As Real Madrid gather form while travelling at cruising speed, they are picking up the points and already have ten from four games played. Much of the credit must be given to Courtois, who is making more interventions than ever. But the prudent Belgian keeper must share some of the credit with Vinicius.
Yesterday against Levante, the young Brazilian scored what was close to being the lone goal of the game until Benzema stepped up in the 95th minute, finishing a quick Madrid counter attack that resulted after Levante had thrown every man forward into Madrid’s half in a last-gasp attempt of an equalizer – thus leaving their own half wide open.
Vinicius’ goal was a master stroke expertly placed into the top corner. And on two other occasions, he came close to scoring a second. The 20-year-old winger is quickly gaining Zidane’s trust.
Levante coach Paco López changed his formation and it did not go well. For almost an hour his team were at the mercy of Madrid. But Madrid were unable to kill the game off because they lacked that finishing edge, which is their main defect.
When Levante made changes and returned to the model used in previous games, they took control of the midfield and had Madrid at their mercy. But they were unable to find the goal they deserved, partly because of some important interventions made by Courtois.
That allowed Madrid to close the game with an improved scoreline thanks to the quick breakaway from Benzema, who must be praised for demonstrating such speed and sharpness in the final minutes to run the length of the field and calmly finish with ease.
Barça played out a 1-1 draw against Sevilla, who are showing the credentials of title contenders at this early stage. Lopetegui’s side have returned after the summer and cut the same strong and confident side that finished last season with a sixth Europa League title.
Koeman played the same XI again, aside from the forced changes due to the absence of Lenglet (Araujo had a good game as his replacement). Yet even with Messi more active than in previous days (at least until he got tired), Barça spent the whole game one stride behind Sevilla. Griezmann was poor and Ansu Fati did not shine like other days. But despite the draw, it seems that Koeman is on the right track.