Real Madrid now played and won their first home game in the 2020/21 season, beating Real Valladolid 1-0 at Stédina Di Stefano in Valdebebas. Once again, there have been many interesting talking points as this really new season gets underway. Here are six of them in the form of three answered questions and three questions that need answering.
1. Will Real Madrid keep its record of 100% at Di Stefano?
It was Real Madrid’s first official match at Di Stéfano since they won the 2019/20 League title against Villarreal again on July 16. Their record there was flawless over the course of last season, winning all six of the matches they played there after the lockdown and achieving aggregate 13-2. They even crushed Getafe 6-0 there in the “ghost” pre-season friendly. So, can they keep that record 100% in their first home game of 2020/21? Yeah. Not much, but yes.
2. Will Benzema and Jovi start together again?
There was a surprise at the weekend when Zinedine Zidane Karim Benzema and Luka Jovi started together. So, would he make it back-to-back matches with a double lead for the Frenchman and the Serbian? He did, and it should have come as a surprise. Not only because of rumors surrounding Jovi’s future, but also because they hadn’t started two back-to-back matches together prior to this one. But Zidane went for it, and in fact, Jovi was more energetic than Benzema at this.
3. How will Zidane deal with the Real Valladolid winger?
Real Valladolid is better than many people think. Ronaldo and his board made some good acquisitions this summer, and Sergio Gonzalez is one of the most underestimated coaches in LaLiga. Pucela has special strength and special depth on the wings, with talents such as Oscar Plano, Fabien Orellana, Pablo Hervias, Waldo and Tony Villa. So, you had to wonder how Zidane would have dealt with these slow players in this player. Solve it? To use both his backs at the same time, giving Marcelo and Alvaro Odriozola the nod … Real Valladolid didn’t actually play the show they usually play and Odriozola was (perhaps surprisingly) a good game. Therefore, Real Madrid managed to keep Real Valladolid mostly under control.
1. Did Jovic or Vinicius play a better game?
For many, the narrative that comes out of this match is that Real Madrid scored a final goal right after Jovic came out and right after Vinicius entered. The fact that the Serbian did not score and that the Brazilian did lead to some very simplified conclusions that Jovi equals bad and Vinicius equals well. But for me though, the former Eintracht Frankfurt player was doing much better. He was somewhat unlucky, while Vinicius made great use of the lucky touch of a defender that he played alongside the opportunity he took.
2. Why is Casemiro so quiet?
Casemiro only completed 41 assists in this match. There were only four games in all of last season, where he also played 90 minutes and completed less, so you have to wonder why he played a little. One of the things I noticed in this match was the way Sergio Ramos would hold the ball from the back himself and then play a pass as soon as he reached the pitch that Casemiro was occupying. To me, it seemed like a waste of time and maybe that’s why the Brazilian wasn’t as engaged as usual and it’s not necessarily his fault. However, for the midfielder, it was definitely a quiet start to the season.
3. Is dependence on Courtois a concern?
Once again, Thibaut Courtois went a big way with Real Madrid and played a big role on the three points. After major stops with Real Sociedad and Real Betis, the Belgian did it again. It’s great that Real Madrid have such an outstanding goalkeeper, but should it be a concern that Courtois is called up so often? Maybe not in LaLiga, as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid all benefit from the performance of their goalkeepers from time to time. But Courtois might not be enough magic in the Champions League.