Real Madrid pasted Alavés 7-1 after not scoring and conceding in the first half. Caroline Weir was at the heart of things once again before Esther came off the bench and took over with a hat-trick.
Below are my immediate thoughts and analysis, accompanied by highlights. A post-match podcast will follow.
- As one might expect, Alberto Toril rotated to a degree given the amount of Madridistas who were on international duty. The likes of Olga Carmona, Esther González, and Claudia Zornoza sat on the bench, although a still-strong eleven took the field (it notably contained Weir, who played intense minutes for Scotland).
- Las Blancas’ start to the match was better than previous ones following midseason stoppages; usually, the side comes out looking sluggish and needs the second half to clinch the game. In the first 10 minutes, Madrid were all over Alavés, pinning them deep near their own box and constantly threatening the area. Ultimately, the All Whites didn’t create a mass of shots, but got a few good chances and half-moments that made the goal look like it was coming soon.
- Then things slowed down slightly and Alavés progressed, winning a set-piece. Madrid fell asleep, losing Camila Saez and watching as the visitors went 1-0 up.
- Real’s reaction was bad. They looked rattled and abandoned what had made them look promising in the opening salvos of the encounter — they started forcing passes and searching for the quickest route to goal, lessening their control and volume of successful progressions. Players acted like they had no time on the ball and started to make things happen individualistically instead of working together to produce a chance. The half ended with a multitude of long shots, exemplifying the collective desperation of the team.
- The second half didn’t exactly start off with a different attitude. The long shots still rained in and the team seemed to play with an excessive sense of urgency. But too much urgency is certainly better than no urgency at all and Las Blancas breakneck pace started to engender plenty of transition.
- The avalanche began in the 53rd minute. Weir fed Athenea into the box and a double deflection turned into an own goal off of ex-Tacón center-back Osinachi Ohale.
Empata el Real Madrid. Gol en propia puerta (1-1) pic.twitter.com/7e4t1gY7Nk— FCBSeny (@FCBseny) October 16, 2022
- Weir only accelerated from there, making one of her deadly runs into the box. Alavés defended poorly but Weir was persistent, eventually making contact with the ball again to slip the go-ahead strike past the keeper.
- If Weir had accelerated before, she attained light speed a few seconds after, dispatching Nahikari’s assist to make it 3-1 in the blink of an eye.
- It was an exhilarating explosion from a player who had been having a fairly mediocre night up until that point, revealing the kind of caliber she possesses. These are the figures who were born to play for Madrid.
- Toril saw the result in the bag and pulled Maite and Feller, followed shortly by Nahikari and the aforementioned Weir. Zornoza, Olga, Esther, and Møller replaced them (the formation became a 4-4-2 instead of the 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 hybrid) and kept the momentum going. Esther, hungry to get her first goals of the season, bagged a hat-trick in no time.
- Møller got in on the action in the 85th minute and converted a tap-in from Olga’s pass.
- The speed with which Real Madrid turned this game around after the first goal was beyond scary. Alavés were unbelievably bad across that stretch, but previous Las Blancas sides were not capable of this. This team has well and truly taken a step forward from 2021/22.