15 games and 15 years. That is the time that has elapsed since Getafe last bettered Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The record is a promising one for the hosts heading into tomorrow’s clash against Jose Bordalas’ men. Yet, one remembers that Getafe beat Real Madrid at Coliseum Alfonso Perez less than two years ago.
Getafe have carved a reputation for themselves as one of La Liga’s most rigid and gritty teams in recent seasons. In fact, they even held Barcelona to a draw on Matchday 1 with their aggressive and passionate brand of football.
With Los Blancos locking horns with the fellow Madrid-based side tomorrow, Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of kickoff.
Hola Santiago Bernabeu
In a league with 20 teams, only ten get the privilege of beginning the new season at their home ground. After all, a team’s first home game of the season is critical, if not fundamental, in ensuring they get off on the right foot.
Los Blancos belonged to the group of ten who started the season away from home. They travelled to San Mames for Matchday 1 where they saw off Athletic Club before travelling to the Power Horse Stadium to face off against Almeria.
The long journey away from home did not end there for the Merengues. Matchday 3 saw them pitted against Celta Vigo at the challenging Municipal de Balaidos in what was their third straight game on the road.
Now, after playing for three weeks in opponents’ fortresses, the men in white finally return to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Saturday’s early kick-off against Getafe will be the team’s first game of the season at their own den. Real Madrid have not lost to the Azulones at home in their past 15 meetings, and their last home defeat to Getafe notably came in 2008.
With Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid staring them in the eye in the next two games, it will be essential for Carlo Ancelotti’s men to keep their momentum going tomorrow. Yet, one knows will will be far from easy.
The #1 debate
Real Madrid signed Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga on a season-long loan deal earlier this summer with the guarantee that he would be their starting goalkeeper.
The Spanish shot-stopper has since made his debut and even recorded his first clean sheet in the white jersey. Yet, his position in the squad is unclear.
His only competitor, Andriy Lunin, was never expected to pose any direct threat to Kepa’s chances. Yet, credit where it is due, the young Ukrainian star has made a strong case for himself with recent performances.
The 24-year-old started for Carlo Ancelotti’s side against both Real Sociedad and Almeria and produced solid performances between the sticks.
Lunin recorded one save and two high claims in his performance against the Basque opposition. His subsequent game against Almeria may not have borne a clean sheet, but he recorded a stunning seven saves including four from inside the box at Power Horse Stadium.
Kepa is well placed to hold on to his starting spot for tomorrow’s match against Getafe. Yet, at the same time, it would not be surprising to see the Ukrainian star back in action either.
The Vinicius conundrum
The hosts’ biggest problem heading into Matchday 4 is Vinicius Jr’s absence. The Brazilian star was injured in the team’s 1-0 win over Celta Vigo and is now ruled out of action for at least six weeks.
Earlier this week, reports stated that Ancelotti was contemplating a change in formation in light of the star’s absence.
His idea was said to be to morph the existing 4-4-2 diamond formation into a 4-3-2-1 pyramid structure. In such a system, Jude Bellingham and Rodrygo Goes would serve as the attacking midfielders behind Joselu.
Updates later in the week denied any such change in formation. Yet, one can never be sure with a tactician like Ancelotti.
It will thus be interesting to see whom the manager counts on in Vinicius’ absence tomorrow. He could opt to deploy an out-and-out striker in Joselu, a more creative option in Brahim Diaz or add another midfielder to the fray in Luka Modric.
Needless to say, all eyes will be on the Real Madrid coach tomorrow at the Santiago Bernabeu. After all, he is under pressure to find a new working system without Vinicius for the next six weeks.
Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Las Palmas | La Liga
The heartbreak at Civitas Metropolitano saw Real Madrid drop down to third on the La Liga standings for the first time this season. They now sit on 15 points from six games, only one point behind leaders Barcelona.
Yet, there is barely time for the team to recover. Less than 72 hours after their defeat, the Merengues play host to Las Palmas in the seventh Matchday of La Liga in a tricky fixture.
Garcia Pimienta’s side have improved leaps and bounds in recent times, although their start to the new season has been far from positive.
Las Palmas were winless in their first five league games but picked up a first win in their most recent outing against Granada.
With the visitors coming off their first win and the hosts their first loss, it will be interesting to see how the game of momentum plays out.
Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Wednesday’s clash at Santiago Bernabeu.
The important reaction
Having secured six wins in six games under their belt, the threat of breaking the moment was always lurking around the corner from Real Madrid. After all, their wins to that point were not always convincing.
Jude Bellingham’s magic, Joselu’s constant threat and the talented midfield helped Los Blancos on their way to scrappy wins over the weeks. Yet, it was always glaringly clear that they had deficiencies in defence and the final third.
All of Real Madrid’s troubles came to the forefront on Sunday and were left glaringly exposed. The end result was a defeat that left a bitter taste in the mouths of players and fans.
Despite facing their first setback of the season, however, the men in white have no time to lament. After all, the hectic schedule leaves them little time between games.
It is thus of utmost importance that Real Madrid does not slip into a vicious state of negative momentum. As they face off against Las Palmas midweek, Carlo Ancelotti’s side needs a strong and dominant win to keep spirits high.
Considering that they will be back at the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid will be the favourites by far on the night. Nevertheless, there will be pressure on the players to take all three points.
Limelight on the manager
The aftermath of the defeat to Atletico Madrid sent ripples through the Spanish media. It was reported that the Real Madrid board was not entirely happy with the list of ‘sins’ committed by Ancelotti in the clash at Civitas Metropolitano.
It thus goes without saying that the limelight will be on the manager on Wednesday.
For starters, the Italian gaffer must get the starting lineup right and not go overboard with his rotations. Aurelien Tchouameni is a must for the Merengues’ defensive efforts and must be introduced back into the lineup midweek.
Moreover, there will be pressure on him to revert to the winning 4-4-2 diamond formation featuring two natural forwards including a striker.
With Joselu returning to the lineup, Jude Bellingham must shift back to his more comfortable attacking midfield role.
Moreover, the manager must strike the right balance between youth and experience, for both Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can no longer start together.
Perhaps the most important job Ancelotti is faced with, however, is in defence. Both David Alaba and Antonio Rudiger appeared lost in the last game, and it remains to be seen if the manager ropes Nacho Fernandez in to strike a better dynamic.
Return of the magician
While Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao are amongst Real Madrid’s most valuable players, it is Vinicius Jr’s injury that hit the club the hardest.
The Merengues unfortunately have a very thin and fragile forward line this season with just three players competing for two spots. Of the three names, Vinicius is the single most important one.
The Brazilian star may not have started the 2023-24 season at his optimal level considering his altered role in the new formation. Yet, he is the Merengues’ most lethal weapon to break open defences and create chances.
The men in white have had problems since the Selecao star hobbled off the field injured against Celta Vigo.
Their games against Getafe and Union Berlin were both down to last-gasp winners, while the defeat to Atletico Madrid showed everything wrong with the team.
Vinicius Jr is set to make his return in tomorrow’s clash at Santiago Bernabeu, and there could be no better news for Ancelotti.