Real Madrid kept a clean sheet while putting three past Paco Ayesteran’s men. Goals from Casemiro, Asensio, and Isco got the job done, and Real Madrid took some baby steps to regaining their confidence. Here’s our quick reaction. Still to come: Player ratings, post-game podcast, and tactical review.
Real Madrid needed this. They needed a win with a convincing scoreline. They needed to be reminded what it felt like to celebrate an Asensio golazo. They needed to be convincing on the counter-attack again. And maybe they needed to play against one of the worst teams in Spain right now — the collective corpse of Las Palmas.
But it didn’t all start with daisies and daffodils. While the movement off the ball was much better today than it was in previous games, certain recurring issues were visible. Benzema looked frail in front of goal, Isco and Marcelo had trouble penetrating a packed left flank, and as Las Palmas sat in the low block, all it took for them to break Real Madrid on the counter was one single vertical pass.
Last season’s Las Palmas team that started the campaign in blitzing form, with efficient counter-attacks led by Boateng, Viera, and Roque Mesa, may have taken advantage a bit better. But this one? It could only muster one shot in the entirety of the first half.
Real Madrid opened the scoring thanks to a Casemiro header from a corner — Calleri flicking the ball behind him, which caught Vitolo napping, leaving a wide-open Casemiro.
In the second half, things continued as they were with Real Madrid recycling possession and committing a lot of bodies forward. It was this moment where everything changed:
ASENSIO's THUNDERBASTARD GOALZO pic.twitter.com/dYqnhYLWRp— M•A•J (@UltraSuristic_) November 5, 2017
It’s amazing how that goal lifted Real Madrid’s sprits. They started to play with purpose and conviction, and started to open Las Palmas a bit more. Although, admittedly, it’s still far from perfect, but it was an encouraging ‘pick-me-up’.
Ronaldo’s beautiful square pass to Isco capped the scoring to make it 3-0.
Here’s some bullet points from my notebook:
- Benzema looks poor at home. Overall OK this season, but particularly poor at home. He would’ve needed 25 bodyguards to escort him out of a restless stadium tonight.
- Jesus Vallejo was just fantastic. Real Madrid’s defensive transition is still shockingly disjointed, but Vallejo — like we’ve seen with Varane so much this season — read everything. He zipped up the passing lanes, stole Vitolo’s lunch money, and his distribution is ever-good.
- Isco enjoyed hugging the left sideline and dancing around with Marcelo. It looks nice, but it can be superfluous, and in some ways, the antithesis of efficiency. Opposing coaches have learned nullifying Marcelo puts a thorn in Zidane’s attacking scheme, and Las Palmas — like Tottenham and Girona — tried to snuff out that flank. Often you would see five players in the box waiting for Isco and Marcelo to materialize a cross that never came. I would’ve liked to have seen Isco roam away from that area to get the defensive line to shift and collapse a bit.
- Happy to see Marcos Llorente get some burn in a single pivot. Casemiro’s regressed back to some bad old habits from early last season as of late, and, blah blah blah I just wanted to see my son play ok.
- That’s the Asensio I know.
- See you on tonight’s podcast.