Real Madrid went away to in-form Girona and dismantled Míchel’s side 3-0. After a poor start, when Los Blancos conceded some early chances, the visitors recovered well and earned a convincing victory thanks to goals from Joselu, Aurélien Tchouaméni, and Jude Bellingham. Here, we break down the game by answering three pre-match questions and asking three new post-match ones.
1. Could Ancelotti beat the only LaLiga opponent he hadn’t defeated?
Coming into this game, Carlo Ancelotti had defeated 26 of the 27 LaLiga clubs he had faced in his career. Girona were the only team he hadn’t overcome, as the Catalan side drew one and won one of the two meetings last term. So, could Ancelotti get the W against Girona to make it 27 out of 27 in his LaLiga career? Yes, yes he could, and he did so with some interesting tactical tweaks, starting Camavinga at left-back and moving Bellingham to a wider position.
2. How would Carvajal handle Sávio?
There was concern ahead of the game about the fact that Carvajal would be going up against Sávio, one of the breakout stars of the season so far. How would the veteran full-back cope against the tricky Brazilian, who had two goals and four assists to his name? Well, Carvajal turned in a great lock-down performance against the youngster, so much so that Sávio even switched side to try his luck against Camavinga instead.
3. Wasn’t the Camavinga at left-back experiment supposed to be over?
Sávio didn’t have much joy against Camavinga either, as the Frenchman put together a brilliant performance at left-back. Jude Bellingham deservedly won the MVP award, but Camavinga must have been close behind. His deployment at left-back did lead to a lot of head-scratching, though, as Ancelotti has said that Camavinga would only be put back there in emergency situations. But, with both Mendy and Fran García available, this was not an emergency situation. “With Vinícius on that wing, we needed a left-back with the characteristics of Camavinga to help with the pressing after losing the ball,” was Ancelotti’s post-game explanation.
1. Who’ll start at left-back in Naples? Camavinga, Mendy or Fran García?
Going back to the Camavinga at left-back debate, we now have a major question mark in terms of who’ll play there against Napoli on Tuesday. It seems Ancelotti didn’t trust Fran García to play there against Girona, so will the coach trust him against the Italians? Or is a rested Mendy Ancelotti’s preferred option? It would also come as no surprise if Camavinga is placed there again, after doing so well in Girona. If you could pick, who would you start on the left of defence in Naples?
2. Should we be concerned about the early Girona chances?
Although this ended up being a comfortable victory, the first few minutes of this game were worrying for two reasons. Firstly, the trend of starting games slow and conceding early chances continued. Furthermore, Real Madrid again let their opponents put in quality crosses and get on the end of them, just like in last weekend’s defeat to Atlético. Although this ended up being a three-goal win, that poor start does need to be looked at.
3. What was Nacho thinking?
Seriously, what was Nacho thinking? The veteran centre-back completely lost his head when he planted an ugly challenge on Portu in stoppage time of the game. Not only was it a nasty challenge, but it was needless considering Real Madrid were 3-0 up at the time. Now, Los Blancos are down another centre-back as Nacho will be suspended for at least one game. It was one of the mindless challenges seen in a while and certainly not befitting of a Real Madrid captain.