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Five takeaways from Real Madrid 2-1 Sevilla

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Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

The Santiago Bernabeu hosted a thriller of a game in matchday 15 of La Liga as leaders Real Madrid took on an in-form Sevilla. The Andalusian side have been rock-solid this year, and their coherent attack has often found ways to salvage even the most difficult of games.

Yet, it was not enough against Los Blancos on Sunday as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Carlo Ancelotti’s side. Here are five takeaways from the big clash of the weekend.

1. A game of 2 parts

For long parts of the game, the spoils seemed to be shared between the two sides. With both Sevilla and Real Madrid defending deep but going harsh on the counter, one expected a stalemate to follow. Even up until the hour mark, the match followed a see-saw pattern with both sides creating equal opportunities. However, what followed was a domination of the highest order.

Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

With 15 minutes to go, Ancelotti’s side switched to the highest gear. The visitors failed to cope with the sudden change in intensity and began to lose the ball in dangerous areas.

Moreover, the abrupt shift in tempo caught the Sevillan defence off guard as Real Madrid launched wave after wave of potent attacks. The refreshed and rejuvenated men in white took the field by storm and eventually found a winner at the Bernabeu.

2. Mentality of the highest level

The scoring on the night opened as early as the 12th minute through a Sevilla corner. Acuna’s corner was met in the air by a dominant Rafa Mir to give the visitors the lead in the opening minutes of the game. However, Real Madrid’s elite mentality came into play immediately after the goal was conceded.

Instead of the regular response of feeling overwhelmed after conceding, Los Blancos continued to play with the same intensity. There was no dip in the mentality of any player on the field as they constantly looked for ways to come back into the game.

Thibaut Courtois pulled off save after save, the midfield continued to press and break lines with ease and the forwards posed a constant threat to Sevilla’s goal. Ancelotti’s side eventually found a way back into the game and even went ahead in the dying minutes.

3. Benzema the dream

Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

Karim Benzema has been Real Madrid’s best player over the past two seasons. On Sunday, he once again showed why he is one of the best in the business. The Frenchman needed only one shot on the night to make a decisive difference. His goal came in the 32nd minute when he skillfully darted through the Andalusian defence to slot in the ball.

Apart from the goal too, Benzema was magnificent on the night. He recorded one key pass, one successful dribble and two duels won against Julen Lopetegui’s side. Needless to say, he will be a big part of Real Madrid’s title pursuit this season if they are to go on and win the league.

4. Vinicius levels up his game

Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Despite being a dominant force in the final 15 minutes, the hosts struggled to find a winner until Vinicius’ moment of magic. When all hope seemed lost, the Brazilian wonderkid came up with a stunning goal to give his team all three points.

When all hope seemed lost in the 85th minute, Vinicius lit up the Bernabeu with his lightning-fast feet. After receiving the ball on the left flank, he drifted centrally towards the box. When everyone least expected it, the Brazilian fired an unstoppable curling shot past Bono from outside the area.

The 21-year-old attempted eight dribbles on the night of which he completed three. Despite having a rather silent game until his goal, his outstanding effort in the closing minutes helped his team get past a tricky opposition.

5. A red hot unbeaten streak

Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

With this victory, Real Madrid make six wins in their last six games. The streak started with a win over Elche before the international break, followed by positive results against Shakhtar Donetsk and Rayo Vallecano.

The team returned with a bang against Granada last week in a 4-1 rout of the Spanish side. FC Sheriff Tiraspol were Ancelotti’s next victims as Los Blancos cruised past them in Moldova. The win over Sevilla is the sixth consecutive win.

However, daunting challenges lie ahead in Athletic Club and Real Sociedad. The two basque sides are seldom easy to beat, especially in away games. Moreover, Inter Milan lay next on the schedule after the Basque duo. Needless to say, Ancellotti has his work cut out for him in the coming month.

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Features

Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Valencia

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

For all the institutional and sporting catastrophes Valencia suffer from, they put up a resilient show against Real Madrid last month and held them to a draw in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup.

Having fired Gennaro Gattuso less than 48 hours ago, Los Che will be under the command of an interim coach at Santiago Bernabeu in the hope of repeating their feat from Saudi Arabia.

After all, they are struggling this season with just 20 points in 18 league appearances.

Valencia may not be the top team it used to be a couple of seasons ago, but there is a fighting spirit to the squad that makes them special.

As Real Madrid looks to make amends for their dropped points against La Real, some important considerations cross the manager’s mind regarding the clash against Los Che.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Valencia.

1. More names at Ancelotti’s disposal

Real Madrid’s long injury list has been a thorn in Carlo Ancelotti’s feet for a long time now. While the manager has had close to five players unavailable through fitness concerns, two names were considered irreplaceable.

Daniel Carvajal is the first on that list. The Spanish International’s presence gave the club hope after Lucas Vazquez’s injury last month, but almost as if planned, the 30-year-old immediately suffered a blow in training and was forced to sit out.

For four games, Ancelotti was thus forced to field Nacho Fernandez as his right-back. The centre-back did a good job at covering out of position, however, will be pushed back to the bench on Thursday as Los Blancos celebrate the return of Carvajal.

The defender is not the only one making his way back, as Aurelien Tchouameni also received the medical all-clear earlier this week.

The French pivot hobbled off an hour into Real Madrid’s league clash against Villarreal in the first week of January and has been sidelined for close to a month.

His absence pushed his coach to try numerous permutations in midfield, but it was finally Eduardo Camavinga who stamped his authority on the position.

With Tchouameni back roaring, his place in the starting lineup seems to be written in stone. One can expect the Frenchman to be deployed alongside Toni Kroos and Dani Ceballos for his return to action on Thursday.

2. Concern shifts from right to left-back

The Merengues will finally have a natural right-back available to play against Valencia midweek. However, that does not signal the end of the Italian tactician’s trouble-riddles period.

Just when one full-back position returned to a state of normalcy, Real Madrid now have a crisis at left-back.

Ferland Mendy picked up a thigh injury earlier this week and will miss the team’s next two months of action at least. To say that this is a big blow to the club’s plans would be an understatement, for Mendy was the only natural left-back available in the squad.

David Alaba would appear to be the best-placed alternative, but the Austrian is ruled out through injury himself. Placed at a lack of options, Ancelotti confirmed in his press conference earlier today that Eduardo Camavinga would play there against Valencia.

The youngster has played in the defensive position earlier but will face the heat going up against Jose Luis Gaya at Santiago Bernabeu.

Given that Valencia’s right flank put up a memorable display when the two teams met last month, one can be certain that Camavinga’s performance can make or break Real Madrid’s night.

3. No margin for error

Less than halfway through the league season, Los Blancos already find themselves five points behind Barcelona. The wide gap is not a consequence of the defending champions’ poor form but the sheer consistency of Xavi Hernandez’s men, who cannot stop winning.

Having won the Supercopa de Espana last month, the Catalans are currently riding high on confidence. With their season heading from strength to strength, Real Madrid must hold on and wait for the right opportunity to topple the tables.

The Galacticos‘ draw against Real Sociedad added two points to the gap between the top two sides last week. At this stage, Ancelotti’s men cannot afford any further slip-ups for a larger gap would be too much for the men in white to compensate.

Every game henceforth will be a final for Real Madrid in La Liga. Three points are the bare minimum the club can walk away with from any fixture, and that mission will start from their game against Valencia.

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