After two home games on the trot, Real Madrid travel to the Coliseum Alfonso Perez to take on Getafe on Saturday night.
Quique Flores’ side have had a mixed start to the season and currently sit in 14th place. Their season began poorly as they failed to win any of their first four games. Getafe then won back-to-back games against Real Sociedad and Osasuna before losing to Real Valladolid on the last matchday.
Flores’ men took down Real Madrid by a 1-0 margin when the two sides faced off last year at the same venue courtesy of an Enes Unal goal. Needless to say, they will have a psychological edge and will hope to convert it into three points tomorrow.
Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Real Madrid’s return to the Coliseum Alfonso Perez.
1. Brazilian brilliance
What makes Real Madrid special is their ability to gather resources even under the more dire circumstances. When there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel, the team has historically always found a source of illumination.
Last season, Karim Benzema rewrote records for fun. The French striker could not stop scoring goals, be it in a La Liga game bearing no importance or a knockout game in the UEFA Champions League.
However, the start to the new season has been rough for the Ballon d’Or favourite. Pundits expected Los Blancos to struggle in the absence of a direct replacement for Benzema, but two young prodigies stepped up and illumined the dark tunnel.
In the past few weeks, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo have seen their stocks rise exponentially. While the former was already a key element of Real Madrid’s attack last season, his compatriot has stolen the spotlight equally in recent games.
In the last four games, the forwards recorded three goals and two assists for the team between them. In Real Madrid’s most recent outing against Shakhtar Donetsk, both players got onto the scoresheet and helped the side march to a 2-1 win.
Carlo Ancelotti will hope that Benzema can return to his best at the earliest and spearhead the attack with the two prodigies. Until then, the spotlight will shine bright on Vinicius and Rodrygo.
2. Federico Valverde: master of all trades
Federico Valverde’s talent was never a topic up for debate. The Uruguayan has always been a hard worker for Carlo Ancelotti’s team and made sure to leave a mark whenever he stepped onto the grass.
However, one expected that the arrivals of Aurelien Tcouameni and Eduardo Camavinga would have a direct impact on his continuity at the club. The new signings were thought to be of a higher pedigree, technically, and one expected Valverde to be pushed to the bench.
However, what the 24-year-old has accomplished so far this season is nothing short of astounding. In seven La Liga appearances, he has scored three goals and provided one assist. In Europe, he has one goal and an assist to his name in just three appearances.
He was La Liga’s Player of the Month for September, which only barely begins to explain his tremendous start to the season.
Even when not involved directly in the goals, his influence on the field has been unparalleled. In Los Blancos’ recent win over Shakhtar midweek, the midfielder was one of the best players on the field with a whopping seven key passes and three shots on target.
In Valverde, Ancelotti has the unique profile of a midfielder who offers dynamicity in the final third. His tenacious nature makes him a force to reckon with off the ball, and one does not need to elaborate much on his capabilities in possession.
He will look to boss the right side of midfield again against Getafe when he will go face to face against ex-Barcelona man Carles Alena and the young Juan Iglesias.
3. A tightrope to tread
Seven games into the new La Liga season, Real Madrid boast 19 of a possible 21 points. Their only draw of the season came on the last matchday against Osasuna when Karim Benzema missed a late penalty.
Despite enjoying an almost perfect run domestically, the men in white can only boast of being second to their arch-rivals Barcelona. The Catalans sit at the pinnacle of the table with equal points but a far better goal difference.
The situation on the standings points to a hard-fought and tight title race that will go down to the wire. Both Barcelona and Real Madrid are in their element and look set for record-breaking seasons. It will be a race of who will slip up first from here on, and Los Blancos will not want to be the party to concede.
A win over Getafe will put pressure on Barcelona who play their eighth league game only on Sunday night. The Blaugranas are coming off a defeat to Inter and have a must-win game against the same opposition in less than a week. With Xavi’s side being under pressure, this could be Real Madrid’s chance to steal the lead again.
Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Valencia
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.