With the biggest week of the young season ahead, Carlo Ancelotti granted starts to Isco, Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez and Nacho among others. All repaid the Boss's faith with above-average showings, meshing harmoniously with the regulars. Isco in particular shined, drifting in and out from the left flank, adding a volatile creative element to Real's attack.
Chicharito was active and industrious, tirelessly leading the line and figuring in on both of Madrid's first two goals. An absolutely beautiful ball from James Rodriguez sprung Hernandez into the box where he was pulled down, setting up a bruising Cristiano Ronaldo penalty that staked Real to a 1-0 lead. They would never look back, although Levante played Real on fairly even terms through the first quarter hour before Real switched on the afterburners and swiftly blew them away.
Levante were able to stretch Madrid a little initially and briefly signaled danger on a few counterattacking moves down the flanks. Unfortunately, the bluntness of their attack and miserable home form were on full display in the bright coastal sunshine. However, Levante nearly compounded Real's set-piece woes in the 27th minute, as poor defending and a slow reaction from Iker Casillas were redeemed by Luka Modric's acrobatic goal-line clearance. The Croatian wonder was brilliant at both ends of the pitch and, aside from a troubling (hopefully minor) knock, looks to be regaining his top form ahead of Wednesday's trip to Anfield. It was a match changing moment. Levante would barely trouble Casillas again and James took it from there.
Moments later, the Colombian unleashed a stunning, inch-perfect ball for Chicharito to knock home, giving Los Blancos a 2-0 lead. James has grown steadily minute-to-minute and match-to-match for Carlo Ancelotti and he absolutely tormented Levante with a staggering array of magical passes, artfully unlocking their defense time and again. He could very well prove to be the X-factor in his first El Clasico appearance next weekend. Isco played a clever little ball that set up a dynamic, one-of-a-kind CR7 run that saw the 'Dark Invader' slalom through a handful of Levante defenders before lashing a deadly shot past Diego Marino for a 3-0 advantage.
James finished brilliantly off a diamond pass from Toni Kroos in the second half to make it 4-0. Naming Real's man of the match would prove a truly herculean task, as so many could lay legitimate claim to the crown. It must be noted that Kroos, seemingly test-driving a Xabi Alonso type role in deep-midfield ahead of the looming showdown with Barcelona, masterfully dictated the tempo of a Real Madrid attack that boasted an incredible 91% pass success rate, according to WhoScored.
Not to be outdone, Isco closed out the scoring with a sizzling strike that made it 5-0. The only suspense remaining was whether Los Blancos would register their third consecutive clean sheet. They did, leaving Levante with three points on the way to Anfield. It was a complete performance that bodes well for the coming days.