Vinicius paid tribute to the late Paco Gento as he continued to attack down the left side of the Santiago Bernabéu against Elche on Sunday. At times, he lacked the cutting edge, but also showed his immense quality in the 2-2 draw. He creates havoc for opposing defenders, starting from a standing position to attack the full-back or play a one-two with a Madrid team-mate. He won the penalty that Karim Benzema went on to send over the bar, his first miss in 16 penalties. The young Brazilian played the perfect cross for Éder Militão to head home and make it 2-2 in the 92nd minute. Most of Madrid's play went through Vinicius, but he encountered a strong Elche defence on the day. With the majority of the action happening on the left wing, not much happened on the right flank for Carlo Ancelotti's side.
Hazard and Bale offer little
Eden Hazard was tasked with playing the right wing role, but did little. Rodrygo came on on the right and also offered little, as Hazard moved inside, an area he is more comfortable in, however he now lacks the speed that once accompanied his excellent technique. We all want to believe in Hazard, but it's not easy. The same goes for Rodrygo and Marco Asensio, two right wing options that rarely grab their opportunity with both hands. Gareth Bale is still available but nobody believes in him any more, least of all himself. His face on the bench at the Bernabéu said it all.
Benzema goes off injured
Elche left the Spanish capital with a draw and could have went away with more thanks to their overall play. They took both goals really well, the first taking advantage of Hazard's badly timed challenge on Johan Mojica, which eventually led to Lucas Boyé powering home a Fidel cross from the left. The second came after some great play by Boyé, who set up Luis Milla to drive past Thibaut Courtois. For Madrid, this was a setback that was compounded by Benzema going off with a muscular injury, the extent of which we will know soon. On 3 February, Madrid visit San Mamés to take on Athletic Club, and on 15 February they play PSG away in the Champions League. The prospect is worrying, given what Luka Jovic fails to provide every time he plays.