Real Madrid have won the first Clásico of the season thanks to the latest piece of brilliance from Jude Bellingham, who scored both the goals in the 2-1 comeback win. There were certainly many issues with Real Madrid’s performance, but Clásico wins are something to savour no matter how they come. Below, we’ll dive in to some of the main pre-game questions we had and some of the other talking points to come out of this victory.
1. Was Ancelotti’s line-up the right one?
When the Real Madrid starting XI was published two hours before kick-off, the debates already began. Was this the right call? Was Camavinga being benched harsh? Would Joselu have been better than Rodrygo? When the game started, and given the poor first half performance, the line-up looked even more suspect. However, it meant that Camavinga, Joselu and Modrić could all come on in the second half at a moment when they were able to capitalise on a tiring Barcelona. Ancelotti has said this a lot over the years, that sometimes he leaves a player out of the starting XI not because they’re not good enough but because he knows they’ll be even more impactful off the bench.
2. How would Bellingham do in his first Clásico?
This, of course, was Jude Bellingham’s first Clásico and so much of the build-up was centered around the summer signing. So, how would he do? Well, it was actually one of Bellingham’s poorer performances for most of the game, which is strange to say considering this will go down as one of the all-time Clásico “I’m here” games. Bellingham is just so decisive right now that he can still decide the biggest fixture in club football on an off day, scoring a simply sensational long-range blast off of 0.01 xG before once again making sure he was in the right place at the right time to net the winner. With this, he becomes the first Real Madrid player to score two goals on his Clásico debut since Pedro Arsuaga in 1947.
3. What would a Clásico at Montjuïc feel like?
One other element to consider when heading in to this game was the venue, with this being the first ever Clásico at the Estadi Olímpic in Montjuïc. How would that feel? Would Barcelona still have as much of a home advantage? Well, there was certainly a different vibe to this edition of the historic rivalry. The fact that no so many Barcelona fans have purchased season tickets this year meant there were a lot more individual match tickets on offer, and many of these were snapped up by Madridistas, making for a more mixed crowd than usual. Of course, the crowd is also a lot further away from the pitch, so the atmosphere certainly wasn’t comparable to some of the other Clásicos over the years. Did that help Real Madrid to pull off the comeback? Maybe. Let’s see if they return to Montjuïc in any other competition this season…
1. Is Camavinga Real Madrid’s best left-back?
Real Madrid may have Ferland Mendy and Fran García in the squad, but it’s pretty clear by now that their best left-back is actually Eduardo Camavinga. His introduction was when this game started to change. Not only did he put in super defensive performance, whether against João Cancelo, Fermín López or Raphinha, but he was so vertical and got up and down the pitch at a moment when Los Blancos had few other methods of advancing the ball. Perhaps Camavinga at left-back is the way to go for the other big fixtures this season.
2. Can we give Kepa some praise?
Kepa Arrizabalaga deserves some praise for his contribution to this Clásico win. He may only have made two saves in the game off Barcelona’s three shots on target, but his intervention to deny Araújo when it was 1-0 and almost 2-0 to Barça was sensational. Kepa was criticised for his performance in the Madrid derby defeat, but in his next big game he stood up.
3. How big will the loss of Tchouaméni be?
The bad news to come out of the Clásico for Real Madrid was the injury to Aurélien Tchouaméni. The Frenchman is now expected to be out until Christmas, so just how big a blow will that be? Considering how well he has been playing this campaign and considering he doesn’t have as clear a backup as some of the other starters, this is a major loss. But, for now, Madridistas can forget about that and simply savour this memorable victory over their eternal rivals.