If you were trying to find the right back when the starting XI was released, you were not alone. Carlo Ancelotti wanted to squeeze in Rodrygo Goes, Marco Asensio, and Fede Valverde into one line-up by forcing the Uruguayan into a make-shift right back. It didn’t work. Villarreal comfortably played through Madrid’s press and put Valverde, and the rest of the backline, in awkward situations defending against an attack where they were outnumbered. The second half improved, but only marginally, with substitutions of Isco, Hazard, and Camavinga failing to make the impact the team had yearned for in a tightly contested match. Ultimately, a draw was a fair result for each team, but there will be valid criticism of Ancelotti after this match.
Full match player ratings below:
Thibaut Courtois—8: Another very strong display from Real Madrid’s goalkeeper ensuring that at least a point was salvaged from this match.
Fede Valverde—4: Time to end the Fede V right back experiment. His energy was deperately needed in midfield. Oftentimes, he was disconnected from his back four —unsure of how far to step out to Danjuma or cover the drifting Coquelin.
Militao—8: Improving as a high-line defender — a defender that has to be comfortable with 50-70 yards of open space behind him. If not for Militao and Alaba, Real Madrid’s high pressing system would have looked even worse.
David Alaba—8: A team high of 5 clearances, was crucial at keeping Villarreal off the score board.
Nacho—3: A poor game from Nacho, who provided very little in the final third when Real Madrid’s game was screaming for greater offensive involvement from their fullbacks.
Casemiro—3: Should we start to be worried? Has Casemiro’s non-stop playing time (over 3,900 minutes last year — far surpassing the danger zone of 3,500 minutes) caught up to him again like it did in the 2018-2019 season? Carlo’s pressing scheme means Casemiro is often way out of position and outside the traditional defensive midfield role. It’s hurting him and the team.
Marco Asensio—3: Looks a mess from a defensive stand point. Sometimes he marked Capoue, sometimes he pressed the center backs, and other times he just let Coquelin run in behind without passing the runner. This match was a far better test of his midfield credentials and he did not pass.
Luka Modric—5: A game that just passed by Luka Modric and the midfield. The disjointed press made it look easy for Villarreal to play through the team.
Vinicius JR—6: The effort is never in question with Vinicius, but the execution was lacking today. Juan Foyth and Raul Albiol did an excellent job of keeping Vinicius in check.
Rodrygo Goes—5.5: Maybe unfairly taken out at the start of the second half. Was one of the few individuals who had success taking on their marker (Alberto Moreno) 1 v 1. Started the game brightly, but did fade as the match wore on.
Karim Benzema—4: A rare poor game from Benzema — his passing was off and he failed to maneuver past a staunch Villarreal defense.
Camavinga—6: Not at the level of his previous matches. Had some sloppy giveaways and struggled in between the lines.
Eden Hazard—3: Made no impact on the match.
Isco—3: Same as above.