I’m back again for the player ratings from the Espanyol game, and receiving feedback from all sides of the scale during the Roma game I thought that I would add a quick intro. A quick thank you to those that gave some good positive and negative feedback. Give it a read and take it on board if you want, but if not make sure the steam from those ears is at a comfortable temperature!
Player ratings are a fun thing to embark on after a game, but when it comes down to debating them there is one major flaw present at all times. Context. What a certain numbered performance consists of for Om Arvind, more than likely completely differs from Kiyan Sobhani’s idea. And Gabe Lezra’s. And the next guy, and so on, and so forth. For me a 10/10 performance translates as a completely perfect game, something that often only comes around a handful of times within a season. For you, perhaps a man of the match award might grant a player a 10. That is fine, and at the end of the day it really does not matter. I absolutely love reading your comments and discussing things with you, and constructive criticism is taken in all the time; heck I’d even change some of my last ratings because of it. However, replies like “terrible writing,” and “worst ever” help nobody... From now on I’ll be selecting who I reply to more carefully, but I will always be open to talk to anyone who demonstrates at least basic levels of decency, of which the majority are always able to show. Think before you type. Now, before you go on, a word of warning: you may disagree with the following ratings, but relax. It’ll all be okay...
Thibaut Courtois — 6.5: Another clean-sheet. It was however a relatively easy night though as the majority of his saves were straightforwards for a goalkeeper of his abilities. His distribution was pretty strong from short range, but some of his longer distanced passes were poor. All in all a decent game from the Belgian, but a lack of challenge prevents him from scoring one of the top ratings.
Álvaro Odriozola — 7: A memorable debut from the Spaniard. Had plenty of opportunity to show of his pace and his dangerous runs. Defensively looked pretty stable. Plenty to build on from here but a decent start!
Raphaël Varane — 6.5: Caught sleeping on the counter on a couple of occasions but still remained reasonably solid. Had to make up a lot of ground due to Ramos’s ventures forward.
Sergio Ramos — 5: Positionally Ramos was terrible in this game and failed to keep his discipline on several occasions. This often led to Madrid being caught on the break. When he was in position he made some decent challenges, but his performance was still riddled with silly mistakes and errors, one directly leading to Espanyol hitting the bar. He came close to scoring after surging forwards but not one of Sergio’s better games by far. On another day half of these things come off, perhaps it was just a bad day at the office.
Nacho — 6: Came in to do a job at left back as Marcelo was benched. Defensively of course added something that the flamboyant Brazilian often doesn’t, but in attack offered very little in comparison.
Casemiro — 8: A very good defensive job as usual, stopping much of what came his way and more. Often filled the gap that Ramos left in defence as well. Made a vital last ditch tackle to deny Espanyol taking the lead in the first half. This time out his distribution was much improved to and that capped off a sterling showing by the Brazilian. Man of the match for me tonight. Could that put an end to the Casemiro agenda I never knew I had after the Roma game?
Dani Ceballos — 8: Looked really sharp today and provided some much needed entertainment. Madrid on the whole looked really dexterous in possession, and Ceballos was often at the centre of that. He kept calm on the ball under immense pressure and showed off his fabulous touch time after time. A really fun performance to watch.
Luka Modrić — 7.5: Luka also provided a touch of class to the proceedings. A fundamental figure in Madrid’s domination, he demonstrated his supreme work ethic, popping up all over the pitch to support his teammates. Could say he got the assist for Asensio’s goal, but that could also be reaching a tad as the ball took a few different paths before reaching the feet of the Spaniard.
Isco — 7.5 : Had another very good performance tonight. On the ball he was mesmerising at times, sending the defenders into an early retirement. His touch throughout made him the delight that he so often is to watch.
Karim Benzema — 5.5: A lethargic showing tonight. Didn’t really look up for it tonight and he left me wanting Mariano to come on just that little bit more. Hope that this is just a blip in what has been a brilliant start to the season for the Frenchman.
Marco Asensio — 7: Didn’t get much support down the left hand side from Nacho, but still looked to create and drive at the defence like he usually does. Scored the winning goal; a classy finish after fortunately finding the ball at his feet in the box. Often rotated with Benzema and especially Isco on the other flank.
Lucas Vazquez — 5.5: Came in for Ceballos. Didn’t really showcase much but provided some extra width.
Mariano — 6: Came on for Benzema and had a few decent touches and links here and there. Didn’t deliver as much as he is capable of however.
Marcos Llorente — 7: Looked really promising, when he came on for Isco. Exhibited his extensive passing range, and had a decent chance to score but failed to avoid the keeper.
Unlike the Roma game that saw a good visiting side fail to turn up, today Espanyol played very well and that has to be recognised. As Varane said after the game, not every match can be won 5-0, and Madrid did well to grind out a win with a clean-sheet. There were some dodgy areas, but at the same time it wasn’t Lopetegui’s preferred starting eleven at the same time. I would love to hear your team and your ratings, but most specifically the reasoning for them in the comments!