Real Madrid expectedly rolled out a lineup full of second-string players mixed with Castilla players on the bench. Therefore, it was no surprise that it took them a while to get going, and to understand each other and generally get in synch.
The first half was disappointing, if you were expecting a free-flowing beating of Fuenlabrada, but things improved a lot in the second half. And just a quick mention about Fuenlabrada, they are a very good Segunda B side and they showed it throughout the match.
Kiko Casilla— 8: As an avid Juvenil A fan, I was kind of hoping that Moha Ramos would get the nod, but Zidane thought otherwise. Casilla produced a standard performance. He was solid and distributed quite well. It’s good to see that he is ready to substitute Navas, should he get injured.
Achraf Hakimi — 7: Achraf, much like his teammates, had a bad start. His touches were very heavy and he didn’t deliver precise crosses. However, he did improve in the second half and showed glimpses of his attacking prowess that we know he has. His great run into the box ended up as a penalty (a bit arguable as to whether or not it was a penalty or a free kick).
Jesus Vallejo — 7: A very solid debut for the young Spaniard, which was tainted by his unnecessary rash tackle at the very end of the match. It was a tackle he could have and should have avoided. Otherwise, Jesus was strong positionally and his passing was on point. It’s a shame that he will miss the next game, but it was an encouraging debut.
Nacho— 7: Mr. Solid gave his usual standard and I’m sure he thoroughly enjoyed captaining this Real Madrid side.
Tejero — 6: The least exciting starter, who started on his weaker side. Tejero didn’t offer that much and was uninspiring. Zidane seems to like him and appreciate his versatility, but it comes at a cost. He doesn’t excel at any aspects of the game.
Marcos Llorente — 7: Finally, we were blessed with another Llorente sighting. Llorente played in a double pivot with Dani Ceballos and I think it’s starting to be clear that he needs to be played as a single pivot to fully utilize his skills.
Dani Ceballos — 8.5: A great performance by the new joiner. When Dani Ceballos was on the ball, Real Madrid came alive. He was by far the best player in the first half and even Zidane would appreciate his sublime roulette. He was the main instigator of attacking moves while maintaining his usual impressive work rate. If he can run smarter, he will certainly cement his place in this team for years to come.
Genialidad de Dani Ceballos pic.twitter.com/F8EpFCTCUy— Real Madrid C.F. (@adnblanco_) October 26, 2017
Marco Asensio — 7: A bit of a timid performance from Marco. He was deployed down the middle and he's always a bit off when he's played there. I'm yet to find the exact reason, but so far he was unable to connect the lines like Isco can and I think he is better off on the right wing.
Lucas Vazquez — 5.5: Something is going on with Lucas. He isn't offering the attacking spark as he did the last season. He is quite wasteful and his passes are off. Hopefully, the converted penalty will boost his morale and he will return to his former self.
Theo Hernandez — 6.5: Yeah, I'm not a fan of Theo as a winger (and for the record, this also applies to Marcelo). Theo needs space to run into and as a winger, he doesn't have that. I don't know if Zidane sees him as Bale 2.0 or if he simply wants to test his versatility, but this isn't working.
Borja Mayoral — 7: Borja was very disconnected in the first half, but recovered quite well in the second half. Fuenlabrada's keeper pulled off some great saves to deny him a goal (this seems to be a theme for this season). Let's hope that he can score some ugly goals and get the goal machine going.
Franchu — 6: He should've started instead of Tejero and I'm sure that he would impress much more. Franchu came on very late in the game was unable to make a meaningful impact.
Man of the Match: Dani Ceballos