After Barcelona’s surprising 1-0 loss to Granada, Real Madrid hosted Almeria in a game where three points became even more important than they were before. A win would put them in second place as they continue their pursuit for the La Liga title. Los Merengues were able to come out with a very convincing 4-0 win on the night.
With many starting players missing such as Xabi Alonso, Cristiano Ronaldo, Daniel Carvajal, Sami Khedira, Marcelo, Jese, and Alvaro Arbeloa, things had to be shuffled around quite a bit. Carlo Ancelotti was still able to choose a very convincing starting lineup. The starting lineup consisted of:
Diego Lopez, Nacho, Pepe [C], Raphael Varane, Fabio Coentrao, Asier Illarramendi, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Angel Di Maria, Isco, and Karim Benzema
Real Madrid –
Angel Di Maria (28′)
Gareth Bale (53′)
Alvaro Morata (85′)
Isco played yet another great match as he was always causing danger for the opposition. His runs and dribbles are a joy to watch as everyone was prepared for something to happen whenever he got the ball. One negative aspect about his game though (which has actually improved quite a bit recently) is that he usually ‘over-dribbles’ as there are opportunities for him to either shoot or pass but he decides to try going past at least one more opponent. This has caused Real Madrid a few chances earlier in the season but he has been getting better and is showing how important he could potentially be for this team. Playing in Cristiano Ronaldo’s place against Almeria, the young Spanish midfielder showed everyone that he is more than prepared to take the field yet against against Barcelona on Wednesday.
With the suspension of Xabi Alonso, Asier Illarramendi was the man chosen to take his place against Almeria as he did pretty well. It may not have been his best game in a Real Madrid shirt but he was able to control the midfield and come out with some very decisive passes. There is no doubt that the Spaniard has a lot of improvement ahead especially against the bigger teams who pressure a lot more, but there is a lot to come from him in the next few years as many are expecting him to replace Alonso once he leaves.
Angel Di Maria:
There is really not enough to say about Angel Di Maria as he was able to come out with yet another massive performance on the night. He was ready from the start as he played his heart out and came out with three amazing opportunities (two were saved, one hit the crossbar) and then finally got his name on the scoresheet with a wonderful strike. The smile on his face after scoring the goal has shown everyone how happy he really is and how proud he is to be in this team. Things didn’t go too well for him in the beginning of the season but he has shown time and time again why Real Madrid decided to keep him in the team. He will be a massive threat to Barcelona on Wednesday night.
Even though he is still pretty young, Nacho has proven that he has a lot to offer. He has shown that he can be placed anywhere in defense and still do his job without any major problems. The Spanish defender was running up and down the right wing against Almeria causing all sorts of problems for them. He is not a regular starter at the Spanish capital but he is always prepared to do the job whenever he is called up by Ancelotti. In all 30 games played by Nacho, Real Madrid have been unbeaten and he was also able to get his first assist of the season against Almeria. Another great performance for Nacho on the night.
Diego Llorente Makes His Debut:
The young Spanish defender, Diego Llorente, came onto the pitch late in the second half and replaced Fabio Coentrao to make his debut for Real Madrid. He didn’t have much time to show how good he is but was more than prepared to make things happen for the team as he was pretty close to actually getting himself on the scoresheet. Hopefully, we will be able to see a lot more from him in the coming seasons.
Carlo Ancelotti Thanks The Fans:
Real Madrid played with some amazing support from their fans. About 30 minutes after the game has ended, they stayed and chanted Carlo Ancelotti’s name as the manager came back onto the pitch with a few of the players and thanked them for their support. Ancelotti has gained their respect as he continues to show what a great manager he is. A beautiful sight…
My Personal Player Ratings:
Diego Lopez: 8/10
Nacho : 9/10
Raphael Varane: 8/10
Fabio Coentrao: 8/10
Asier Illarramendi: 8/10
Luka Modric: 8.5/10
Gareth Bale: 8/10
Angel Di Maria :9.5/10
Karim Benzema: 7.5/10