Review - This is how you play possession football
Benitez opted for an ultra-attacking line-up with James, Kroos, and Modric in a midfield three and with BBC up top. From the get-go Real attacked with energy, incisiveness, and passion. There was a wonderful fluidity about the attack and James was the prime reason for this as he thrived in a roaming playmaker role to the left of Kroos. He consistently made himself open for passes, pushed forward to create overloads in attack, and put in delivery after delivery to constantly threaten the Getafe defense. They simply couldn't live with the Colombian and his importance to Madrid's possession play cannot be underestimated today.
Aside from James and the good performances by Kroos and Modric, I was particularly delighted with the way Madrid pushed forward; it was a masterclass in possession football. The team was fluid all over the pitch as Vazquez and Danilo pushed forward to create overloads in critical areas and constantly provide outlets for passes. The front line in addition was superb with their movement. Benzema, Bale, and Ronaldo simply wouldn't stand still as they constantly interchanged positions and drew the Getafe defense all over the place. This made sure that our midfield constantly had options and it also made sure that creating chances was extremely easy.
The first goal provided an excellent first glimpse of this as Pepe (yes Pepe) charged up with the ball and interchanged passes with Vazquez (who pushed high up the pitch all night) before delivering a pinpoint cross for Benzema to smash home. The ball was circulated quickly to the flanks to create this chance and the combination on the right bamboozled the Getafe defense.
The second goal was much the same, with the ball being circulated in quick fashion and with the movement of the Madrid midfield and attack constantly creating options. James's chip was delightful and Benzema showed a real killer instinct in the box to gobble up his second of the night.
Madrid's third goal was another case of overloading the flanks to draw in Getafe, before James pushed into space and released a ball into the box. BBC was just too good in and around the area the whole match, and it showed as Ronaldo nonchalantly teed up Bale for an assist.
But Madrid weren't just good in possession. The fourth goal was a classic counter that we have all come to know and love. Kroos's assist was excellent-and might just shut up the dissenters who think that he can only pass sideways while Ronaldo's finish was exceedingly good.
In defense we had a decent enough night with Madrid rarely tested and when you consider the fact that we had a makeshift back line we actually did quite well. Pepe and Nacho shut down most attacks that came their way, but they were at fault for allowing Alexis to head home with relative ease. Danilo and Vazquez were also solid, with the latter really impressing in a fullback role and providing Madrid a constant option out wide in attack.
Bits and Pieces
It is clear that Benitez doesn't trust Arbeloa after the horrible mistake versus Atletico.
Getafe saw significant space in between the midfield and defense due to our ultra-attacking line-up, they just weren't good enough to exploit it. Surely we can't set-up this way in a bigger game.
(Infographic taken from fourfourtwo.com)