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Three questions and three answers from Osasuna 2-4 Real Madrid

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Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Real Madrid took on Osasuna at the Estadio El Sadar last night in a clash that promised to be fascinating in its own sense. Los Blancos were clear favourites, nevertheless, and they lived up to their billing.

Vinicius Jr opened the scoring early on the night with a calm finish, but Ante Budimir was on point as he levelled for Osasuna before the 10th minute. 

Dani Carvajal restored Los Blancos’ lead at El Sadar before Brahim Diaz and Vinicius scored in the second half to make it four.

In the end, Real Madrid pulled through with a dominant scoreline and extended their lead at the top to ten points. Madrid Universal brings you three questions and three answers from Osasuna 2-4 Real Madrid.

Three answers

Could Real Madrid keep up the momentum?

The win over Celta Vigo was critical for Real Madrid, for it marked the end of a run of five tight games for Los Blancos.

The objective last night for the team, thus, was to keep up the momentum earned in the previous match, and it is safe to say that Real Madrid passed with flying colours.

Not only was the 4-2 demolition of Osasuna dominant on the scoreboard but also featured football that was worthy of such a result. 

The Merengues racked up an xG tally of 2.87 on the night compared to the hosts’ 0.72. They created a staggering seven big chances hit the woodwork once and recorded 11 shots inside the Osasuna area.

Purely from a momentum standpoint, it is safe to say that the team has improved in the last two games and is on the right track. Yet, it is hard to deny the fact that both oppositions were relatively inferior and that the real test will arrive after the international break.

Noticeable improvement in Real Madrid over the last two matches (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

Could Brahim Diaz step up to the occasion once more?

Jude Bellingham’s two-game suspension after being sent off against Valencia was unjustified. Yet, such is football that the players did not see any solace and he was thus forced to miss last night’s game against Osasuna.

Carlo Ancelotti’s go-to replacement for the English phenom this season has been Brahim Diaz. On Saturday night, he replaced Bellingham in the starting lineup for the tenth time this season and did not disappoint.

Operating as the attacking midfield, Diaz was dismal in the opening period. He regularly drifted towards the left of the attack to combine with Vinicius Jr, but soon took over as the heart of Real Madrid’s attack.

In 72 minutes, the Moroccan international recorded two successful dribbles, two key passes and won six duels for Los Blancos in addition to the special goal he scored for the team. A decent performance is landmarked by his ability to step up when needed most.

How will the defence shape up?

With Nacho Fernandez starting on the bench, Antonio Rudiger was joined by Aurelien Tchouameni in central defence once more last night. The big question ahead of kickoff, thus, was over the performance of the makeshift defence.

While the team did concede an early equaliser, the performance at the back was far from shabby. 

Tchouameni did not overcomplicate matters at the back as he effectively defended against Ante Budimir. He made six key defensive actions on the night but was also dribbled past on a few occasions with ease.

Rudiger, meanwhile, was more solid at the back with seven defensive actions and a masterclass in distribution.

All in all, it was not the team’s best defensive showing but one that Ancelotti will take with both arms extended having secured three points.

Three questions

Are Real Madrid too Vini-dependant?

Vinicius Jr is known to be Real Madrid’s most potent force in attack. The Brazilian was once again on point against Osasuna as he found the back of the net twice on the night.

He opened the scoring in just the fourth minute of the game, pouncing on Alejandro Catena’s error and charging towards the goal before slipping the ball into the back of the net. 

He then completed his brace midway through the second period with a superb finish from a very tight angle, proving to the world that he is indeed one of the best finishers in the business right now.

His form is only a reason for Los Blancos to celebrate, but there is a feeling that the team’s dependency on Vinicius is increasing with every passing day. After all, he has now scored more than 50% of Real Madrid’s last 11 goals in four games.

Another solid display from Vinicius (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

Is Federico Valverde under-appreciated?

Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Jude Bellingham have all enjoyed their share of the limelight as creative beasts in midfield for Real Madrid. One player less appreciated who almost operates in the shadows, however, is Federico Valverde.

The Uruguayan star, for long, has been indispensable for Los Blancos but is perennially under-appreciated. Last night, he left a conspicuous mark on the game and walked home with three assists to his name.

Valverde cut a lovely ball from the left to find Daniel Carvajal for the team’s second goal on the night before delivering a long through ball to set Brahim Diaz free for the team’s third.

He also had a big role to play in Vinicius’ second goal against Osasuna as he chested a Rudiger pass towards the ready Brazilian.

Can Real Madrid take down Manchester City?

The focus at the Valdebebas, at this point, is entirely on the UEFA Champions League. 

Real Madrid have La Liga in the bag, but the UCL draw sets them up against a very tricky opposition in Manchester City. Both sides are equally placed as favourites in the event, and Ancelotti will thus need his men to be in top form to take down the English giants.

The Merengues have been far from impressive over the past month, grinding out tight wins over mediocre opposition. The last two games, however, give hope that their best version is not far off.

Dominant wins like last night’s go a long way in boosting the confidence of the unit ahead of a challenging tie. After all, football is a game of momentum and Los Blancos will look to maintain the same after the international break.

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Features

Real Madrid 3-2 FC Barcelona – Player Ratings

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Still fatigued from their weary 120 minutes midweek against Manchester City, Real Madrid took on Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu earlier today in a fascinating clash.

Unlike the two previous games between the two sides this season, tonight’s Clasico was a very tight affair with both teams having their chances to steal the show. 

Andreas Christensen opened the scoring for Barcelona early in the night, giving the visitors the lead. A clean penalty conversion from Vinicius Jr, however, soon pulled one back for Los Blancos.

Fermin Lopez’s goal gave the Catalans the lead once more in the second period but the advantage was short-lived as Lucas Vazquez cut the deficit once more.

In the end, Jude Bellingham scored an injury-time winner for the men in white and Real Madrid got the result they required. The league title now appears written in their name.

Madrid Universal brings you the player ratings from El Clasico.

Andriy Lunin: 5

A relatively shaky night for the Ukrainian shot-stopper who never really looked confident with his saves. Was very poor in Andreas Christensen’s opener with his decision-making and came very close to conceding to a Lamine Yamal flick in the first half. 

Was directly at fault for the Blaugranas’ second goal of the night as he pushed the ball straight into the path of Fermin Lopez.

Lucas Vazquez: 10

A strong display from the Spanish full-back who once again showed that he is a potent force in the final third. Won the penalty for Real Madrid after some masterful trickery on the flank, setting up the team’s equaliser.

Found a stunning half-volley to stun Barcelona minutes after their second goal, levelling the scores once more. Was vital in the buildup for the team’s winner as well.

Sensational. (Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)

Aurelien Tchouameni: 6.5

The French centre-back was presumably chosen for his prowess in the air but was nowhere to be seen when Christensen netted Barcelona’s opener. Was regularly poor in defending against set pieces, especially at the far post.

Antonio Rudiger: 7

The German centre-back led the team’s defensive unit but was also far from his best on the night. Did not make any glaring mistakes, but fatigue is likely to have impacted his influence.

Eduardo Camavinga: 6

The young phenom started the game well and was a lively presence in the final third. However, he soon began to struggle to keep up with Barcelona’s Lamine Yamal who began running havoc down the flank.

Was caught napping for Yamal’s cross that set up Barcelona’s second goal of the night and was dribbled past twice. Replaced by Fran Garcia at the 70-minute mark.

Federico Valverde: 7

Real Madrid’s midfield machine was undoubtedly fatigued on the night, yet came out at the team’s most valuable asset off the ball.

Completed seven defensive actions and 92% of his passes, executing his duties well.

Toni Kroos: 8

Sitting deep in the defensive midfield, Kroos was instrumental in holding the fortress for Real Madrid on the break. Silky smooth as ever with his distribution and creativity, combined with some no-nonsense defending.

Luka Modric: 8

Showing his quality. (Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images)

A good showing from the Croatian talisman who controlled the midfield alongside Kroos and Valverde throughout the first half. 

Jude Bellingham: 9

A much-improved performance from the Golden Boy who has been under scrutiny in recent weeks for his dip in form.

Bellingham was vital on the break for Real Madrid, dictating the attacking play of the team. He was immaculate with his passing range and completed 100% of his attempted dribbles.

Of all the Real Madrid players, Bellingham was likely the one who put in the biggest defensive shift when out of possession. Found the back of the net in emphatic fashion in the final minutes of the game to give his side the win.

Vinicius Jr: 8

Another Clasico goal. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

Not the Brazilian phenom’s best night on the grasses of the Santiago Bernabeu as he struggled to conjure up much on the counters. Regardless, he scored a vital penalty and even came close to assisting Rodrygo twice in the first half.

Laid the ball on a platter for Lucas Vazquez, setting up the team’s second goal.

Rodrygo Goes: 7

While Rodrygo did not enjoy too much freedom in the final third either, his runs between the lines often created problems for the visitors. Yet, one felt Real Madrid should have capitalised more on the 23-year-old’s presence in the final third.

SUBSTITUTES

Brahim Diaz: 7

Brought life to Real Madrid’s counterattacks after coming on, although he did not really get into the game considering Los Blancos’ defence-heavy strategy.

Fran Garcia: 7

Did relatively well to defend against Yamal, and demonstrated more defensive awareness than Camavinga.

Eder Militao: NA

Came on too late to make a tangible impact.

Joselu: NA

Came on too late to make a tangible impact.

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