Los Blancos drop more points after another lackluster performance.
The first half was pretty uncomfortable to watch as Athletic Club missed a few clear cut chances and Real Madrid couldn't put much together offensively.
The second half was a pretty open affair, with some decent sustained pressure to finish up the match, but poor tactics, poor passing, and continued poor finishing, meant that Real Madrid disappointingly, couldn't take advantage of Barcelona dropping more points. While it was nice to see 20 mins of sustained pressure for the first time in a while, and the first actual Real Madrid bombardment of an opposition goal for the first time in forever, we still look out of sorts and our play wasn't cohesive.
I'll preface these ratings by saying that these are going to be pretty brief because I don't have much good to say. Considering that this squad was the exact same team that won the Champions League final last year, this continued mediocrity is making for a pretty frustrating patch.
Keylor Navas - 6.5
Our Tico keeper made his return to La Liga action after an injury spell with a solid performance. He was called on more in the first half, and did what he need to do to keep the ball out of the net. But he, and the whole team, were extremely fortunate that Bilbao could finish a few of their choice chances.
Dani Carvajal - 7
Carvajal put in a solid shift on both ends of the pitch today as was evidenced by the vast majority of Bilbao's chances coming from the opposite side. His offensive link up was consistent, and he put in some solid runs and a few decent crosses.
Rafael Varane - 6.5
Rafa wasn’t bad, and he and Ramos pretty much shut down the offense in the latter portion of the second half, but he was caught badly out of position a few times in the first half that could have led to a goal if Bilbao could finish.
Sergio Ramos - 6
Pretty much the same comments as Varane. Some poor decisions and placement during the first half, lockdown in the second, but pretty mediocre throughout. Was fairly unlucky to get a second yellow in the closing moments of the game - the elbow was high but nothing aggressive.
Marcelo - 6
Some good energy from Marcelo throughout most of the match, and some decent link up on the left side, but as with many recent matches, very average to poor crossing. Throw in some wildly mis-hit half-volleys, and nothing much to talk about
Modric - 7.5
Our little maestro once again showed his worth as (easily) arguably the best mid-fielder on the planet. Was everywhere he needed to be on offense and defense, and was our best creator on the day. If it wasn't for Zidane's broken tactics (more on this later), Modric's efforts might have been more productive if he didn't have to be all over covering for Isco.
Casemiro - 6.5
The Brazilian made his usual stalwart presence felt in front of the backline today, particularly when snuffing out some of the attempted Bilbao counters. But otherwise didn't help the already disjointed midfield any as he got in the way more than he facilitated build-up.
Kroos - 5.5
Ah, our resident Cyborg. Not sure what's been cooking around in the otherwise unflappable German brain, but he's been sub-par for a while. A number of blatantly mis-placed passes in the first half were just plain head-scratchers. He, like the rest of the team, picked up the intensity in the last 25 mins, but wasn't able to get his two outside-of-the-box shots on target.
Isco - 7
Isco should get two ratings, one for his actual play - he did his disco thing, had a few nice key passes, and was all over the pitch, but if we rated him on how he positively impacted the game, he'd get about a 4. Kiyan has pontificated poignantly recently on how Isco's constant roaming is doing way more harm than good, and today was another great example.
Benzema - 6
Aside from a couple of poor touches in the first half, Benzema put in another average, and disappointing shift. A few tidy link-ups aside, he went absent for stretches, couldn't finish, and was poor alongside his teammates in trying to break down Bilbao's back line.
Ronaldo - 7
This match was another in a long line of solid efforts from CR7, but without any result. He continues to work hard, find open space, drag defenders away from the play, and get chances, but since he's isolated far too often, and Real Madrid continue to bomb crosses in from the wings to one or two targets surrounded by 4-5 defenders, we just aren't getting goals from him. He had a couple of really solid opportunities that he either couldn't get on target or were thwarted by Kepa. I know we are hoping for the goals to start coming, but since the team isn't creating the kind of chances they should be, or getting him the service he's accustomed to, it might still be a while.
Zidane - 3
Once upon a time, Zidane was labeled the "tactical banana" for how all over the place his tactics were. Part of it might have been finding the right style, but we liked to that that it was more-so him adjusting for the situation. Regardless, it worked. But recently, he seems dead-set on allowing Isco to roam freely which is preventing us from consistency and fluidity on both sides of the ball. I just don't understand the "doing the same thing but expecting a different result." Add to that, that this side seems to be a shell of it's former self, and Zidane has some serious work to do if he wants to salvage this season. Watching this same squad that won the Champions League final isn't even like watching the same team.
Kovacic - N/A
Mayoral - N/A