Vinicius: Real Madrid 1x1 player ratings vs Real Sociedad
Marcelo, Nacho and Militao were overrun, Valverde is not Casemiro and Alphonse Areola failed another audition as Vinicius gave the Bernabéu some cheer.
AREOLA: The Copa keeper did not have a night to remember. Martin Odegaard’s shot for the opener was soft and slipped through his legs after a parry straight to the Norwegian from his Isak’s shot. He was also not strong in the hand for the fourth and generally did not give his defence the sensation that they could leave much to chance with him between the sticks.
NACHO: The usually dependable utility man was given the runaround all evening and Barrenetxea in particular gave him a torrid time. He did score to give Madrid a chance at 3-4 but on a dark evening for Real Madrid’s defence Zidane’s comfort blanket was as solid as a bedsheet in a hurricane.
MILITAO: Apart from a couple of well-timed interventions the Brazilian also did not cover himself in glory. He was unfortunate to get a sight nick off Odegaard’s opener but Areola is the real culprit for that. Raphaël Varane will not be losing any sleep on Thursday
RAMOS: The captain was strangely quiet until he got clobbered by Odegaard, then the two Sergio Ramos’ were on the pitch. He hit the bar with a header at 0-1 but was too eager to get forward in pursuit of a goal and neglectful of his defensive duties, his error leading to a chance for Isak in the 45th minute that should have been taken by the Swede. On a night when Real needed their defensive leader with two reserve players at the back, Ramos was not there.
MARCELO: The Brazilian was good going forward and made a couple of decisive interventions at the back while also handing his side a lifeline by scoring Real’s opener at 0-3 down. However, he remains positionally suspect and was nowhere near Isak when La Real opened up a 1-4 lead.
VALVERDE: Asked to fill the Casemiro role, the Uruguauyan did what he could but this was further evidence that the Brazilian is arguably Madrid’s most important player, and yet the only squad member without a direct understudy. He was not helped much but was overwhelmed by the attacking speed of Merino, Odegaard and Oyarzabal and unable to get forward to offer support.
KROOS: An anonymous performance from the German, who hardly got involved in the generation of play, was absent without leave at the back and generally looked like he’d prefer to have been given the evening off. He more or less took it anyway.
JAMES: The lack of game time for the Colombian was telling and he lacked a sure first touch and was second to the tackle too often. He did test Remiro with a decent crack but that was not enough to spare him the ignominy of being replaced at half time for Rodrygo.
VINICIUS: Madrid’s best player on the night by a country mile. Always willing to take on his man, he led Gorosabel such a merry dance that the La Real defender ended up flooring him in frustration and getting his marching orders. Direct, full of running, he teed up a couple of excellent chances for his teammate and almost scored the goal of his career after skipping past two defenders and missing the far post by inches. Laid Rodrygo’s goal for 2-4 on a plate and had one ruled out himself for offside.
BENZEMA: After such an influential season and with Madrid chasing the title it was a surprise Benzema started and he appeared to react accordingly. He barely threatened the La Real defence, was completely out of tune with Vinicius and looked a pale shadow of the player who has carried Zidane’s side for much of the season
BRAHIM: Another opportunity missed for the 20-year-old, and he won’t be getting too many more on this evidence. He provided the assist for Marcelo but too often ran into a wall of defenders, rarely played the simple ball and certainly did little to suggest he’ll be running anyone out of a starting spot this season.
MODRIC: The Croatian came on at half time to add some experience and guile but his introduction changed little overall despite his best efforts to pick a way through in the final 20 minutes.
JOVIC: Another cameo for the Serbia striker and another 15 minutes that make that 60-million-euro transfer last summer appear more and more kneejerk.
RODRYGO: Added some impetus to the attack added the second goal and added the second goal. He couldn’t do much more.
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