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Three answers and three questions from Real Madrid’s win over Sevilla

Rodrygo features in a couple of the talking points, following his brace in Seville.

Sevilla FC v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga Santander Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

In the penultimate matchday of this LaLiga season, Real Madrid were on the road and responded to an early Rafa Mir goal to fight back and win 2-1. Rodrygo was the hero of the day, scoring both goals after also netting the winner in midweek. There are various questions from this game that we can discuss below, from three pre-match doubts we had to three new post-match ones.

Three answers

1. How would the pitch be after the pre-match downpour?

In the hour before this game, there was a very intense downpour in Seville. Given the quantity of rain that fell, the grounds staff did a good job to even get the game to go ahead. But, there was obviously a lot of water on the pitch and this affected the play. You could see that players from both teams were hesitant in their passes, as the ball kept getting stuck in the puddles. Sevilla seemed to cope with this better to begin with, but eventually Real Madrid adjusted and, by the second half, the pitch appeared to be back to normal anyway.

2. Would Rodrygo be able to lead the attack on his own?

With Benzema, Vinícius, Asensio and Mariano all out injured, there really weren’t many options in attack for this game. Still, although Álvaro Rodríguez or Eden Hazard were both in the squad, Ancelotti decided to field just one forward in Seville and that was Rodrygo. So, how would he do leading the attack on his own, in front of four defenders and five midfielders? Well, it was a difficult task, not least because of the aforementioned conditions. But, Rodrygo showed his quality by scoring both of his team’s goals. It should be noted that both goals came from situations that weren’t part of normal play, as he scored a direct freekick and then rounded off a slick counter-attack. So, it’s not as if Rodrygo scored his brace like a natural No.9 would. Yet, this was another excellent showing from the Brazilian, who now has 19 goals this season.

3. Why was this match taking part away from all the other Matchday 37 fixtures?

When looking at this weekend’s LaLiga schedule, some fans might have been confused as to why this Sevilla vs Real Madrid was taking place on Saturday night, away from Sunday’s unified kick-off time of the other nine fixtures. Especially considering that Sevilla did still have something to play for, since they were still in the race for the final Conference League spot. Well, the reason was quite simple. It was to give Sevilla more time to rest ahead of next Wednesday’s Europa League final. So, Real Madrid have done their job in Matchday 37 already, and can now sit back while the drama of the other nine fixtures plays out on Sunday.

Three questions

1. Who should be Real Madrid’s primary freekick taker?

With Rodrygo’s freekick in this game, Real Madrid have now scored three direct freekicks this LaLiga season, which is more than any other team in the competition. And, three different takers have scored these freekicks, which hasn’t happened at Real Madrid since the 2014/15 season, when Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and James Rodríguez all netted at least one. In addition to Rodrygo’s this Saturday, David Alaba scored one on the opening weekend at Almería and Karim Benzema converted at Espanyol. There may not be any one elite freekick taker in the current squad, but there are several decent options and Rodrygo is certainly one of them.

2. How lucky was Ceballos to avoid serious injury?

This game got very feisty in the final moments and Marcos Acuña was sent off for a bad tackle that landed right on Dani Ceballos’ ankle. The midfielder was lucky to avoid a serious injury, as we’ve seen those kinds of challenges go very wrong in the past. After the game, Ceballos shared a photo on social media of his ankle, with a message for Acuña too. After the Argentine complained of “playing against 12 men”, Ceballos replied: “Leaving your team with 10 men needing a comeback… that is truly tough.”

3. What did we think of Álvaro Rodríguez’s performance?

There was a rare Álvaro Rodríguez sighting in this game, as the 18-year-old was brought on in the 65th minute. This was far from his best outing with the first team, and he missed a really good chance that could have made it 3-1, but at least he was given a run-out on this occasion after Ancelotti’s reluctance to use him in recent weeks. So, what did we think of his performance in Sevilla?

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