More than halfway through the La Liga campaign, Girona sit atop the standings. With 55 points in 22 games, they average a stunning 2.5 points per game and are one point clear of Real Madrid.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men do have a game in hand, for what is worth. However, a game in hand is not the same as three points in hand, and it is clear that the league race is far from clear at his point in the season.
Despite having enjoyed a stunning start to the campaign, Real Madrid are still forced to treat every coming game as a must-win encounter, the latest of which arrives tomorrow in the form of a trip to Getafe.
The men in white travel to the Coliseum Alfonso Perez to take on Jose Bordalas’ Getafe side in what will be a fascinating clash, not just from a sporting but a tactical point of view.
Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Getafe vs Real Madrid.
Worries in defence
Real Madrid’s last three games present a worrying trend to the management that turns the spotlight towards the defence.
In the team’s Copa del Rey clash against Atletico Madrid, Los Blancos conceded the first goal on the night to Samuel Lino in the 39th minute. They then fought an uphill battle that they eventually fell short in.
Moving ahead, when the men in white took to the field against Almeria at the Santiago Bernabeu, they again conceded first, this time to Largie Ramazani in just the first minute. To make matters worse, they even allowed Almeria to score a second before they got on the scoresheet themselves.
In their most recent outing against Las Palmas, Los Blancos went behind for the third time in as many games. They conceded the first goal, this time to Javier Munoz, in the 53rd minute of the game and once again chased a deficit.
For a team that has conceded just 14 goals in 21 appearances so far, Real Madrid have been shambolic in defence in recent outings. David Alaba’s injury has had a clear impact on the strength of the fortress, and the numbers say the same.
The Merengues have conceded a staggering 12 goals in their last six games across all competitions, averaging two goals conceded per game. Needless to say, there is a lot for the manager to fix in defence, or the team could live to regret a costly result in the coming games.
Minutes for Modric?
“I can’t make him warm up if he’s not going to play, I can do it with Arda Güler who is starting, he’s a legend and he knows it,” Carlo Ancelotti said about Luka Modric ahead of Real Madrid’s clash against Getafe.
The Italian tactician only echoed his thoughts from what he said a few nights ago in the team’s post-match press conference, and one can only laud the manager’s honesty and man-managing prowess through the same.
Yet, the fact remains that Modric has been under-utilised this season, more so in recent games. The Croatian did not play a single minute in either of Real Madrid’s last two games, and it is clear that the manager is looking to gradually reduce the team’s dependence on his magic.
It is well established by now that the current season is likely to be Modric’s final season in white, and to keep the player out of action for three successive games would be stretching it. Needless to say, the manager could well give the veteran a start against Getafe, as he did in the Copa del Rey clash against Atletico Madrid.
Playing at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, Real Madrid can really do with Modric’s experience at one of Spain’s most daunting stadiums. Moreover, they will require his genius to break through Getafe’s tight defensive lines under Jose Bordalas.
Earlier this month, the Spanish media described Real Madrid’s four-game run to be ‘decisive’ in the league title race. The men in white may have won the first of the four against Las Palmas, but it is clear that the worst is yet to come.
Having overcome Garcia Pimienta’s men imbibed in possession-based football, they now face the exact opposite in Getafe. Jose Bordalas is well known for his ‘anti-football’, as it is sometimes called, and presents a test of different skill sets to Carlo Ancelotti.
Apart from the pure weight of the result in terms of points, however, there is an added element at stake for the visitors on the night – momentum.
Real Madrid’s next two clashes, after tomorrow, are against Atletico Madrid and Girona. Given that the two sides are La Liga’s 3rd and 1st ranked teams respectively, the Merengues will require every ounce of luck that they can procure.
A win tomorrow will give them a whole lot of confidence heading into two absolutely critical games. The more dominating, the better.
Real Madrid 1-0 Sevilla: Player Ratings
Following Barcelona’s convincing 4-0 win against Getafe yesterday, the onus was on Real Madrid to reinstate the eight-point gap between the sides as they hosted Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu today.
Lucas Vazquez opened the scoring for los blancos after ten minutes, but the goal was controversially disallowed for a foul on Youssef En-Nesyri in the build-up.
Madrid found it difficult to unlock Sevilla’s defence after that, with the first-half ending 0-0 after just one shot on target from both teams combined.
Madrid started the second 45 with more intent, creating some better scoring opportunities, but were left without success until an unbelievable effort from Luka Modric scathed the post and went in.
Sergio Ramos put in a wonderful performance on his return to the Santiago Bernabeu for Sevilla, but it was not enough as Madrid escaped with all three points and an eight-point lead on top of the table.
Andriy Lunin: 8
Was not called into action in the first-half, and was pretty much faultless in possession. But made an incredible save off Romero’s effort in the second half and was extremely proactive collecting crosses, too. Game-changing.
Lucas Vazquez: 7
Did a good job overlapping and was unlucky that his goal was disallowed. Did well to deal with Romero and Ocampos defensively.
Antonio Rudiger: 6.5
Rudiger was lucky that Romero and En-Nesyri did not convert their efforts from close range, as he often left space in behind. Went up to attack with the score at 0-0, too, but came back fruitless.
Was substituted off after 75 minutes after an mostly average display. Again, lucky that he was not punished for the space he left behind.
Ferland Mendy: 7
A few decent moves for Mendy today, but for the most part, his inability to overlap properly gave Vinicius too much to do.
Federico Valverde: 8
By far the most active midfielder today, Valverde was everywhere. Ran the show for Madrid, both in possession and stopping counter attacks before they even started. Missed the easiest chance of the game, though.
Aurelien Tchouameni: 6.5
Did his job as the 6 well, kept the game ticking and kept finding the spare man in midfield. Moved back to the defence eventually, and came away with a clean sheet.
Toni Kroos: 7
With Madrid struggling to break through Sevilla’s defence, Kroos was tasked with a lot of deep progression. Created some tame chances here and there, but failed to find properly find a man through.
Brahim Diaz: 7.5
Kept Kike Salas and Ocampos on their toes, making some tremendous solo runs from deep, but was often left without support. Created a brilliant chance for Valverde, that was scuffed.
Did not take many risks in possesion, but was crucial in Vinicius and Brahim finding space on the wing by offering support.
Vinicius Jr: 7.5
With the Sevilla defence looking very organised, the onus was on Vinicius to create something out of nothing. He attempted a few different things, including flicking the ball over players and attempting shots from distance, but all unsuccessful.
Has to be credited for the effort, though, especially with the rest of the team lacking.
Luka Modric: 8.5
Super-sub Luka Modric coming in clutch for Madrid today with his wonder goal from outside the box. Was also brilliant in possession, increasing the tempo of the game.