All the dominoes aligned on this fateful Saturday in La Liga. Barcelona suffered their first loss with Xavi Hernandez at the helm, Atletico Madrid lost in the 90th minute to a Real Madrid loanee goal (Take Kubo), and with a win against Real Sociedad, Real Madrid could carve open a 10 point lead at the top of La Liga. Despite losing Benzema to injury in the 17th minute, Madrid came out of an electric Reale Arena with all 3 points. Vinicius Junior opened the scoring from a Luka Jovic assist, then the Serbian grabbed his own goal, and Eder Militao was inspired in the back to help Madrid keep a clean sheet. All in all, a great day at the office for Carlo Ancelotti and his men. Full match player ratings below:
Thibaut Courtois—8: The Belgian was never tested — not a single save had to be made. Had a couple of important high claims from crosses and a clearing punch to ward off any danger from an Isak opportunity.
Dani Carvajal—7: Oyarzabal was non-existent in this match and even Alexander Isak lost out in some physical duels with Dani Carvajal.
Eder Militao—10: The Brazilian’s best ever performance in a Real Madrid shirt. Crucial interventions, well-timed tackles, crisp distribution, goal denying clearances — Militao had a bit of everything in this game. In total, 10 clearances, 2 blocks, 2 interceptions, 5 tackles, 3 aerial duels won, and 1 big chance created for Vinicius Junior in the second half. The most expensive defender in Real Madrid’s history is beginning to look like a bargain.
David Alaba—7: If there was a match where his aerial ability would have been tested, it was against Real Sociedad with both Isak and Sorloth starting up front. Alaba and Militao dealt with everything that came their way with ease.
Ferland Mendy—7: Adnan Januzaj, Isak, Sorloth — it did not matter who it was, no one had success running at Mendy.
Casemiro—6: A solid job in the base of midfield, had a few poor passes but managed the game well and was substituted off to avoid any suspension for the Atletico match.
Toni Kroos—8: He makes it all look so effortless, the German midfielder was at his consistent high level.
Luka Modric—7: At 36-years-old, the Croatian is showing no signs of slowing down. Like Kroos, put in a consistent performance.
Rodrygo—5: Struggled to get the better of Diego Rico, who is usually a weak link in the La Real backline. Did have some good combinations with Vinicius Junior.
Vinicius Junior—9: Absolutely unplayable at the moment, he scored the opener and nearly had the third to sentence the game after a great through ball from Eder Militao. We are running out of superlatives to describe the season Vinicius Junior is producing.
Karim Benzema—N/A: Pulled up with an injury in the 17th minute and had to be replaced.
Luka Jovic—10: Am I giving Luka Jovic a 10? I am giving Luka Jovic a 10. The Serbian has been subject to endless dismissal of his talent, but he silenced the naysayers tonight with a goal and a brilliant assist. Could this be the start of Luka Jovic’s Real Madrid career?
Eduardo Camavinga—7.5: Replaced Casemiro as a defensive midfielder and was not afraid to get stuck into a number of tackles. Highlight moment came late in the second half when he denied Real Sociedad with a clean but crunching slide tackle inside Real Madrid’s box.
Fede Valverde—6: Replaced Toni Kroos and showed off some of his ball progressing ability. Also covered for Camavinga in a defensive midfield role when the Frenchman was caught higher up the field.
Marco Asensio—5: Led one important attack opportunity, but maybe choose the wrong pass in the final phase of the counter with a ball out wide to Fede on the left rather than Jovic’s run through the middle.