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 Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid | La Liga
Six games, six wins. The story for Real Madrid at the start of the new season could not be sweeter, or so it appears.
However, that could not be further away from the truth. Los Blancos have been lacklustre in most of their wins, finding resources only in the dying minutes of games to take home three points.
While the fighting spirit is a positive, making a habit of taking games deep certainly is not.
After their nervy win over Union Berlin in the Champions League, Real Madrid face their biggest challenge of the season so far – Atletico Madrid. The game against Diego Simeone’s side kicks off late on Sunday night and could prove to be decisive on the leaderboard.
Carlo Ancelotti and Simeone have enjoyed a hard-fought rivalry over the years as managers with shares almost equally split.
Heading into tonight’s game, the Italian boasts of a mild edge over the Argentine with eight wins in head-to-heads compared to Simeone’s seven.
The head-to-head statistics between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are more skewed, however, with Los Rojiblancos winning just four times to Real Madrid’s nine of the last 20.
Madrid Universal brings you three talking points from Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid.
The evergreen derby
Derbies are often the most tasty fixtures in the world of football. Of them, the Madrid derby is one that never loses spice.
Los Blancos and Los Rojiblancos have not seen eye to eye in recent years. While they have maintained diplomatic relationships to display on the fore, there is a whole lot more going on behind the scenes between the Spanish giants.
Earlier this year, the Galacticos broke the non-aggression pact with Atleti and openly began scouting and signing players from the Rojiblanco youth camp. That has only added to the existing friction between the two clubs.
Sunday’s derby will thus be an interesting one. After all, both teams have had contrasting starts to their seasons and are equally hungry for the big game.
The clash at Civitas Metropolitano will not be easy by any means.
In their last 14 appearances at the Atletico Madrid stadium, Los Blancos have lost five times, drawn six times and won just thrice. However, they did win at the stadium last season.
Expect no dearth of passion, quality football and tactical manoeuvres when the local rivals lock horns on Sunday.
The two doubts
Two of Real Madrid’s most important stars were potentially at the risk of missing the game against Atletico Madrid, albeit to different extents.
Vinicius Jr has missed Real Madrid’s last three games through injury. The Brazilian was expected to miss eight after the initial blow and a return against Atletico Madrid seemed impossible.
Magically, Vini shortened his recovery time to just half of that initially reported. Carlo Ancelotti revealed in his pre-game press conference that the Brazilian is now 100% fit and that he would travel with the squad.
The only question that remains is whether he starts or is rested out of precaution.
Jude Bellingham, meanwhile, has been the team’s most important player this season. Without him, Real Madrid would have lost 11 points so far.
The new signing was immense once again in the team’s UEFA Champions League fixture midweek, scoring a late winner for his side. Unfortunately, he suffered a stomach bug on Friday and was forced to leave training early.
The Italian tactician confirmed in his presser that Bellingham will play tomorrow. Just like in the case of Vini, the doubt is whether his participation will be as a starter or off the bench.
Need for finesse
There was really only one big takeaway from Real Madrid’s 1-0 win over Union Berlin in the UEFA Champions League – the atrocious finishing.
Los Blancos took 32 shots on the night, seven of which were on target. They recorded five big chances, missing four of them and hitting the woodwork twice.
Against a defensively resilient unit like Atletico Madrid, such slack finishing will not suffice. Ancelotti’s men must pounce on the few chances they create, especially considering that they will be hard to come by.
All eyes, thus, will be on Joselu and Rodrygo Goes. The duo both had rough nights against Union Berlin and will look to turn their fortunes around with a clinical show tomorrow.