Real Madrid raced to a 4-0 win against Eibar in one of the former’s most dominant performances this season. Zidane’s men brought control, vigor, and style to overpower their opposition and record their second consecutive win with a large margin following their victory in the Champions League earlier during the week.
The manager decided to rotate his starting line-up from the last game bringing Vazquez, Mendy, and Modric into the XI. Otherwise, the team was unchanged as Ramos and Varane helmed the defense while Casemiro and Valverde continued their partnership in midfield. Hazard and Benzema completed the attack.
Mendy’s overlaps and individual superiority on the wings
Offensively, Real Madrid attacked diligently through the wings slowly looking for opportunities to break down Eibar via those channels. A key component of this strategy was the enormous support Mendy provided on the left side. Time and again, the French full back would make excellent runs to relieve pressure on Hazard or any other player in possession in that zone while simultaneously creating an additional passing lane. This served as an effective destabilizing factor that the Eibar defense struggled immensely to cope with.
On the right side, there were hints of the same tactic being applied but at a much lower frequency due to the evident left side dominance in Real Madrid’s attacking scheme. Carvajal’s utility in the match was more focused on build-up and defensive coverage working well with Ramos and Varane to reset possession and proactively cut off Eibar’s attempted early advances.
The other notable aspect of Real Madrid’s offense was intentionally looking for individual matchups in isolation situations. Due to Eibar’s lack of caution in their defensive shape choosing to press aggressively and as a result employ a high line, Real Madrid had numerous occasions to transition quickly into attack feeding players like Hazard and Vazquez on the break.
This allowed the aforementioned players (particularly Hazard) to run directly from favorable angled positions at the isolated defenders (on the back foot) and exploit their dribbling acumen. This kind of dynamic resulted in Hazard winning the penalty Ramos converted in the 20th minute.
Real Madrid’s unnerved by Eibar’s press, show composure in possession
Eibar’s persistent high press appeared futile in the face of an extremely pass fluid Madrid side. Los Blancos mechanically passed around Eibar’s defensive structure which was supported by midfield staggering, One of the biggest drawbacks of the legendary Casemiro-Kroos-Modric midfield, in its current iteration, is usually inadequate vertical staggering where the three players (particularly as Modric’s profile has been evolving in recent years) tend to occupy the same positional bands on the field constricting the number of operational passing links available. Valverde’s introduction into the midfield combination mitigates this as the Uruguayan’s high energy play and positioning allows him to maintain possession enabling spacing.
In addition, the midfield’s industry in tracking back against Eibar naturally facilitated buildup when the team recovered the ball. Furthermore, Hazard, Benzema and Vazquez would willingly drop back to further supplement this connectivity.
The second half plays out without too many surprises
Heading into the second half with a commanding three goal lead meant Real Madrid could take their foot off the pedal slightly while Eibar would have to make a significant push (structurally and otherwise) to try and decrease the deficit. Despite a noticeable jump in the home side’s intensity and possession numbers, they couldn’t find a solution for Real Madrid’s robust defense and in fact conceded another goal courtesy of Valverde following another Mendy overlap to kick start the sequence. Vinicius, Isco, and Brahim Diaz would later enter the fray with fresh legs to help close the game.
This now makes it the fifth clean sheet in a row for Real Madrid and Courtois. Zidane and co enter the international break on a fantastic note as they have attained a welcome degree of consistency and fluidity in their results and performances. The break will hopefully allow the team to recharge their batteries for the rigorous schedule awaiting them when they return.