Real Madrid defeat Leganes 4 - 1 (Bale, Benzema x2, Ramos). Here’s our quick reaction. Still to come: Player ratings, tactical review, and post-game podcast.
Bullet points from Kiyan’s notebook
- Real Madrid had control of this match from start to finish. The only period where the team looked shaken a bit was when Leganes equalized via a penalty, and then zipped up their defensive shape for the remainder of the half. Other than that (and arguably even amid that), Real madrid looked like they were going to take this game.
- Mauricio Pellegrini’s scheme to start looked uncharacteristically weak. Leganes pressed Varane high up the pitch within the first 30 seconds of the game, but quickly hedged back into a low defensive block — one which didn’t look too secure. This Real Madrid team is all about switching quickly and looking diagonally. When Leganes would pack the flank in front of Carvajal, Bale would make a darting run to the left, the play would switch rapidly, and Pellegrino’s shape would collapse. Real Madrid created a few chances with these efficient movements.
- Bonkers stat: Casemiro’s clumsy challenge in the box was the first penalty he’s ever conceded. He had some good counter-pressing moments in the second half, though. I enjoy his defined role under Lopetegui. He actually plays as a traditional anchor who’s in charge of reading the game and covering for his central midfielders. He did struggle to keep possession a couple times — nothing new.
- Thibaut Courtois was bored. It was kind of funny seeing him yell out as an outlet for throw-ins just to get a touch on the ball, and milk his time with it just so he could hear that applause — a theory I enjoy believing.
- Real Madrid’s third goal was insane. Is this 2012 Benzema?
- A quiet, but good return for Luka Modric tonight. Nothing he did will show up on that stat sheet, and it seemed like he was easing his way into the scheme, but, I do enjoy his (again) more defined role.
Quiet, but good return for Modric today. One of the best things about this season's scheme: His freedom. Less burden on him to fix leaks. He's playing higher up the pitch and centrally. He's not a martyr in Zidane's scheme anymore.— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) September 1, 2018
- This was Carvajal’s best game in a long time. His run off the shoulder of Leganes’ defensive line to receive a diagonal ball from Ramos created a disallowed goal. He also had some really nice defensive sequences. Encouraging.
- My God, Bale’s speed is nuts. There was a counter-attack in the second half where he was in Real Madrid’s defensive third. I looked down from press row and noticed Bale wasn’t involved in the counter-attack, so I tracked him, and within seconds, he sprinted and latched onto a Toni Kroos through-ball and nearly scored. It wasn’t his best game, overall, but hey — a goal and a shift where he looked confident. His goal-scoring form continues.
- One last note:
And a penalty.— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) September 1, 2018
It's going to be so hard this season for teams to claw their way back when going down a goal against this team. They'll control the game and demoralize you. Feels good writing that.
(Yes, I know, it's only been 3 games. But it's encouraging.)