Real Madrid started their home season in disappointing fashion despite playing beautiful football in the first 45 minutes of the 1-1 draw against Valladolid. James Rodriguez’s return to the Madrid XI didn’t end up in a win for his side. Karim Benzema’s brilliant finish was neutralized by Carvajal’s wrong judgement of positioning which allowed Sergi Guardiola to win a point for them as Madrid dropped two points in their first game at the Bernabeu this season.
Real Madrid starting XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, Isco; Bale, Benzema, James.
Valladolid starting XI: Masip, Moyano, Salisu, Olivas, Nacho, Porro, Fede, Michel, Plano, Guardiola, Unal.
Real Madrid played one of their best football of 2019 in the first half of this game yet they could not find the net. Their gameplay looks entirely different from their pre-season struggles as James Rodriguez and a rejuvenated Gareth Bale has brought some fresh air into the side. James was primarily deployed on the right-hand side of the central midfield where his vertical movement was remarkable. Real Madrid’s one-touch passing could not go unnoticed either as Isco, Marcelo, Benzema and Kroos looked in great cohesion on the left flank. But the return of Carvajal has not resulted in any fortune for either the player or the team. He made some untimed tackles and below-par crosses that halted the smooth flow of the game for Real Madrid.
Valladolid were solid in defence for most parts of the first 45 minutes but they could have gone 2-0 or even 3-0 down as James Rodriguez was left open on three different occasions. The Colombian got the opportunity to finish with his customary left-foot curve on more than one occasion and he also missed a close header. On the offence, Valladolid did not create anything noteworthy.
Toni Kroos had total control of the game in the first half, having a staggering 100% completion rate for his 53 passes.
The second half was a completely different story from the first half. Due to Valladolid’s immovable defence, Real Madrid went back to their crossing tactic which was dealt with severe disappointment. Dani Carvajal continued being the weak link on the right as he kept losing balls due to poor first touches and his crosses were cleared by the first defender with ease. The introduction of Vinicius and Jovic didn’t change anything although the Serbian came close to scoring with this first touch of the ball after Bale produced a brilliant cross from the left.
Benzema opened the scoring with a brilliant turn and finish for Real Madrid after the 80th-minute mark of the game but all the hard work of the team was nullified by Carvajal unthinkable positioning. He kept chasing the Valladolid player with the ball despite three other Real Madrid players patrolling the same opponent attacker. Ramos missed a tackle at a crucial moment in the lead up to the goal but Carvajal had to mark Sergi Guardiola’s run but he left Valladolid’s hero wide open to calmly finish it past Courtois.
Real Madrid’s struggles get doubled when they don’t find an early goal at the Bernabeu. They have had difficult starts to the season at home for different kind of reasons during the last few seasons. Today it was the total lapse in concentration of their defence which deprived them of the three points. James was in the line-up to help the score line and it became evident from the way how his teammates were setting him up to line up the long-range shots. Isco had a mixed game as his link-up play was top-notch but he lost the ball 10 times by the 50th minute of the game. Real Madrid didn’t play badly in this game as it is very difficult to play free-flowing football with good execution against a 10 or 11 man defence. But Real Madrid did not work on their long-lasting issue of getting hold of a game like this with early goals when the opponent is still not completely concentrated on their defence while Madrid’s right-back situation is a cause of huge concern at the moment.
Real Madrid have failed to win 3 out of their last 8 home openers in La Liga including tonight’s fixture. The previous two draws were against Valencia in 2012/13 and 2017/18.
Sergio Ramos recovered the ball 13 times in this game and it’s more than any other defender across the league this season so far.