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Immediate Reaction: Real Madrid 5 - 0 Sevilla

The fun version of Real Madrid is back. Dare we say the team is clicking into gear?

Real Madrid v Sevilla - La Liga Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Real Madrid carved Sevilla today 5-0 (Nacho, Ronaldo x2, Kroos, Achraf), doing all of their damage in the first half while kicking into cruise-control for the second. Here’s our quick reaction. Still to come: Player ratings, tactical review, takeaways, and post-game podcast.

Well, this was a fun one to be at.

Real Madrid steamrolled Sevilla at the Bernabeu tonight — scoring five goals in the first half and defanging the away team completely while punishing them on the offensive end.

This was a sad Sevilla team today, to be sure, but Real Madrid also made sure of that. Everyone was concerned with the initial line-up, pointing to the foreshadowing it implied — Asensio and Lucas hugging the flanks while they (along with Marcelo and Achraf), pinged cross after cross.

That’s not what transpired. Real Madrid had a nice balanced attack filled with counters, movement down the central channels, and pragmatic build-up in possession. Zidane’s men had just nine crosses — most of which were good quality. The team averages 31 crosses at the Bernabeu this season. This was a nice change in the offensive scheme today.

Here are some bullet-points from my notepad

  • Achraf was just fantastic tonight on both ends of the field. Say what you like about him: dribbling, crossing, whatever — his defense is so, so solid. I extracted a lot of beautiful defensive sequences tonight from him for my next column. He really held it down defensively, outpaced everyone, and looked extra comfortable after his goal which seemed to take some pressure of his shoulders.
  • Apart from Achraf, the other standout I had was Asensio, who worked really hard and roamed intelligently. For Real Madrid’s second goal, he popped up as an outlet centrally in a time where Real Madrid were going through a period of stagnancy. He turned, carved through Sevilla with some nice dribbling, and caused their defense to collapse all the while slipping a beautiful through-ball to Ronaldo.
  • Loved, loved, loved the counter-attack on Real Madrid’s third goal -- Kroos as the ball-carrier in transition played a nice one-two with Vazquez on the right. Right decisions all around.
  • Great to see the goals starting to come from Ronaldo in La Liga. He’s had several games this season where he’s played well but has been unlucky not to score. As Gabe famously says on the podcast, “It’s like a ketchup bottle. When you first squeeze it it doesn’t come out, but then the whole bottle pours.
  • This is the gear we’ve been waiting for all season. It hasn’t clicked fully yet, but these are good signs. Sevilla have had a mediocre season all in all, but were starting to round into form heading into this match. What’s our next game in La Liga again? Oh, right. Good timing indeed.

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