Real Madrid got the job done on a wet and windy Tuesday night against Getafe, the most Stoke City-ish fixture you can get in LaLiga. Even with a depleted squad, Los Blancos battled well and won. Here, then, are some of the questions that were answered and other questions we’re now left pondering.
1. How would Zidane construct a team?
Given that Zidane had eight players out injured and Toni Kroos out suspended too, there were just 11 first-team outfielders available. So, how would Zidane build this team? Especially considering there were no right-backs and also a severe lack of midfield options. Well, he decided to change the system and went for a 3-4-3 with Marvin Park as the right-wing-back, with Marcelo as the left-wing-back, with a back three of Nacho, Raphaël Varane and Ferland Mendy and with a more typical front three. It worked. Of course, Real Madrid didn’t look the most comfortable in this system, but that doesn’t really matter. Zidane found a sensible way to field 11 players and they managed to overcome an awkward opponent.
2. Would Kubo be a problem against his parent club?
With his third different team, Takefusa Kubo was taking on Real Madrid once again. Well, eventually. The Japanese winger didn’t start in this game and only came on in the 55th minute. When he did, he wasn’t very effective at all. Kubo only had 16 touches, yet still managed to lose possession seven times for his team. The conditions weren’t easy, but surely more was expected of him. It’s now four different matches for Kubo against Real Madrid since he signed with Los Blancos and the results really have been mixed. Apart from this brief performance and defeat, he won one and lost one with RCD Mallorca and he came on for the final minute of Villarreal’s 1-1 draw with Real Madrid earlier in this season. Given the way his transfer and the schedule have worked out, Kubo will face Real Madrid one more time this season – when Real Madrid visit the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez on the weekend of April 28th.
3. Why didn’t Isco start?
I saw this come up a lot tonight. Many fan and even commentators were asking why Isco wasn’t in the starting line-up and why a youngster like Marvin Park was even playing ahead of him. The answer to this was simple. It’s because Isco was only just back from an injury of his own. And Zidane confirmed this in his post-match press conference. He said: “Isco had only trained with the team once since his own injury. That was the reason.”
1. Marcelo to Mendy – we surely won’t see that again, will we?
Ok, who expected a Ferland Mendy goal assisted by Marcelo? Nobody I bet. And for good reason. Although they were both in the line-up tonight because of the system change, you wouldn’t have expected them to both be venturing forward from the left side of defence at the same time. Yet that’s what happened when Mendy realised there was absolutely nobody to mark him, so he continued his run and managed to somehow turn the cross in. It’ll surely be a long time before we see that again, if we ever do. Given that they’re two players who play the same position, Marcelo and Mendy had only actually played 189 minutes together before this game. It might be a while before they’re both on the pitch together again, but the combination for tonight’s second goal was certainly special.
2. What does the future hold for Marvin Park?
Marvin Park had already played twice for the Real Madrid first team before tonight, but this was his first start for the club. The 20-year-old did well in the right-wing-back role, especially when you consider that his opposite man was Marc Cucurella, one of the best wingers in LaLiga. Sadly he suffered an injury and that’s why he went off – Zidane confirmed afterwards that the original plan was to sub off Vinícius in the 55th minute and not Park – but hopefully he’ll get more minutes over the rest of the season and then a decision will have to be made on his future in the summer, when the winger will turn 21. It’ll likely be time for a loan, but Real Madrid need to make sure they get the landing spot right as there have been too many failed loans in recent years.
3. Did Bordalás look at the weather forecast?
Getafe coach José Bordalás had to watch this game from inside the boxes at Valdebebas after getting himself sent off for an argument with Julen Lopetegui in Getafe’s weekend loss to Sevilla. But, maybe Bordalás is a genius. Maybe he had looked at the weather forecast and decided that Tuesday night’s torrential rain wasn’t for him. Maybe he thought being on the touchline in this game didn’t actually look so fun. The rain really was pouring down in this one and, of course, the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano isn’t exactly the best protected stadium from the elements. Bordalás escaped it, while Zidane looked miserable throughout as he stood on the rainy sidelines. At least, though, the Frenchman saw his team win. Bordalás’ Getafe, meanwhile, have a lot of work to do.