Julen Lopetegui is now under immense pressure. The fourth consecutive poor result for Madrid now has some sectors of the fan base calling for his head. Regardless of whether it is right or wrong to judge a coach after two months of the season, the upcoming El Clasico may very well decide Lopetegui’s fate.
Thibaut Courtois—6: Still requires some work with the ball at his feet, but was certainly confident in the early phases of the game. Easily comes off his line to scoop up corners and set pieces. Maybe could have done better on the last minute goal by Manu Garcia as he got stuck between two minds.
Alvaro Odriozola—6.5: Decent game from the new recruit. Was able to utilize his speed to break through the Alaves backline, but the final product on his crosses were disappointing.
Raphael Varane—8.5: Arguably Madrid’s best player this season and over the last 14 months. Quietly puts in defensive shift after shift to the highest standard. Made a crucial goal line save in the first half to keep Alaves off the board.
Sergio Ramos—6.5: Assured in possession and aggressive in pushing the defensive line forward.
Nacho—5: Marcelo’s absence has been noted— Nacho provides defense solidity and made a few crucial interceptions when the team pushed forward in search of the win, but his attacking output handicaps the team.
Casemiro—5.5: Another game where the opposition surrendered position to Madrid. The longer Madrid searched for a goal, the more questionable Casemiro’s presence became—ultimately was replaced for Asensio Round the hour mark.
Luka Modric—5: Another performance where the Croatian looked a shadow of his normal-level. Had a few inch perfect through balls for Odriozola to run on to, but provided little else.
Toni Kroos—6: Was probably the best of the midfield three, but still is not saying a lot in this match. The possession game Madrid imposed had no “bite” to it— the team failed to pierce the Alaves backline and surmount significant pressure.
Dani Ceballos—7: Once again Dani Ceballos was given a free role starting from the left wing. He replaced Asensio in this match and early on looked up for it, producing two good shots and connecting with his teammates. He was one of the few players looking for vertical outlets. Rather than grow, his influence faded as the match wore on.
Gareth Bale—6.5: Had to come off with what looks like another injury in the 80th minute. During his time on the pitch, he was the most dangerous of the Madrid attack, but failed to really impose himself and lacked the protagonist role.
Karim Benzema—5: Pulled At half-time for Mariano, apparently due to injury. Was forced to come deep as the team lacked options in the central third of the pitch. Service-wise was fed nothing from his teammates but additionally he failed to produce any individual skill that could create his own opportunity.
Mariano—6: As always, was actively and lively and creates opportunities almost out of nothing. Played off the backline, always looking for a slipped in through ball. Had one major opportunity, where he faked the shot three times—the third being one too many and failed to get the shot off.
Marco Asensio—4.5: Was brought on to be the game changer and possibly prove a point after being dropped to the bench, but failed to produce anything of note.
Vinicius Junior—4.5: Came in for the injured Bale and saw a decent amount of the ball, but was wasteful in possession. Went at the outside back and usually won his duel, but his cross or pass each time went to the opposition.