1. Arbeloa's hustle makes an impact: despite losing his starting berth to the electrifying Dani Carvajal last season, veteran right back Álvaro Arbeloa directly contributed to both of Real Madrid's goals against Deportivo. Firstly, he managed to prevent a Deportivo goal kick and cross the ball from the end-line to an open Isco who beautifully curled the ball into the back of the net. On the second goal, Arbie managed to lob the ball over a crowd of defenders closing down on him to find a breaking Cristiano Ronaldo who then squared to goalscorer Karim Benzema. While Arbeloa lacks the pace and flair of Carvajal, it was encouraging to see his effort and determination pay off to the benefit of the side.
2. Isco continues to dominate: the former Málaga man continues to demonstrate his exquisite technique and graft in midfield. From scoring the opening goal to breaking down Deportivo's lines, the young Spaniard has proven that he is more than capable fill-in for Luka Modric in the Croatian star's absence. With James sidelined for two months, we may well see a midfield of Isco-Kroos-Modric come March.
3. Illaramendi plays it safe, and that's ok: while he lacks Xabi Alonso's passing range and vision, Illara is secure in possession and excels at playing one-touch passes to teammates to relieve pressure in the midfield. While Lucas Silva may eventually take his minutes, I believe Illara offers a defensive quality unlike any other midfielder on the squad. He just needs the manager's trust and confidence.
4. Cristiano needs to chill: while he's Real Madrid's undisputed star and talisman, CR needs to ease up on his critiques to teammates when in fact it's he that plays an off pass or loses possession during a game. There were several occasions against Depor (and it's a common occurrence in other games) where Cristiano overtly complained to Isco and Benzema for not reaching a ball or making the correct run when in reality the one responsible for killing the play was Cristiano himself. He's a great teammate, but sometimes I believe he could be even better.