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Immediate Reaction: Real Madrid 2-0 Getafe

A Madrid derby victory,,,

Real Madrid v Getafe CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid 2-0 Getafe (Benzema, Mendy). An impressive win. Here is my reaction to the match. More on the way: Player ratings, post game quotes and the infamous podcast.

This campaign has become one of the most inclusive and opportunistic seasons for the young players at Real Madrid in recent history. Astonishingly, it comes after an opposite season in which no Castilla players were called up whatsoever, for the first time in years. Granted, the current circumstances mixed with injury and transfer woes have given Zidane almost no choice but to dip into his extended talent pool - but to see Marvin Park start today ahead of the likes of Isco and Mariano was surreal. I was very eager to see how he would fare in a role that is not quite within his comfort zone. A further five Castilla players made the bench, and the formation was drastically altered to accommodate the current so called “selection crisis” currently suffocating the club. A back three of Nacho, Varane and Mendy merged with wing-backs Marvin and Marcelo looked to provide a broad scope to Madrid allowing the forwards a lot of room to work. Tactically it was a real display from Zidane and his adaptability that so many people often judge him for.

The wing-back system immediately allowed Marvin Park to calm his nerves during his first start for the senior side, and it allowed him and the more central attackers more time to make their decisions. In a fixture that has often proved to be a tricky one for Los Blanos, the players worked the system well and despite their obvious disadvantages - they began to create chances and push the opposition back. Karim Benzema forced a great save from the keeper with his head, before Luka Modrić almost benefitted from a poorer stop which dragged a low shot just wide. Marcelo operated very smoothly in this formation, and produced one of the best performances I have seen from him in months. His Brazilian countryman Vinícius Júnior still advertised his choppy decision making even with the extra space afforded to him. Despite all of the promise, the score line remained even at the break.

The second half saw Real Madrid truly turn on the style. Castilla players Sergio Arribas and Víctor Chust (alongside Isco) came on, but that didn’t change much as the team continued to attack - and ended up taking the lead after a peach of a cross from Vinícius Júnior was screaming to be finished off. Who else but Karim Benzema to provide that finish with his head? Minutes later it was two, with Sergio Arribas finding Marcelo out wide looking to cross, and cross he did. Arribas almost got on the end of it, but thankfully he didn’t as Ferland Mendy was on the charge just behind him, and his toe poke guided the ball into the back of the net. The team was playing some really fluid football, and Zidane’s substantial tactical tweak had paid off. Take Kubo came on for Getafe, but was unable to create anything fortunately for Madrid. The final whistle confirmed the deserved three points for Real Madrid.

The success of the new formation and the players within it will give Zidane a lot to think about. It will be very interesting to see if he sticks with this system for the near future, and how he handles players returning from injury. I am also intrigued to see if this positive display from the Castilla players involved will afford them even more leeway in a season that has already been huge for them. Might we be seeing a lot more of the now trusty trio of Marvin, Arribas and Chust - with other unfamiliar names soon to follow? With Valencia next up on Sunday we will not have to wait very long to find out. What were your thoughts on the game? Make sure not to miss the player ratings coming out later tonight, as well as the post game podcast for all of the juicy tactical breakdowns.

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