Ancelotti’s men claimed three points against Valencia as substitute Jesés cored the late match winner, which earned Real Madrid a crucial 3-2 victory.
In the ’62 minute, Jérémy Mathieu equalized the match to 2-2 and sparked the Mestalla back to life temporarily. With Los Blancos’ constant pressuring in the final third, Modric was able to calmly feed Jesé. The Castilla graduate found a gap between the goalie’s first post and drove his shot low to put his team five points behind league leaders Barcelona and Athletico Madrid.
Valencia, who recently sacked their previous manager Miroslav Djukic this past Monday, could not answer back and eventually fell short handed as the youth-team coach, Nico Estevez, experienced his first lose with the senior squad. More problems continue to plague the club with this lose which puts them 11th on the table.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, have experienced greatly from previous away fixtures between the two. This is the fourth consecutive win against Valencia away from home. An impressive statistic that Ancelotti’s men will benefit from with their recent run of form domestically.
Here are three quick things to take from todays encounter in Valencia:
The Dynamic Duo: The Spaniard and the Croatian
It is matches like today where experience can win games. Ancelotti gave the nod for the pair to start in today’s match against Valencia and rightly so. Alonso and Modric both boasted an incredible 91% and 92% pass completion in today’s game – both imposed their calm natured presence on the field. [Source: Squawka] Whenever Real Madrid were on the attack, Alonso would sit deep, almost as a stopper, spraying balls to the wings or into the middle in order to regain crucial momentum.
On the contrary, Modric, along with dropping down as well at times, would lead the attacks with a cool head (as seen with Jesé’s minute winner). As the ball rebounded from inside the box out to Modric, Di Maria was open on the left wing; however, the Croatian smartly looked to the other wing for Jesé instead and fed him the ball for the game winning goal. Not many players would have rose their head up to scan for options as Modric did. It goes to show how much he has improved individually since leaving Tottenham.
One thing is for sure, though: there were two massive performances from the two central midfielders. Take a bow Alonso and Modric.
Di Maria Needed at Madrid
With many rumors speculating over the Argentine’s future at the Bernabéu, Di Maria put forth another great performance with one goal and one assist. Gareth Bale, who is Acelotti’s preferred right winger, was out of action due to an inflamed left calf muscle. While Di Maria can play both roles, coming off the bench and starting, he may be frustrated at getting minutes this season with the acquisition of the Welshman this last summer. However, Di Maria is needed at Real Madrid. His role in the club is crucial and needed for depth.
It is in times like this where Ancelotti has choices within his squad because of the Argentine’s services, as Bale is struggling to regain full fitness.
The other option would be to play the youngster Jese; however, that would be a gamble, to say the least. At only 20 years old, Jese is still not that experienced to be starting daily for Los Blancos. It’ll be more wise to use him coming off the bench in the time being – as we saw in today’s match, scoring the game winner.
With the winter break coming in for La Liga, Ancelotti’s top priority is to keep Di Maria’s services at the Bernabéu.
Understand that Isco is still developing
Isco has been placed with many expectations to live up to. And while he has performed excellently in various games in the first half of Real Madrid’s campaign; he still is a work in progress.
In recent games, he has shown that he still lacks the maturity to lead the attack during games. His attacking mindset at times can prove to be his biggest weakness at the moment. Many times he will force a play forward when alternatively the game can be and should be slowed down. This is why having the likes of Xabi Alonso and Modric on the field is invaluable. It is their maturity and ability to read the game that allows them to control the flow of the game like today. It is also why Isco was non-existent for the majority of the game in today’s game. He would often be found wondering on the wings, out of position, and ultimately not influencing the line of attack. Additionally, Benzema did not get much service today due to Isco drifting in and out of his central attacking position.
At 21 years old, however, Isco has plenty of time to mature and gradually improve his game in various aspects. The world is at his feet, now lets observe how the U-21 Euro Cup winner develops over the years with Los Blanco’s.