For the last few weeks, Real Madrid has been on a hot streak. The team had not lost in LaLiga since January 6th, moved onto the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey and are partly through their Champions League Round-of-16 match up.
Within recent weeks, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid and Ajax were all defeated at the hands of the Whites but it was Girona who managed to finally serve Madrid only their second loss in 42 days. But what happened at the Bernabeu? Was it Solari’s changed lineup or should it be solely the players who take responsibility?
Full ratings below:
Thibaut Courtois - 6: Right from the start, Courtois was trying to prove himself as the better goalkeeper for the next round of matches but his performance was not the best. Managed to make use of his tall frame and forced Girona to take shots from tight angles (which included taking a ball to the face) but could have done better to stop the second goal from going in.
Alvaro Odriozola - 6: Did very well in replace of Dani Carvajal. Had a lot of influence up front and worked well in tight spaces along the wings. Drew a few fouls which helped the team as well but would have been nice to see some attempts to assist his teammates.
Raphael Varane - 6.5: The Frenchman was the only stable defender in Madrid’s backline. Always found himself in the right places and did well to mark Cristhian Stuani. Covered a lot of ground when his fellow defenders wanted to move up in attack and was a threat in the box. Decent match for the youngster.
Sergio Ramos - 5.5: Not a very good game for the Captain at all. Had a handball in the box that lead to the penalty and was given the first of his two yellows because of that. Now set to miss the match against Levante with the red card.
Marcelo - 5.5: Did well to try and make an impact after being selected to start over Sergio Reguilon but his vulnerability at the back was the reason for the second Girona goal. His playing doesn’t suit the team as well as it used too and costs the team as a result.
Toni Kroos - 7: Without Luka Modric, Kroos managed to dominate the midfield for Madrid. Fully commanded the possession of the ball and worked well with Casemiro. Often took chances going forward when the team’s attack was lacking and dropped back to help defend Marcelo’s open gaps. All around excellence, MOTM for Madrid in my opinion.
Casemiro - 6.5: Had a good game today and was an important player going forward. Scored the opening goal by being very fluid within the box, moving in and around defenders to find open space. Did well to help Kroos in the midfield but was booked in the second half for a flimsy foul. Decent game for the Brazilian.
Dani Ceballos - 5: Absolute disastrous game for Ceballos today. Looked as though Madrid were only playing with 10 men on the pitch. Seemed very nervous whenever he had the ball and was routinely out of position. Was subbed off for Mariano Diaz as a result, surprised he was not taken off earlier.
Lucas Vazquez - 5.5: Nice to see Vazquez back on the pitch but he seemed very quiet going forward and was having trouble linking up with Benzema, Marcelo and Asensio. Didn’t seem to work well with the new lineup and was eventually taken off by Solari in the 58th minute.
Karim Benzema - 6: Surprisingly, did not find the back of the net today but had plenty of chances to do so. Two good chances in the first half were squandered and missed clear opportunities in the second. Finishing definitely off-point today, hopefully it changes for the team’s next match.
Marco Asensio - 6: Started off well and had a few direct shots on target but often found himself all alone with the ball up front. While that is good, he needs to find a way to incorporate other players into the game rather than be 1 vs. 3 against defenders. Nice to have him back in the squad and should improve with more playing time.
Vinicius Junior - 6.5: Came on in the 58th minute for Lucas Vazquez and immediately had an impact. Started created space along the wings and took a few shots but they failed to hit the back of the net. Personally needs to improve on his finishing but did well when creating plays with his teammates.
Gareth Bale - 6: Was Solari’s second substitution of the match and was expected to make an impact but failed to do so. Had a few good performances prior to today’s but still needs to work harder to get back to 100%.
Mariano Diaz: 5.5: Came on for Ceballos but was only on the pitch for 15 minutes. Did not have much of an impact on the pitch and needs to work on his confidence because he’s very isolated on the pitch.
Madridista’s all over the world were dreaming of Madrid coming from behind to beat Barcelona to the title but it looks as though that is no an option. They now sit nine points behind the current leaders. Going forward, the team has some important matches so it makes sense Solari opted for a change in the lineup. But was it worth it? We will never know.