Real Madrid secured an important three points with a 3-1 home win against Diego Martinez’s well-drilled Espanyol side.
Full match player ratings below:
Thibaut Courtois—7: Some good early saves in the game as Espanyol piled on the pressure in the opening 15 minutes. On more than one occasion, Thibaut looked to release Rodrygo or Vinicius with a quick transition via driven thrown pass nearly half the length of the pitch.
Dani Carvajal—6: Although his offensive contribution is not as impactful as years prior, still makes countless runs up the flank and provides an outlet to switch play. Keeps it safe in the final third, but helps stretch the opposition defense. Did manage 2 key passes.
Eder Militao—8: Go back and look at Militao’s ratings this season and he is nearly always an 8 or above match after match. Scored Madrid’s second goal to complete the comeback and now has 4 headed goals in La Liga — the highest of any player in the league.
Nacho—8: Not to be outdone by his center-back partner, Nacho once again put in exemplary display. On the ball, constantly broke lines via his ball carrying ability. Produced a moment of magic in the dying minutes of the match, skipping past four to five Espanyol players from the left back possession before feeding Asensio inside the box to put away the dagger goal.
Eduardo Camavinga—5.5: Espanyol looked to hit long diagnol passes against both Madrid full-backs early in the game. Camavinga struggled with defending those passes, getting his timing and body position all wrong. His lack of positional awareness on the early Espanyol go-ahead goal is part of the give-and-take with Cama at left back. On the opposite end, it was Camavinga who overlapped on Vinicius’s goal that dragged one of the defenders with him and gave Vini that small incremental space.
Tchouameni—7.5: I openly criticized Tchouameni on the Managing Madrid podcast last week, claiming he has not been overly impressive. Against Espanyol, he looked to right those wrongs and produced an outrageous Luka Modric-like assist to Eder Militao, curling a cross with the outside of his boot. One area to improve: quicker distribution. Did get caught dwelling on the ball on more than one occasion and was punished in Espanyol’s opening goal.
Toni Kroos—7: The German put in a typical Toni Kroos shift. Managed an assist, 3 key passes, 102 touches (game high), 82 passes (93% PA), and completed 13/13 long balls.
Luka Modric—7.5: This felt like one of Luka Modric’s better performances in recent matches. Constantly popped up in dangerous central pockets, looking to penetrate the Espanyol backline.
Fede Valverde—6: The Uruguayan put in a good two-way shift on the right flank. Looked to create little triangles with Rodyrgo and Modric, and occasionally Carvajal.
Vinicius Junior—7.5: When Real Madrid needed a moment of indivudual brilliance, Vinciiuso once again rose to the occassion. Despite having three Espanyol defenders around him, Vini managed to cut in on his right foot and curl an inch-perfect shot into the bottom corner of the net. Finished the match with 4 key passes (game high) and 3 completed dribbles.
Rodrygo—7: Hit the cross-bar with a swerve and dip free-kick attempt. Roamed all around the pitch as a center forward and looked to be the link between midfield and attack. So comfortable in tight central channels and produced a number of quick one-two interchanges with teammates. Unlucky not to score on the day.
Marco Asensio—7: Real Madrid’s top goal-scorer in 2023 added another to his tally with a late 93rd minute goal after a brilliant solo run from Nacho.
Dani Ceballos—7: Another great cameo off the bench, jinxing and shifting past multiple opponents when on the ball.
Toni Rudiger—6: Slotted in at center-back while Nacho moved to left back for the final 20 minutes of the match.
Alvaro—N/A: Entered in the 90th minute for Vinicius Junior.