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Three answers and three questions from Real Madrid’s win vs Real Sociedad

The main talking points as Real Madrid return from the international break with a win.

Real Madrid CF v Real Sociedad - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Just like in their other home game this season, Real Madrid had to come back from conceding an early goal. And, just like against Getafe, they did so, winning 2-1 again. After Ander Barrenetxea’s opener, goals at the start of the second half from Fede Valverde and Joselu turned the game around in Los Blancos’ favour. It’s now five wins from five, but there’s a lot to discuss after this performance that was far from perfect. Below, come three questions and three answers.

1. Kepa vs Remiro: Who’d win the battle of the former teammates?

There was an interesting duel in the goals for this game, as Kepa Arrizabalaga was going up against his former teammate Álex Remiro. The two were together in Athletic Club’s B team back in 2014/15, with Kepa playing the first half of that season and then Remiro taking over when the current Real Madrid shot-stopper went out on loan. Here, they were going up against each other in the first division for the first time. And, they both made some truly incredible saves over the 90 minutes. The reason the scoreline stayed as low as it did was down to the incredible parries of the goalkeepers, who also produced some super stops on offside chances that didn’t ultimately show up in the stats.

2. Would Carvajal still be at his best after his first midweek game?

Dani Carvajal was performing at an excellent level over the first few games of the season, looking like his younger self. But, it’s true that Real Madrid were only playing one game per week to begin the new campaign. So, how would the 31-year-old do after his first midweek game of the season, given that he played the full 90 minutes with Spain in both their games during the international break? Well, he was able to maintain that high level. In defence and attack, tonight’s captain was everywhere and didn’t look at all fatigued. We’ll soon see if Carvajal’s gluten-free diet is able to keep him fit throughout the busy schedule that lies ahead, but the right-back really does look to be in much better physical shape than in previous seasons.

3. Closed roof or open roof?

One of the other curiosities heading to the Bernabéu for this game was whether the roof would be closed or open for this game. After playing against Getafe with a closed roof, and considering this was a drizzly Sunday in the Spanish capital, you wondered if they would once again close the roof to play in dome-like conditions. But no, the roof was open for this one to let in the Madrid night. And, that’s surely a good thing. Football is an outdoor sport and the roof should only be closed in certain circumstances, not every game.

Three questions

1. What happened to Fran García at half-time?

This was a game of two halves for Fran García. In the first, the left-back really struggled going up against Kubo, before he did a better job of containing the Japanese winger in the second 45 minutes. Not only that, but Fran García suddenly started contributing in attack after the break, assisting both Valverde and Joselu’s goals. Sure, the Valverde strike was mostly down to the brilliance of the Uruguayan, but Fran García did tee his teammate up perfectly for a first-time hit. Then, the second assist, the cross to Joselu, couldn’t have been put in better. After picking up a yellow for a foul, unsurprisingly on Kubo, he was taken off with 15 minutes to go, but this ended up being a decent night’s work from the youngster, when the evaluation was totally different at the break.

2. Should Rodrygo be doing more in Vinícius’ absence?

One player who couldn’t quite improve his performance enough was Rodrygo, who hasn’t stepped up in the way that some thought he might once Vinícius went down injured. The Brazilian is certainly trying, as he has gotten off 13 shots across the past two matches. However, he just isn’t clinical or efficient right now. It’s just one goal and no assists so far this season and more is expected. If there was greater competition, it might be a different story.

3. Should Real Madrid bring back Kubo?

Kubo really was brilliant in this game. He set up his team’s early opener and scored a lovely goal that was disallowed for an offside touch on the way through, all of this before most Real Madrid players had woken up. The Japanese has been one of the very best players in LaLiga over the first five matchdays and he’s still only 22 years of age. When Real Madrid sold the winger to Real Sociedad, they were able to include a clause that gives them preferential treatment should the Basque club decide to sell. It’s not clear exactly how that clause works, with Basque media playing it down and Madrid media playing it up. Either way, should Real Madrid even try to bring back Kubo? Based on what we’ve seen from him this season, and towards the end of last, perhaps they should. Anyway, it’ll be fun to watch him when he makes his Champions League debut this midweek vs Inter.

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