Real Madrid earned a solid 3-0 win against Roma in their opening game of the 2018-19 edition of the Champions League. Los Blancos created many chances to score but needed a free-kick from Isco late in the first half to give them the lead. Here are three takeaways from the game.
- The competition between Isco and Asensio will be fierce. Isco has scored in the last two games played by Real Madrid and both of those goals were crucial. Last Saturday, he allowed Madrid to walk away with a draw against Bilbao while today he got the opening goal for his team. Asensio and Isco are expected to compete for one spot in the starting lineup and yet they are very different players. While Asensio is quicker and more incisive, Isco helps the midfielders distributing the ball and implements a more possession-oriented style. So far, it seems that Isco has the edge over Asensio, who needs to start proving that he actually deserves to be a regular starter for this team.
- Nobody knows what’s going to happen with the goalkeepers. Lopetegui decided to give Keylor Navas the chance to start between the sticks after two consecutive games for Thibaut Courtois. Right now, it looks like Navas could get the Champions League and Copa del Rey games while Courtois might be the starter in La Liga. Luis Enrique tried this with Claudio Bravo and Ter Stegen and even Carlo Ancelotti followed the same plan with Diego Lopez and Iker Casillas. Goalkeepers need confidence and stability, so will this work if it’s what Lopetegui has in mind?
- Mariano brings firepower to this team. If Real Madrid need to score, Mariano should be way ahead of Lucas Vazquez in the rotation. Lopetegui did not think the same way last Saturday and Madrid could not score the game-winning goal. It’s hard to tell if Mariano could’ve won the game for Los Blancos, but it’s clear that he has the ability to score off the bench.