La Liga 2018-19: Real Madrid 2-0 Real Valladoid Talking Points and Observations.
Real Madrid needed a lot of luck to get out of the hot mess they were in after the abrupt departure of Julen Lopetegui and luck is exactly what they were blessed with tonight as they came away with all three points after a poor performance at the Santiago Bernebau.
Real Valladolid struck the crossbar twice on the night, once through their captain Ruben Alcarez, and once through youngster, Toni Suarez Villa as both attempts had summer signing Thibaut Courtois beat, but were unfortunate to not get on the scoresheet tonight.
On the other end, Real was lacking in attack throughout the first half and needed that little bit of magic in the opposition box, which the trident of Bale, Benzema, and Asensio tried to provide, but failed with their various tame efforts at the goal.
Casemiro had the most number of attempts at the Valladolid goal and was kept out on various occasions by La Masia product Jordi Masip. Santiago Solari made his first change in taking him off and bringing on Isco, which made the game a lot more open-ended, leading to a lot of heart in mouth moments for the shaky and depleted Madrid backline as well as the home fans.
Calero fouled Karim Benzema in the box at the 87th minute and the referee didn't hesitate a second before pointing to the spot. Captain Sergio Ramos stepped up and knocked home a calm Panenka penalty, much to the relief of the home fans who burst out in a chorus, singing and yelling his name. Here are my observations from the game.
1) Real need to invest in the squad during the winter transfer window
Real Madrid has a very talented squad. The level of players they possess makes them easily one of the top five teams in the World. But this squad is not a young squad, and injuries at the back have revealed scaring frailties, which are not being covered up by the best player in the World and his consistent stream of goals.
The board trusted existing players to adjust to a new system and try and share the goals instead of attempting to bring someone in the same mould to try and replace the irreplaceable. Karim Benzema has become emblematic of the club's struggles in front of goal and he has now failed to score in the league since 2nd September, as has the man considered the biggest threat in front of goal, Gareth Bale.
Marcelo has been the club's most consistent provider of goals and assists so far, which whilst shows how truly World Class he is, also shows how terrible the board's decision making was in the summer over how to replace the best player arguably in the World, but definitely at the club.