MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 04: Gonzalo Higuain of Real Madrid celebrates scoring during the la Liga match between Real Madrid and Espanyol at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 4, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Real Madrid started the game nicely. Coutinho, Weiss and Verdú had no chance of creating dangerous plays against Madrid's pressure. Higuaín, Özil and Kaka didn't allow Pochettino's players to get the ball out of their half. But even though the team started great, Real Madrid scored its first goal in the 23rd minute off a careless turnover by Espanyol's defense. Özil passed the ball to Higuaín, the Argentinian player saw Cristiano at his left and passed the ball to la Liga's Top Scorer.
This first goal made things even easier for the team. The players started to perform more comfortably. Khedira and Alonso did not have much to do, and the only Real Madrid man that was performing badly was Carvalho. He looked slow and whenever he got the ball, he created danger for Casillas. It must be hard for a player to see his own stadium boo him 20 minutes into the game. The fans at the Bernabéu should realize that their attitude won't improve the player's performance, but rather only puts more pressure on the player.
Real Madrid's second goal was beautiful. Khedira gave the ball to Cristiano Ronaldo, who touched it to Özil. The German player placed the ball ahead of Khedira. Khedira finished the play by scoring his first goal in la Liga.
Both teams headed to the locker room. Pochettino felt they needed to change things up, so he took out Álvaro Vázquez and Coutinho for Sergio García and Raúl Baena in the field. Mourinho saw that Carvalho, who also had a yellow card, was struggling, so he decided to introduce Raphael Varane.
Real Madrid is lucky to have this young man on the team. He is surely going to be a great defender, and he might already be Real Madrid's third best center back.
Only two minutes after kickoff, Higuaín scored his first goal of the game. He had missed a good chance during the first half, and the Argentinian player clearly needed some goals to put his bad streak behind him. In the 66th minute Kaka also wanted to redeem himself from his poor form lately and scored after a good pass by Cristiano. The ball went in after hitting the post.
Kaka's game wasn't over. He assisted Higuaín for Real Madrid's fifth goal. Kaka probably completed his best game of the season. Real Madrid fans should hope this form continues, because if the Brazilian player can perform at this level, the team can, too.
Morata and Callejón joined the game for Higuaín and Özil and both received standing ovations. Callejón was almost invisible, but Morata had a good chance to score at the end of the game after a good pass by Cristiano Ronaldo. Espanyol's Goalkeeper Kiko Casillas completed a good game, which kept Real Madrid from scoring even more goals.
The team will now travel to Sevilla to visit Betis's stadium. The Andalusian team has not been playing great llately, but these games are always dangerous. The main goal has to be keeping this 10-point lead against Barcelona. If Real Madrid manages to finish this month with the exact same lead, they could still lose some points in April when they play Sevilla, Valencia, Barcelona and Osasuna. Di María and Benzema should be ready for those games--we'll be needing them.
Who was the Man of the Match?
Higuaín (57 votes)
Kaka' (494 votes)
Özil (68 votes)
Khedira (6 votes)
Other (16 votes)
641 total votes