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3 things we learned from Madrid's 1-2 victory against FC Barcelona

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Do Los Blancos have what it takes to fight for the Champions League title?

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Real Madrid pulled off a surprising and impressive comeback against Barcelona. Yes, Zidane's men were 10 points behind in the standings so there wasn't much at stake, but this win could be very important for the morale of the players down the road. All things considered, they've proven they can beat the reigning European champions at their own ground and down to 10 men.

  1. As hard as it may sound, this team doesn't need Isco or James in the lineup. Both of them can be useful coming off the bench because of their playmaking abilities. They can also play minutes to rotate Benzema, Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Modric or Kroos, and that's definitely valuable. However, with Casemiro and Kovacic playing deep Kroos has more freedom to operate alongside Modric and that benefits the team's structure.
  2. Jesé is more than ready to be the team's first player off the bench. His performance in limited minutes yesterday was excellent. Jesé changed the course of the game with his speed when he has the ball and his good reads on offense. If Benzema isn't available, Jesé has to be the man replacing him in the Starting XI.
  3. Casemiro still needs to improve with the ball. The Brazilian midfielder completed a solid defensive performance and did a good overall job. Nonetheless, he struggled a lot when Barcelona pressured him during the first half. If he is to be a starter for Madrid, Casemiro must improve his passing to become a reliable option. He's still 24 years old, so there's room for improvement.