his own net.
Courtois made another couple of top class saves to ensure the Real Madrid remained in front before Varane doubled his and the visitors’ tally, heading in from a Toni Kroos free-kick. The win was then rounded off deep into injury time as Luka Modric struck from close range.
With all three points sealed, Real Madrid are now once again level on points with Barcelona, who were held to a 2-2 draw by Espanyol later in the day. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Zinedine Zidane’s men following a clinical performance.
Thibaut Courtois: 9/10
This time last year, Courtois was becoming the butt of jokes after struggling to settle in at Real Madrid. Fast forward a year and the Belgian is back among the best goalkeepers in the world, as evidenced by a wondrous performance against Getafe.
Oblak: 19 games (about to play) Simón: 18 games
Courtois: 16 games
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 4, 2020
If not for Courtois, Real Madrid might just have started 2020 on a sombre note, with Courtois producing saves right out of the top drawer to deny Mauro Arambarri, Faycal Fajr and Leandro Cabrera. Up to nine clean sheets for the season, the joint-most in La Liga, Courtois is right in the thick of the race to win the Zamora Award this year.
Dani Carvajal: 7/10
A solid performance by Carvajal, who had a tricky task to look forward to against Marc Cucurella. However, unlike their duel last season, Carvajal prevailed this time around, doing well to contain the La Masia product. A constant outlet down the right flank, but had very little in way of end product. A decent performance still.
Raphael Varane: 9/10
With Sergio Ramos suspended, Varane was the leader at the back for Real Madrid; and, he took to the mantle with aplomb. Kept the backline organised for the most part and struck a formidable partnership with Eder Militao, which meant that Courtois was not called into action a great deal, even though Getafe aimed more shots at the Real Madrid goal.
Varane also made a tangible contribution to the win, scoring the opening two goals of the game, the second, in particular, being a delightful towering header. His colossal defensive performance is indicative in the numbers as well, with Varane making 9 clearances and winning 5 aerial duels, and some sloppy passing was the only blemish in an otherwise perfect display. On song.
Eder Militao: 9/10
Ramos’s suspension also meant that Militao got an extended run, and his performance at Getafe warrants an even longer run in the side. Striking a solid partnership alongside Varane, the Brazilian was in no mood in letting anyone past him.
In a league of his own in the air, Militao won 7 aerial duels. Hardly troubled otherwise either, winning 10 ground duels while also making 9 clearances, 3 interceptions and 5 recoveries. Militao’s integration in the Real Madrid first-team setup has been quite seamless. Zidane has quite an asset at his disposal.
Ferland Mendy: 8/10
Speaking of extended runs, Mendy helped his cause a great deal on Saturday, delivering the cross for Varane’s first goal. Apart from that moment, he did lack some incision in his crossing, but defensively he followed the pattern of Carvajal, Varane and Militao, allowing very little past him. Should work on his offensive output, but there is very little to nitpick otherwise.
Luka Modric: 7/10
A mixed bag of an evening for Modric, who did exceedingly well with the ball at his feet. In fact, his passing abilities were crucial for Real Madrid to find a way past the Getafe press. However, when without the ball, the hosts often found it easy to overrun the Croat. Ended the game on a high, finishing off a fine team move.
Back into the side after serving a one-match ban, Casemiro showcased his calming presence with elan. Moved Real Madrid forward smartly and one pass to Gareth Bale needed a better finish.
Off the ball, Casemiro was part of the colossal spine, which included Courtois, Varane and Militao, that negated Getafe extremely well. In all, the Brazilian was nothing short of brilliant, winning 9 duels, making 8 clearances and 2 interceptions. Real Madrid look a completely different side with him on the field.
Toni Kroos: 7/10
On his 30th birthday, it was a game of two halves for Kroos, who was rather flat to begin with in the first half before slowly growing into the game. Lacked his usual decisiveness in the early stages, but all was well when his pinpoint delivery from a free-kick was headed in by Varane. That provided him the impetus to play more freely till he was taken off for Federico Valverde.
Gareth Bale: 6/10
An underwhelming start to the year for Bale, who lacked the cutting edge in the final third. Coming at the end of two superb changes falling his way, the Welshman did not have the finishing boots on on each occasion.
Frustratingly inefficient otherwise as well, Bale often looked out of ideas. Redeemed himself to some extent late on, when he released Federico Valverde with a peach of a pass in the build-up to Real Madrid’s final goal in the game.
Karim Benzema: 7/10
Benzema might not have any goals to show for his efforts, but he did a whole lot of other things to ensure Real Madrid dominated the proceedings. Relentlessly pressed when off the ball and held it up well to bring teammates into the game. However, he fed off scraps for large parts of the game and when he did take aim at goal, he was denied on a couple of occasions by Soria.
Much like Bale on the opposite flank, Isco struggled to make an impact. Getafe’s all-action style had the Spaniard caught like a deer in headlights and when he did get the ball, he could not do much to link up with Benzema. A rare blip, considering his recent upturn in form.
Federico Valverde: 7/10
Given the final 25 minutes or so, Valverde produced an impressive cameo. Unlike Isco, Getafe’s style suited the Uruguayan perfectly, with the doing well to win a couple of duels, while also creating two big chances, including the final ball for Modric’s goal. Quite the game changer.
Vinicius Junior: 6/10
Not as sparkly as Valverde, but Vinicius did provide an infusion of energy, helping out on both ends of the pitch. Went close with a late chance as well.
Luka Jovic: N/A
A late introduction, Jovic looked determined to make an impact, but did not have a lot of time to do so.