Let's keep things in perspective and remember that this is just the preseason and it's difficult to discern too much about the team based on the preseason, especially at such an early stage. Just like we cannot put much stock into a 6-0 thrashing of Bournemouth, we cannot put much stock into struggling against Olympique Lyon, a quality side who happens to be much further along in its preseason than Real Madrid.
Carlo Ancelotti is not one to be rigid with formations and positioning. We've gotten quite the taste of that in only two preseason matches so far. Real Madrid started the match with one holding midfielder in Asier Illaramendi with Isco to his right and Di María to the left. Both Isco and Di María are accustomed to playing in opposite areas. Denis Cheryshev was placed at left back again, and unfortunately had a nightmare in the first half.
Again though, we must stress not to overreact considering this is the second time he's ever played the position and the first time against quality competition. He was simply the most visible of Real's problems in the first half. But truth be told, if you ask me he doesn't project very well for the position, all things considered. A competent winger in the future, sure. But I don't think it's going to work out for him at left back, but it may not have ever been a serious experiment as much as it was a way of accounting for the left back absences of the preseason. Oh the importance of Fábio Coentrão.
Illaramendi started but only lasted just over half an hour, as the player's been recovering from a muscle injury. In that time, he had good moments of defensive positioning early, but found it difficult to control the area once Lyon got a hold of the tempo and the match. A cross from Madrid's struggling left side led to a wonderfully taken goal by Clément Grenier to make it 1-0 to Lyon, and that's how the first half ended.
The second half brought more positional changes where Cristiano Ronaldo lined up at striker briefly before Álvaro Morata took his place. Modric and Di María took up advanced roles in behind him. Casemiro, Khedira and Cheryshev formed a deeper midfield three. The Pepe-Nacho combination was broken up by Mateos's substitution for Pepe, but not before Nacho and Pepe failed to handle a cross and Lisandro López made it 2-0.
Real slowly got some sort of hold back later in the second half. Di María's 75th minute cross found the head of Modric well, but clanked off the crossbar. Minutes later, Cheryshev found a bit of redemption when he charged into the box and was brought down for a penalty, which Morata converted coolly to make it 2-1. Casemiro capitalized on his impressive physical presence and nailed home a corner in the 84th minute to knot things up for the draw.
As expected, there was some good and some not so good. We're two matches into the preseason so far and the two things that have stood out to me the most is the boost that Carvajal gives the right flank and Casemiro's progression. Carvajal has been quite impressive in defense and attack. Casemiro has cleaned up his passing (though there's still far to go) to go along with his imposing physicality. And he's gotten two goals in two matches to boot.
Real Madrid will take on Paris Saint-Germain next. The match is Saturday July 27th at 20:00 CET.