A not-quite tidy, but safe win from Real Madrid. It’s not that they played poorly, but they weren’t exactly tested either. Poor control (Las Palmas had better pass accuracy) and wasted chances were balanced by a wall of defense and some really silky link-up play up top.
What really masked the deficiencies was a) Las Palmas were mostly toothless. In spite of plenty of shots, they only threatened once and b) we not only had tons of counter-attack opportunities, but we looked pretty good doing it (albeit against an almost certain-to-be-relegated side)
Navas - 7.5
One key save, good positioning, not much else to do. Controlled his area well with the exception of trying to dribble and pass through two defenders late in the 2nd half. Was lucky.
Nacho - 7
Out in 28th minute with an apparent injury. Was heartbreaking to see Nacho’s obvious sadness on the bench as he was subbed off injured for the first time in his career. With the UCL quarterfinals and the World Cup a mere 75 days away - Animo Nacho!
Varane - 8
Quiet but imperious in the 1st half. He and Vallejo made quite the team. Very little through the middle was possible for Las Palmas.
Vallejo - 9
Calm and possessed. Some really fine positioning and tackling and vision. Seriously, I don’t think this kid put a single wrong foot forward all match, hence the higher rating. Maybe didn’t technically perform any better than his CB partner, but given his few minutes this season, a pretty much flawless match gets him a 9 in my book.
Ah, Theo. The usual brutish and quick play from the newly bleached-haired beast. Made some good runs and controlled initial passes well, but overall control and passing where it counts continues to let him down. The worst example was the blistering 80 yard run in the waning minutes with both Benzema and Bale open with a square ball and he sailed it.
Asensio - 6.5
A bit all over, but aside a few nice link-ups, didn’t provide a ton of value. Came alive a little bit in the 2nd half with a few tidy possessions, but didn’t see much of the ball and when he did, didn’t make a ton of it.
Vazquez - 7
Aside from a couple dispossessions, was great on the right side. Aggressive, covered on defense and part of many build ups - one a penalty. Solid hustle in the second half and some nice link up along the right side. The Lucas standard performance.
Sublime pass to Bale for the opening goal. Maestro of the midfield as always. What can you say about such consistency? Subbed off for Kovacic in the 60th min to rest up for Juve.
Solid game from Case. Unreal pass to an offsides bale in the 9th minutes. Managed to stay calmer under pressure than normal.
Benzema - 8
Beautiful 1st half. Quintessential hold-up and build up play. Netted penalty in his 400th match for RM. Consistently silky link-up play with Bale. Was perhaps too unselfish in the 2nd half, and wasted a couple of good opportunities, or as we say in my house with the greatest affection, “He Benzema’d it!” on that great cross from Vazquez.
Bale - 9
Textbook Bale. Classic goal with a stunning finish for his 10th goal of the season. Massive part of offense the whole game long. Got his brace on a clear penalty, which makes for 11 goals in 15 games, and was unlucky not to get his hattrick. His performance was grand, and MOTM for me, but he was certainly made to look even better by a Las Palmas poor, and at time ridiculously high, back line.
Achraf - 7.5
Very solid performance from our youngster as he was called in unexpectedly for Nacho early on. Roaming and fast as always, marked very well, and was surprisingly calm in and accurate in possession for not having played in a while. Very solid performance from the Morrocan.
Kovacic - 7.5
His dribbling and confidence on the ball somehow, some way, keeps improving and he’s so freaking sexy to watch. Sprinkle in some serious defense and once again he shines.
Llorrente - 6.5
A little timid from Marcos at times. His lack of game time shows and wasn’t helped by a dreadful giveaway at the top of our box. But overall not too bad in the middle and started to show some vision in the last 10 mins.