NewslettersSign inAPP
spainSPAINargentinaARGENTINAchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOperuPERUlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA

Isco against the Benzema, Bale, Cristiano design challenge


Isco is the man of the moment in Madrid. Yesterday he scored when the game was still in the balance, arriving in the area onto a neat pass from Cristiano and blasted it into the goal to close off 40 minutes of white torment. Following the break, Alavés had been much the better side. They failed with their final shot but controlled the game and made dangerous advances into the box. The Bernabéu crowd became impatient and booed. It wasn't for nothing. Yet again, the BBC were disengaged up front, the midfield (this time without Casemiro) were inferior, with the opposition dominating the field of play. The 1-0 lead from the first half (a nice finish from Benzema) was at risk.

Real Madrid's Isco celebrates after scoring against Alavés.
Full screen
Real Madrid's Isco celebrates after scoring against Alavés.SERGIO PEREZREUTERS

Isco and James victims of the BBC

Isco has a contract in place for the remainder of this season and for the next one. Will he renew it? We know that Barça want him. He is desperate to play more, just like James, who is already standing at the exit door. Both are victims of a formation design without a play maker, which is forced by the superstition of the BBC. The insistence of playing this trio is making less and less sense, with Cristiano having lost his hurricane-like pace and has dropped his share of the goals. The formula can no longer work as it did before, with fewer goals and their lacking defensive cover is as before, only aggravated, as it's now more recognised. It wouldn't be a bad idea to utilise just two of them together. There is time for everyone.

Two thirds | Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema not living up to the hype.
Full screen
Two thirds | Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema not living up to the hype.Kiko HuescaEFE

Slim Madrid advantage over confident Barcelona

Madrid won, yes, and by a deceptive score, but we shouldn't forget that the win was in danger. And it's not a Liga to draw games. Barça took the game in Granada, without Messi or Piqué, but with Neymar and Luis Suárez, who took on the responsibility. Barça are back on track and few points will likely be dropped. They have appeared rejuvenated in spirit since Luis Enrique announced that he was leaving and full of belief following the PSG comeback. That was where they achieved the impossible and now they have more faith to in the pursuit of Madrid, who still have the advantage, but also some insecurity. I think Zidane is on the verge of shuffling his pack and dealing the cards again.