Real Madrid made the short trip to Getafe to start 2022 and they left the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez empty handed. Euan McTear was there and discusses the main talking points from the 1-0 reverse, with three questions that were answered and three new questions this result conjured up.
1. Would Real Madrid be ready for a 14:00 kick off?
Real Madrid actually played in the sun again, with this their first match that didn’t kick off at 21:00 or 21:30 since Granada away on November 21st. Since then, Los Blancos had had eight matches in a row at the late prime time kick-off slot, so would they be ready to go for this much earlier start? Well no, they weren’t. Real Madrid were sluggish and imprecise throughout this game, not just in the case of Militão with his mistake for the Getafe goal. Carlo Ancelotti didn’t put this down to the earlier kick-off time, though, instead saying his players went out as if they were still on holiday. Whether it was a Christmas break hangover or an inability to get revved up in time for the early start, Real Madrid were poor.
2. How would Rodrygo do on the left?
With Vinícius a COVID-19 absentee and with Eden Hazard surprisingly left out of the starting line-up, we got to see Rodrygo occupy the left flank in the first half of this game. After a bright start, he quickly faded and was hardly involved, before being shifted over to the right for the second half to let Hazard have a go down the left. With a yellow card and having picked up a shoulder injury, he was taken off in the 67th minute, having failed to make the most of this opportunity.
3. Could Benzema get goal number 300 against one of his favourite victims?
Following his brace last time out in Bilbao, Karim Benzema came into this match on 299 Real Madrid goals. He had a chance, therefore, to join the exclusive 300 club, one that only has three players in it. Only Cristiano Ronaldo (450 goals), Raúl (323 goals) and Alfredo Di Stéfano (308) goals have surpassed that tally in official matches for the club. But, it wasn’t Benzema’s day at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez. He had just one off-target shot in this game, with the No.9 having to drop so excessively deep just to get on the ball. Goal 300 will come soon enough, but it wasn’t to be today.
1. When did Real Madrid last lose their opening game of a calendar year?
Real Madrid starting the new calendar year slowly isn’t actually a major surprise, as it had become a bit of a tradition. They won their first match of 2021 (2-0 at home to Celta Vigo) and their first of 2020 (3-0 at Getafe, in fact), but their record over the past eight starts to a new year is now just three wins, three draws and two defeats. The last defeat to start a new year actually came back in 2015, under Ancelotti when Valencia won 2-1 to end Real Madrid’s 22-match winning run, but it’s not as if Real Madrid have consistently started the new year on the front foot.
2. Was Marcelo any better than Mendy?
One of the discussions after the Cádiz game was about Ferland Mendy’s lack of impact against opponents who set up in a low block. While the Frenchman is one of the best defensive full-backs around, he doesn’t get to the byline enough to trouble a team that is happy to sit deep. In the first half of this game, he didn’t make much of an impact, so Ancelotti put on Marcelo for the second half. But, was the Brazilian any better offensively than Mendy? Marcelo did a little more than Mendy, but wasn’t necessary any more effective. For example, he tried three crosses to Mendy’s one cross, but not one of these four balls towards the area found its target. It should also be kept in mind that Marcelo had so much more space, with Getafe quite happy to let him have it. With Mendy, that wasn’t the case. In truth, Marcelo was no better than Mendy was offensively.
3. How good does this defeat make Vinícius look?
Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. With Vinícius, Madridistas hadn’t had to wonder what it would be like without the Brazilian for the past 23 matches, as he had started all of those, winning 18, drawing three and losing two. But, with the 21-year-old missing due to COVID-19, Los Blancos had to cope without him for a game and they really missed him. As mentioned above, Rodrygo couldn’t do what Vini can do down the left, while neither Hazard nor Marcelo had any joy down that flank in the second half either. Even Vinícius might have struggled against Getafe’s back five and the watchful presence of Nemanja Maksimović, but he’d surely have managed to break the lines a couple of times. This defeat highlights his value as much as some of the victories he was a part of.