Espanyol 0-1 Real Madrid: Rating Los Blancos' players as they pile pressure on Barcelona at the top of the table | La Liga 2019-20
- Real Madrid's players are rated and slated from their 1-0 win over Espanyol.
- Casemiro scored the only goal of the game; his fourth of the season.
It was always going to be one-way traffic against a side that even deployed one of their strikers to suffocate the central areas of the pitch in their 4-4-1-1 shape.
The hosts did have chances come their way on rare occasions, but they couldn't match the technical brilliance of Real Madrid, who now have five wins on the bounce.
On that note, we rate the Real Madrid players from their crucial victory over Espanyol.
Thibaut Courtois - 7/10
While he was largely untested in the opening 45 minutes of the game, Courtois had to stay alive when Espanyol marauded forward in numbers early on in the second half.
He made a fine diving save in the 49th minute off Wu Lei's low effort, before keeping out a well-taken free-kick. This is now Courtois' third clean sheet in four La Liga outings.
Dani Carvajal - 7.5/10
Dani Carvajal protected his flank well, was decisive in one-on-one situations and neat with his passing at the back throughout the game. He did enjoy a better second half going forward, but was tasked with more of the defensive work towards the closing stages.
Raphael Varane - 7.5/10
Peerless. Varane, arguably Real Madrid's best defender since the resumption of La Liga, put in another solid shift despite being called upon by his manager yet again during this hectic period.
The Frenchman made some last-ditch tackles and blocks to save his side, but more importantly stuck to his task throughout the game.
Sergio Ramos - 7/10
The skipper was better with his discipline and positioning on an overall note. He led the charge when Real Madrid were probing and pressing for an opener, but the highlight of his game was the communication with Varane.
Marcelo - 5/10
Espanyol had a lot of joy down that right-hand side, much to the distress of Zidane on the touchline. Marcelo was, of course, a part of the high backline that Los Blancos maintained, but he left too much space in behind him and switched off when it mattered.
Extremely fortunate to not have scored an own goal in the attempt to clear his lines in the 94th minute.
Federico Valverde - 6.5/10
Valverde did leave a few spaces free around him and wasn't as quick to react, but was one of the key players while going forward.
He started attacks and rotated positions time and time again, causing real unrest among the Espanyol midfielders.
Casemiro - 9/10
Casemiro bags a 9, not just for his well-taken goal on the cusp of half-time. He did get into the right position and poked the ball into the back of the net, but as a defensive screen, the Brazilian was at his reliable best whilst his teammates were switching positions and playing some dynamic football.
He won the 50-50 battles, was great in the air and when Real Madrid needed to regain possession.
Toni Kroos - 7/10
Toni Kroos did what he does best — shut down gaps, bring a cohesive force to his side's game play and spray passes all around the pitch. The German was heavily involved as he had no fewer than 110 touches in the game, underlining the influence he had during possession.
Isco - 6/10
Isco was tidy in possession during the build-up, but misplaced a couple of passes in the advanced areas of the field that could have set the likes of Benzema and Hazard free. Just when he shifted to the left side in a deeper, narrow position, Isco began to find his groove.
Karim Benzema - 8.5/10
Benzema, for the umpteenth time this season, showcased his selflessness, awareness and intelligence in tight areas of the pitch. He created something out of nothing whenever he was closed down, and summed up his brilliant performance with a delightful backheel through the legs of Bernardo Espinosa for Casemiro's goal.
Eden Hazard - 6.5/10
Hazard played in fits and starts, occasionally bursting into life and playing in his fellow forwards. The former Chelsea man drew bodies towards himself, thereby creating space for his teammates to run into. He was unfortunate to not have scored in the 44th minute when Diego Lopez denied him with a brilliant save.
Vinicius Junior - 5/10
Vinicius, Real Madrid's Man of the Match against Mallorca, injected pace into the system since coming on but lacked the sharpness. He got away with one when he needlessly fouled Oscar Melando and Espanyol almost directed his header on target.
Rodrygo - 6.5/10
Rodrygo put in an excellent shift since he came on, racing up and down his flank and adding an extra counter-attacking threat just when Real Madrid had to soak in the pressure and break away.
Published 29 Jun 2020, 05:30 IST