With one eye on the Champions League bout versus Napoli, Real Madrid traveled to Pamplona with the aim of remaining leaders of La Liga. The men in Royal White were able to do just that, albeit with an uninspiring performance.
Hereon, La Liga is Real Madrid’s to lose. Threats to Real Madrid’s title race — Barcelona and Sevilla — can only pray for Real Madrid to stumble. Real Madrid may have been far from their best in their match against Osasuna, but at the end of the day they have the three points which counts.
Starting XI Ratings:
Keylor Navas (Read Keylord) - 8
While it is true that Navas has not been the Navas of last season. Lately, he has been gaining back his confidence and was one of the reasons why Real Madrid won today. The Costa Rican made a series of spectacular saves to deny Sergio Leon and co, when Osasuna looked really dangerous.
Nacho - 6
Not the worst performance of Nacho, but not the best either. Nacho could not involve himself as much as he would have liked, and was also reckless with his tackles. He couldn’t really contain Osasuna’s raiding party.
Varane - 7
The Frenchman seemed to be out-sprinted by Sergio Leon at times, which is a rarity. But, was crucial when he foiled Osasuna’s counter attempt in the dying minutes. Was good in aerial duels. Proved to be a strong physical presence allowing Ramos to try and take the ball forward.
Sergio Ramos - 7
This game marked the 500th appearance for our captain. He looked good at both ends of the pitch. Neatly distributed the ball and cleared the ball whenever called upon for service. Will be gutted with himself for missing out on scoring the header.
Danilo - 5
All hopes and prayers with Barcelona’s Vidal, Osasuna’s Tano and our very own Danilo. The Brazilian suffered what looked like a freak injury and had to be stretchered off the field. Danilo tried to get himself involved by attempting to create chances from the right, but everything he put up was dealt with relative ease.
Marcelo - 7.5
Looked dangerous as the Brazilian always does. Was en-route to producing a goal when the Brazilian swung a cross, finding Benzema on the edge of the area, with the Frenchman going wide of the mark. Marcelo did well to find Benzema again in the box, only for the Frenchman to be forced out for a goal kick. Marcelo played the role of architect of Madrid’s third goal when the Brazilian cleverly played in Vazquez for his chipped finish.
Luka Modric - 6
Not the finest of performance by the little magician. The Croatian looked fine with the ball as Madrid attempted to control a difficult game. Although it could be argued that the formation did not allow Modric to play his natural game where he likes to dictate the flow. Picked up a Yellow after greeting Berenguer with his elbow.
Casemiro - 6.5
Casemiro did well to break up plays and get involved in Osasuna’s counters. However, with the Brazilian strolling forward, there was no one to cover his position. Madrid would have been in serious trouble had they been facing a mid-high table club instead of Osasuna.
This obsession with giving Case freedom to push up is just a simple lack of consideration for how offensive shape affects defense.— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) February 11, 2017
Isco - 8
Isco was stuck in defensive duty in the first half. But, he performed his duties well. He was fantastic in the second half, making penetrating runs going forward and finished his evening after correctly anticipating and burying his opportunity to score. Real Madrid better renew Isco’s contract. Him leaving will be a big big mistake.
Karim Benzema - 6.5
Benzema was not terrible. However, he was wasteful with his opportunities to get on the score-sheet. The Frenchman was only a foot away from goal when he was played in by Ronaldo and should have put the ball in the back of the net. He however was involved in two goals, turning provider to Ronaldo’s goal with a perfectly weighted through ball.
Cristiano Ronaldo - 7
While it is true that Ronaldo hasn’t been been able to match his own towering standards, lately, the Portuguese has been improving as of late. His strike versus Osasuna meant that he has been on the score-sheet for the last three consecutive matches. Ronaldo did well to be on Benzema's through-ball and blasted an angled shot through Sirigu's legs.
The Portuguese had another glorious chance in a one-on-one with Sirigu, but the Osasuna shot-stopper did well to deny him. Around the 34th minute, Cristiano delivered a ball to Benzema that the Frenchman should have buried. Ronaldo was also fouled in the box, what seemed like a legitimate penalty, but was denied by the referee.
James Rodriguez - 6.5
James coming in changed the landscape of the game. With Madrid reverting to a 4-4-2 formation and starting to look good moving forward, it was only a matter of time before they would score. It was Isco, who would go on to score just minutes after Jame’s inclusion.
James has created an instant connection with Ronaldo since coming on. These two understand each other.— O.Dembélé fanboy (@OmVArvind) February 11, 2017
Lucas Vazquez - 6.5
Instead of Morata, it was Lucas who came in for Benzema. While Lucas is known for his incisive crosses from the right, this time around he turned scorer after finding himself on Marcelo’s ball and making no mistake in cheekily chipping the ball over Sirigu in the net.
Kovacic - N/A
Came in too late to rate.
Zinedine Zidane - 6.5
While experimenting with the 3-5-2 formation against the last on the table might seem harmless, that clearly was not the case. Zidane's insistence on fiddling with his formation made life difficult for Real Madrid in the first half. The 3-5-2 formation left the midfield in tatters. In addition, Madrid’s high line was exposed in the first half, which the raiding party of Osasuna was happy to take advantage of.
Madrid were able to be in firm control of the game after going 2-1 up. This was only possible when Zidane brought in James for the injured Danilo. With the inclusion of the Colombian, Zidane’s men switched back to a 4-4-2 formation. This enabled Isco to play in his natural position. The 3-5-2 formation created chaos at the back and Zidane will be thanking his starts for it was only Osasuna that they were facing this time.
Man of the Match:
The Costa Rican almost single-handedly saved Madrid from dropping points. Osasuna looked certain to score in many occasions, only for the hands of Keylord to deny them, time and time again.