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Three Answers and Three Questions from the Leganés draw

It was yet another match of positives and negatives for Real Madrid, and it produced as many questions as it did answers. 

CD Leganes v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

The schedule makers handed Real Madrid a Monday night game in this round of the 2018/19 LaLiga season, and it wasn’t an occasion Los Blancos fans will be extra keen to remember, as the Spanish giants drew 1-1 with neighbours Leganés.

Once again, Zinedine Zidane named an interesting line-up as the auditioning period of this season continues, and there were many interesting storylines to follow. Some questions were answered and others were generated over those 90 minutes. We take a look at them below.

Three answers

1. Will Jesús Vallejo be given a run-out?

Nope. This Monday night marked exactly one year since the 22-year-old centre-back completed the full match against Málaga towards the end of last season, while he also played the 90 minutes against Sevilla and Leganés in the final weeks of the 2017/18 campaign. Those three outings were all under Zidane, but, since the Frenchman left, Vallejo has had just two more minutes in LaLiga, given to him by Santiago Solari in the trip to Valladolid. Some in the Spanish media thought that against Leganés we’d see the youngster, as he was the only non-injured outfielder yet to play a minute since Zidane returned, but no.

2. How will Carvajal look after his injury?

This was the first match with Dani Carvajal in the line-up since the right-back went down injured during the Ajax defeat. We’ve seen in the past that the Spaniard takes some time to get back to his best form after a spell on the sidelines and this may be the case this time as well. He didn’t look especially sharp and could have done a lot better against Martin Braithwaite on the Leganés goal. He even collected a silly yellow card for punching the ball in a moment of frustration. This wasn’t the most enjoyable homecoming ever for the man from the suburb of Leganés.

3. Will Real Madrid have to grind it out again?

Yes. Once again. While Real Madrid had won three out of four since Zidane came back, none of those three wins had been easy. Huesca and Eibar were beaten by solitary goals and required comebacks, while Celta Vigo were only defeated 2-0 when a larger scoreline might have been expected given the Galician side’s form in the build-up to that fixture. Away at in-form Leganés, this had all the makings of an uncomfortable Monday night for Los Blancos and so it proved. The home side’s back-five was stingy and difficult to break through, and, after a hard shift, Real Madrid had to settle for a point.

Three questions

1. Will we see Lucas Vázquez on the left again?

There was nothing too unusual about Lucas Vázquez coming on with a quarter of an hour to go, as he is often one of the players to come off the bench when Real Madrid are chasing a victory. What was strange, though, was that Zidane deployed Vazquez on the left flank in front of Marcelo. Asked about this afterwards in the press conference, the coach explained that he thought this could be an effective way to try and win the game. It’ll be interesting, therefore, to see if Zidane uses the Spaniard on the left again in the future.

2. Can Benzema beat his goals record for a LaLiga season?

With his strike against Los Pepineros, Karim Benzema now has 18 goals for the 2018/19 LaLiga season. His best ever return for a league campaign came in the all-conquering 2011/12 season when he bagged 21 goals. There are six rounds remaining for the No.9 to hit the back of the net four times to set a new record. Will he do it? It’s going to be fun to watch.

3. Will we see Real Madrid on a Monday night again?

This was just the 35th time that Real Madrid have played a match on a Monday night, the graveyard shift that is usually reserved for the smaller sides of LaLiga. With Los Blancos out of the Champions League, there was no issue with putting them in the final timeslot of the 32nd round. We might not see this again, though. Not only do Real Madrid rarely get put on the Monday night game, but there might not even be one next season if the Spanish FA get their way. They’re looking to move Friday and Monday fixtures to Sunday afternoons, so this match’s kick-off time might never be repeated. I guess that means we should treasure what was a unique occasion...

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