Real Madrid's first game of the pre-season against Roma turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. Although it's obviously too early to foresee how Benítez's side will fare throughout the real season, the players showed a serious lack of creativity and some worrying struggles on defending set pieces. Benítez will most definitely want to see improvements on those two fronts as Real Madrid take on Manchester City before packing up and visit China.
3 things to watch for
- Kiko Casilla's potential debut and Casemiro's return. How will Benítez manage his two goalkeepers? Keylor Navas played the whole game against Roma but Casilla wasn't available then. Will Casilla play at all against Manchester City? This is definitely something to keep an eye on. Also, Casemiro should get some minutes.
- Bale's position. Much has been said about Gareth Bale's position in Rafa Benítez's Real Madrid, and he played well by having a lot of freedom against Roma. The Welsh player seems to be much more comfortable behind the striker, but how could that affect Ronaldo's game? Cristiano completed a very poor performance last Saturday. Was it just a coincidence?
- Isco. He was definitely the brightest spot against Roma. James is still enjoying his time off and Isco must take advantage from that while he still can. James was a crucial player for Carlo Ancelotti, but Real's system has changed and nobody knows if the Colombian will be able to replicate his good debut season this year. Isco knows that and that's why he's working hard to earn a starting spot in Benítez's plans.