Zidane's men are plowing through La Liga since the Frenchman took over the team. After today's impressive 6-0 victory over Espanyol, Real Madrid have now grabbed 10 points out of 12, and have outscored their opponents 17-2. Along the way, the teams looks reinvigorated, and they're getting contributions from all over the pitch. Tonight, it was Ronaldo's hat-trick that led the way.
Here are three things we noted:
- Isco and James looked great. That myth of Isco and James struggling to play with each other is quickly becoming debunked. Today, Isco played in a deeper position - hovering around the middle of the park and providing occasional support for Marcelo; while James slotted into Bale's position - filling in beautifully with a goal and an assist. The assist, it has to be said, was flawless. It was a cross whipped in from the right with pace and accuracy which set-up Karim Benzema perfectly.
What most impressed me about Isco tonight was his work-rate (something I touched on on Friday). The way he pressured opposing midfielders into coughing up possession really set the tone for the entire team. At times, his eagerness to win the ball caused him to over-commit himself and get beat - but those instances are excusable given how hard he's working.
- The position of the midfield trio without the ball was exceptional at all times. Kroos, Modric, and Isco were able to close down channels, while constantly playing in proximity to each other to provide passing outlets. The three of them combined for 173 passes.
- Espanyol were wildly aggressive tonight - fouling all over the pitch. And it wasn't just tactical fouls - there were plenty of dirty tackles aimed at the shins of Real Madrid players. In one instance, Modric was deep in his own half and dribbling into trouble, he was bailed out by a horrible Victor Sanchez tackle. It was infuriating and nerve-wracking that the players could come out of this win with an injury or two. Overall, Espanyol committed 20 fouls (below), and plenty of them were rash.
Make sure to tune into tomorrow morning's podcast where we'll elaborate more on this game, and tweet us your questions in the meantime!