Real Madrid finally recorded their first win of 2015 as they beat Espanyol 3-0 in a comfortable win on the night.

Starting Lineup:

Carlo Ancelotti, even with the Atletico  Madrid game in mind, has named a strong lineup for the game against Espanyol as he knows the importance of getting back on track in the league. The starting eleven consisted of:

Iker Casillas [C], Alvaro Arbeloa, Pepe, Raphael Varane, Fabio Coentrao, Toni Kroos, Isco,  Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema

Scorers:

Real Madrid –
James  Rodriguez (12′)
Gareth Bale (28′)
Nacho Fernandez (76′)

Espanyol –
——

Fabio Coentrao:

Fabio Coentrao was given a slightly surprising start against Espanyol but, as usual, he really didn’t disappoint on the night. He made his runs, crosses, and some great defending. With that said, he was shown a straight red card after a harsh tackle. In my opinion, the red was a harsh call as both him and the Esplanyol player were both going for the ball in a situation that could easily be seen as a 50/50 challenge. Nevertheless, he was shown a straight red and thankfully it didn’t have any major effect on the game.

Alvaro Arbeloa:

It seems as though his new nickname on social media is quickly becoming “the cone”. I have personally had my fair share of criticism against Arbeloa in recent months but he came out with a pretty convincing performance against Espanyol. Now, I’m not suddenly saying that he deserves a starting position or whatnot but he did well and, in a way, recovered his poor performance against Atletico Madrid last week. With that said, it’s still a much better choice to have Daniel Carvajal start the match on Thursday against Atletico in order for us to have  strong defense.

Nacho Fernandez:

Nacho Fernandez came on as a substitute after Coentrao got suspended as he took his place at right-back. The young Spaniard came on and impressed from the start with his runs and his attempts to link-up with the attacking players. He will forever remember this particular game though as he was finally able to get his name on the score sheet and record his first goal for the Real Madrid team. A great night for Nacho!

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Gareth Bale:

A wonderful and unforgettable free-kick was the highlight of his night but he won’t want to remember this game. Unfortunately, he won’t want to remember it because of the fans and not because of above-average performance. He hasn’t been himself this season and the fans have made their opinions heard. Last week, against Valencia, he chose to shoot rather than pass the ball to Karim Benzema (which I still believe was the correct decision) and got massacred for it by the fans and media. Against Espanyol, the same situation happened as he chose to shoot instead of passing it to Cristiano Ronaldo (and, yes, I see it as the right decision as well) and the fans never forgave him for it. The criticism has been WAY over-the-top and the fans really need to calm down with him if they want to see him back at his best again.

My Personal Player Ratings:

Iker Casillas – 8/10
Alvaro Arbeloa – 8/10
Pepe – 8.5/10
Raphael Varane – 9/10
Fabio Coentrao – 7.5/10
Toni Kroos – 9/10
Isco – 9/10
Gareth Bale – 7.5/10
James Rodriguez – 8/10
Cristiano Ronaldo – 8.5/10
Karim Benzema – 7.5/10

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