The weekly summary
After taking the top spot in La Liga mid week against Osasuna, Real Madrid was looking to maintain their position against tough city rivals Atlético on Saturday night.
Zidane surprised everyone again, it seems guessing the starting XI for Madrid will be near impossible this season, by giving Fede Valverde de start ahead of James Rodriguez. Valverde bringing in more muscle into what was going to be a battle on the midfield between both teams.
The match was a difficult one, with Madrid trying to take control without sacrificing their defense, and with Atlético happy to wait back and defend. It was a tactical display on both sides, both very well organized and each player helping their team with defensive duties. This solidarity hurt Madrid the most, preventing top players like Hazard or Bale to display their full potential offensively. Even then, Bale was causing a lot of troubles for the Atlético defense with his speed, and Madrid was the team proposing more offensive football on the pitch.
The second half was very similar, with the blancos having the few clear chances to take the lead. A great header by Benzema was only kept out of the goal by a greater save by Oblak. It seemed Atlético was happy not losing the match, caring little about the victory, and Madrid not willing to risk losing their tactical order to chase a winner. Both teams knowing the league is a marathon and not a sprint.
Even then, Zidane gave entrance to Modric, James and Jovic in the hopes of getting a late goal while Simeone put in more defensive players to hold the draw. At the end 0-0 on the scoreboard and 1 point for each team.
Madrid happy to have kept a clean sheet after the early defensive troubles in the season, and have prevented the opposition from taking a single goal on target in the last three league games.
Things are different in the Champions League, were a horrendous start against Brugge saw Zidane’s men go down by 2 goals in the first half. A late off side trap, and a big mistake on Modric’s part together with a bit of fortune towards the Belgian side gave way to the Belgian goals.
Real was able to get a draw at the end of the match and scrape a point, but after losing in Paris on opening night, things are not looking great on the Champions League. Luckily, there’s still time to correct the situation a make it out of the group stage.
In the league things are brighter, with Madrid as solitary leaders, and they’ll look to stay that way this weekend against the surprise so far this year, Granada who are one point behind of Los Blancos.