Real Madrid secured a 2-0 win over Getafe to start their week of Madrid derbies, courtesy of a brace from Joselu on a chilly Thursday night at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez on the southern outskirts of the city of Madrid.
1. Would any of the unhappy midfielders start?
Much of the off-the-field talk this week surrounded two players at contrasting points of their careers in Arda Güler, the teenage wonderkid, and Luka Modrić, the experienced veteran. The Croatian was on the starting team sheet as speculation continues to mount surrounding his future and he played his first 90 minutes since the 4-1 win over Villarreal in December. Having sat on the bench for the wins over Almería and Las Palmas, he was back against Getafe, perhaps without producing the most eye-catching of displays. His pass accuracy came in at 87% and he did create two chances, but he seemed a little off the pace in other aspects. He failed to complete any of his three dribbles and only one of his five attempted crosses found their targets. Güler, on the other hand, was forced to watch the entire game from the bench again and was unable to add to the nine minutes he got on his LALIGA debut against Las Palmas on Saturday.
2. Could Real Madrid break down Getafe’s fortress?
Getafe had only lost one home match this season, and that game was played away from the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez as a stadium closure forced Getafe to take on Rayo Vallecano at the Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano. At the Coliseum, they had registered six wins and three draws. No team had scored two there since Osasuna in September, and even they fell to a 3-2 defeat. José Bordálas has got his team playing some excellent football and grinding out results as he knows how, with ex-Madridista Borja Mayoral among his star players. Ancelotti was effective in shutting down Getafe and Joselu’s physicality was the perfect match to their rough defensive style. This was the most convincing defeat that Getafe have had at home, and their first by more than a single goal, since a 3-0 loss to Atlético Madrid in August 2022.
3. Could Aurelién Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga avoid a ban?
Both of Real Madrid’s French midfielders came into this game just one yellow card away from a suspension which would’ve seen them miss the (other) Madrid derby against Atlético Madrid on Sunday night. Tchouameni was started regardless, while Camavinga came off the bench at half-time. Ironically given that choice by Ancelotti, it was the latter who looked more in danger of seeing a yellow card. Tchouameni produced an assured display, winning the most duels in the game with 11, and also winning the most tackles with three, all without conceding a single foul. Until the 92nd minute. That was when the makeshift defender brought down Gastón Álvarez and was shown a booking, meaning he’ll miss Sunday’s derby. Camavinga, who came on at half-time, conceded two fouls and won only two of his seven duels. A night to forget maybe, but not one that will make him unavailable for Sunday’s fixture.
1. Is Joselu the solution?
Not since December 2nd had Joselu started a LALIGA game, but the centre-forward showed everyone what they’d been missing. He scored for the third time in a row when starting after also converting against Arandina in the Copa del Rey and against Union Berlin in the UEFA Champions League. He registered more shots than anybody else with six, three of them on target, two off and one blocked. He also created another chance with his hold-up play and generally provided a thorn in the side of the usually reliable Getafe defence. It’s also true, though, that this game was perfectly suited to the kind of physical and tough battle that allows Joselu to thrive. Up against a side who sit in a low block in numbers and deny any space for crosses, he may not have quite such an impact, but this was a clear message to Carlo Ancelotti that he perhaps can rotate more than he has been.
2. How bad is Antonio Rüdiger’s injury?
What looked like a superb crunching tackle from Antonio Rüdiger to stop Mason Greenwood could have nasty consequences for the Real Madrid defender as he hobbled off and did not come back on after half-time. The German looked to be in real pain and Real Madrid are not in a position where they can afford to lose another defender, with only Nacho available as a natural central defender if Rüdiger is not an option. With Tchouameni suspended for Sunday, even the makeshift options could be limited. Reports from the club seem to suggest that there is no serious injury but a knock to the defender which left him unable to carry on, but further tests may be needed in the coming days to decide if he will be available to face Atlético.
3. Was Brahim Díaz punished for not going down in the box?
With 89 minutes on the clock and the game done and dusted, Real Madrid were enraged as Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea denied what seemed to be a clear penalty. Brahim Díaz broke into the box and went past Gastón Álvarez, who swung out his left leg to trip the attacker, without making any contact with the ball, and then wrapped his arms around him for good measure. Brahim attempted to stay on his feet, but penalty appeals were waved away and play continued. It was a bizarre decision, and even more strange that VAR did not review the call, though, fortunately for Real Madrid, it had no impact on the final result.