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Three takeaways from Real Madrid 3-2 Barcelona | La Liga

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Jude Bellingham stunned the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys when Real Madrid met Barcelona last year in La Liga with a stunning brace including a stoppage-time winner.

Last night, once again, he came up clutch to give his side all three points against the same opposition in stoppage time.

The 90 minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu were far from easy for Real Madrid, especially with Barcelona dominating parts of the game and creating good chances in the final third.

However, the dressing room was clear about their objective from the get-go, and nothing, it appeared, could make them take their eyes off the target. After a valiant 90-minute battle, the scoreboard read 3-2 in Real Madrid’s favour.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points from Real Madrid’s emphatic El Clasico win.

Two gems shine bright

Coming off a difficult 120-minute shift against Manchester City midweek, it was always going to take a herculean effort from the Real Madrid dressing room to find a way past Barcelona.

After all, the team were far from their best from a physical standpoint, and Carlo Ancelotti’s rotations on the night reiterated the same.

While the eventual 3-2 win was possible only courtesy of a comprehensive team effort with contributions from all over the field, two players impressed in particular – Jude Bellingham and Lucas Vazquez.

The right-back was Real Madrid’s best player on the night, constantly creating pressure and threats in the Barcelona area. Playing down the right flank, he dominated Barcelona star Joao Cancelo and made the wing his own.

Vazquez won Real Madrid the penalty that helped them get back into the game after an early setback and did so with fine trickery on the edge of the area. Eventually, Barcelona’s young Pau Cubarsi was forced to make contact and bring the dynamic full-back down.

When Real Madrid went down a goal once more, Vazquez timed his run into the box with perfection to get onto the end of Vinicius Jr’s cross and slam it in the first time.

If his goal and assist were not enough to cap off a special display, it was Vazquez’s pass in the dying minutes of the game that created the opening for the team’s winning goal.

Bellingham, meanwhile, significantly stepped up from his recent lean patch and effectively dictated Real Madrid’s play in the final third. In addition to scoring the game-changing winner, he completed two key passes, 100% of his dribbles and four accurate long balls on the night.

A team with elite mentality

Elite mentality. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

Only Real Madrid can pull off the comebacks they have in the last week, especially given the special circumstances surrounding each game.

The clash against Pep Guardiola’s side midweek was the most gruelling 120 minutes of football Los Blancos have played all year. Despite being dominated for the most part, they came out clutch and defended valiantly to pull through on penalties.

Last night, still sore from their overtime duty on Wednesday, Real Madrid faced a stiff challenge against a relatively fresh Barcelona. The game, once again, showed why they boast of a mentality as elite as it gets.

Los Blancos went behind twice on the night, yet pulled back the deficit on both occasions to level the scores. A draw was a good enough result for Ancelotti’s men as it would give them a good lead ahead of the final six games in La Liga.

Having played the 90 minutes against Barcelona, the men in white could well have defended deep and settled for a draw. That, after all, would be the natural reaction of any weary party.

Yet, they pushed high and hard for a winner. With a draw in hand and the title in their grasp, they still gunned on for a win and were rewarded with Jude Bellingham’s clutch goal.

Is there a more mentally resilient team in the world? Probably not.

League in the bag

Having secured the critical win over Barcelona, the full-time whistle last night saw celebrations like none other.

Emotions poured out on the Real Madrid bench with players clenching their fists and pumping them into the air. The stadium chanted the chorus in unison, for they too knew what the result meant.

Three points secured against the second-placed team now take Real Madrid a staggering 11 points clear of Barcelona on the standings. Only six games remain to be played in La Liga, and the Merengues would have to lose four of them to let go of the title now.

Thus, for all practical purposes, Real Madrid are the champions of Spain. It may take a few more weeks for the accolade to be mathematically and officially theirs, but one can rely on the group to ensure that there are no slip-ups between now and the day the title is theirs.

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Features

Three talking points ahead of Villarreal vs Real Madrid

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Jude Bellingham, Vinicius Jr, Federico Valverde and Arda Guler were all on target when Real Madrid demolished Deportivo Alaves by a 5-0 scoreline midweek.

The win at the Santiago Bernabeu took the team to 93 points in La Liga, with the champion status already earned. The target now, however, is to reach the magical number of 99 points.

Tomorrow, Los Blancos step on the field for their penultimate league clash of the season as they lock horns against Villarreal.

Their opponents, currently placed eighth in the league, are fighting for a place in Europe and must win tomorrow at Estadio de La Ceramica if they are to remain in the race.

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

Can Bellingham maintain the steam?

Jude Bellingham’s dip in form towards the end of the season raised many concerns in the Real Madrid offices over his fitness and physical state. A mini ‘pre-season’ was said to be in the manager’s plan, especially keeping Bellingham’s recovery in mind.

The young midfielder, however, started the team’s game against Deportivo Alaves once more despite rumours of him being rested and dished out a classic on the night. His performance, in many senses, was one that announced his return to form.

In 90 minutes against Alaves, Bellingham scored one goal and provided two assists as the game ended 5-0 in Real Madrid’s favour.

Furthermore, the former Borussia Dortmund star recorded a staggering 121 touches, 99 passes, six key passes and created one big chance. He also completed four dribbles on the night and participated in eight defensive actions.

It thus becomes a serious question ahead of tomorrow’s clash as to how Carlo Ancelotti plans on managing Bellingham’s minutes.

The obvious approach would be to field the youngster from the start and reward his improved performance at the weekend. Concurrently, however, there is concern over the midfielder being overused which inhibits the manager from such a move.

Will Bellingham start against Villarreal or will the likes of Brahim Diaz or Arda Guler get a deserved start? Only time will tell.

Lunin’s heroic exit

Thibaut Courtois’ injury before the commencement of the new season left Real Madrid with a crisis in goal. The repercussions of the blow, however, were not as dire as expected courtesy of Andriy Lunin’s exceptional performances.

Lunin could play his final game of the season vs Villarreal. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Despite starting the campaign behind Kepa Arrizabalaga on the pecking order, the Ukrainian international has done enough to become the team’s primary goalkeeper across all competitions.

Only Courtois’ return last month displaced him from the starting lineup as the manager prioritised bringing the Belgian superstar back to full fitness.

Real Madrid now plan on starting Courtois for the big UCL final at Wembley next month.

While unfair on Lunin who deserves the start, one cannot blame Ancelotti for relying on the player who single-handedly kept the team in the game the last time they featured in a European final.

With Courtois set to start against Real Betis and Borrusia Dortmund, tomorrow could well be Lunin’s final game of the season for Real Madrid and the 25-year-old will look to depart with a bang.

Momentum is paramount

Real Madrid have already been crowned the champions of La Liga, and every game that remains in the competition at this point only serves as a practice encounter for the big challenge that lies ahead.

Los Blancos take on Borussia Dortmund in the finale of the UCL early next month, and only two games remain before the season-defining encounter. A lot, needless to say, will depend on how Ancelotti manages his squad for the two matches that lie ahead.

Considering that the calendar is no longer as hectic as it was a month ago, the manager could well field his best XI against Villarreal aiming to keep the momentum going for his side. After all, it is paramount at this stage in the season.

At the same time, however, the manager must rotate his squad ahead to give fringe players some deserved minutes and balance the playing time of regular starters.

Los Blancos, at this point, are unbeaten in 23 games across all competitions and have the momentum fairly on their side. Maintaining it with a positive result tomorrow irrespective of the final decision on the extent of rotations will thus be crucial for the Merengues.

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