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La Liga Player Ratings: Real Madrid 4-2 Granada

A hectic match up at the Bernabéu....

Real Madrid v Granada - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

The score-line may suggest otherwise, but this game was a fairly comfortable one for Madrid. They were in command for the strong majority of the proceedings, with certain players having their best outing for some time. Yet somehow, there were still periods of difficulty, with Granada pulling two goals out of a magic hat, finding themselves pushing on for an equaliser, Los Blancos did go on to secure the win during injury time, but how did each player fare?

Real Madrid CF v Granada CF - La Liga Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Alphonse Areola — 6: Alphonse looked poised to earn yet another very high rating after really impressing in his two previous appearances. Every time the ball went near him, he just looked assured and quality. During the first half he did not have much to do, so it would have been the easiest rating he would have picked up all season, but his fortunes quickly changed in the second 45. Granada won a rare corner, and Areola looked a bit dodgy coming off of his line in an attempt to punch the ball clear. It seemed like his entire demeanour shifted after this incident. Minutes later, he received the ball to feet and took one touch too many, allowing a Granada attacker to pounce and knick the ball away. The keeper was unaware of his opponents presence, and followed his kick through the back of his leg, forcing the referee to award a penalty to the visitors. A few more nervy occurrences dampened what would have been another positive showing. Let’s hope that the ten minutes of madness inflicts no further damage to his bright start at the club.

Álvaro Odriozola — 7.5: A quality performance that really deserved an assist after being heavily involved in the early first goal and many more dangerous plays. Luckily his efforts were rewarded in the very last minute as his pull-back crept behind everybody but James, who tucked it the other side of the dropping goalkeeper. One pass from Odriozola during a sequence put Benzema in on a plate, but the Granada keeper was having a good day at the office. His understanding with Bale on the right looked better than I remember it, and he made sure that he supplied a constant option further up field without exposing the team to any harsh counter attacks going the other way.

Sergio Ramos — 6.5: The attention that the full-backs were rightly receiving took some of the limelight away from both central defenders, but Sergio put in a routine shift, holding the defence together whilst providing the occasional goal threat at the other end. He did scold Dani Carvajal with a clumsy high-foot at one point, but in the end it was no harm done.

Real Madrid CF v Granada CF - La Liga Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Raphaël Varane — 6.5: A similar showing from Varane, although a goal-line clearance to stop Granada scoring a quick second goal made him impossible not to notice. Madrid did concede a poor goal moments later, but Varane didn’t really put a foot wrong during the game. Covered well for the ever-attacking Odriozola.

Dani Carvajal — 7.5: I’m not usually an advocate for full-backs swapping flanks and playing on their weaker side, and Dani Carvajal was not the player that I expected to change my mindset on the idea. However, he was seriously impressive today - causing problems for Granada all game long. His bizarre but effective offensive positioning saw him acquire golden chances to score, but the Granada keeper met each chance with a tremendous save. It was interesting to see Dani cutting in and creating danger with the shot or cross, and his link up play with Hazard was devastating at times. Even though it only happened due to a hefty injury list, I would not be opposed to Zidane experimenting with this again in the future.

Casemiro — 8: Casemiro became more and more important as the game went on. By the end of the match, when Granada were chasing an equaliser - he became almost the centre of everything, often carrying the ball great lengths forward to relieve any pressure. His usual bombardments to snuff out attacks were present as well as some vital challenges to break up any danger. Without him on the pitch then the visitors would have had a far greater chance at stealing some points to take back home.

Toni Kroos — 7: Toni had to go off due to injury just after the half-hour mark, but he looked very bright as Madrid put the swords to Granada’s neck early on. His world class passing range was on display as he picked out Carvajal for a scoring chance. His injury shouldn’t be too serious, but even the thought of yet another player heading to the treatment room will fright Madridistas.

Fede Valverde — 8: This game is up there with my favourite Fede Valverde performances. Sat in front of Casemiro and Kroos, Fede enjoyed a more unrestrained role in the side - and flourished! His defensive tendencies were still on show as he won the ball back in several important areas of the pitch, but it was his commitment that really stood out. He just did not stop in his pursuit to close the opposition down, and connect with the attackers. The Uruguayan obtained his first Real Madrid goal involvement when he forged out a battling assist for Eden Hazard to delightfully score his own very first Real Madrid goal involvement. A potential man of the match.

Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images

Eden Hazard — 7: Hazard has exhibited moments of sheer quality during every game he has played for Real Madrid so far, even in flashes. Still, the fans have been right in expecting more of an influence from one of the best players in the world. He probably left them satisfied with today’s display, after bagging his first goal - and recording his first assist for Modrić’s stunner. His goal oozed trademark delicacy, as he lofted the ball over the keeper seemingly at a snails pace. You could see the relief in his celebration. His overall game was reasonably strong, as he linked up with teammates and provided continual danger - but there is still so much more to come.

Gareth Bale — 7.5: Another valuable effort from the reprised Welshman. There aren’t many assist that will cement themselves into memory, but Gareth’s outside of the boot pass which swerved past the stacked defensive line and into Benzema’s path will definitely be one to stay there. World class. Bale at full pace is something that became almost a rarity during the dark times, but today he turned on the burners left, right and centre. He has ensured that he is one of the teams most important players, and that he needs to be towards the top of every team sheet.

Karim Benzema — 7: On the mark once more, this time within minutes of the kick-off. He could have added to that tally throughout the game, but a mixture of good goalkeeping and a lack of complacency prevented any more goals. He remained a heavy influence in attack, combining with everyone around him to lead Madrid’s dominance.

Real Madrid CF v Granada CF - La Liga Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Substitutions:

Luka Modrić — 7.5: Didn’t start, but looked great after coming in early to replace the injured Kroos. Drifted around the pitch with ease, and scored an absolute screamer as his long shot arrowed straight into the top corner. Some extra consistency from the golden ball winner would be a welcomed factor for Zinedine Zidane.

Isco — 6: Came on for Hazard in the second half and looked lively. Didn’t slow the pace down and was involved in the final goal. Another area of promise for Real Madrid.

James Rodríguez — 6.5: It’s tough to secure any rating at all after entering the field so late, but James added a bundle of needed energy to the play, and capped off his cameo with his first goal since returning to the club. He was in the right place at the right time as the ball was dragged back towards him, and he tucked the ball low, and in the opposite direction to the keepers balance.

Real Madrid v Granada - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Overall, the win was more than deserved and despite conceding two quick and surprising goals - the result never really looked in doubt. I think my man of the match would go to Fede Valverde for his complete performance, but he was far from the only impressive player out there. My Castilla brain is disappointed that Javier Belman was not given a place on the bench ahead of Diego Altube, but that is a minor complaint to say the least. What would your ratings look like, and what did you think about the game?

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