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Benzema, Mendy both 8/10 as Real Madrid ease past Getafe and pull closer to rivals Atletico

Benzema, Mendy both 8/10 as Real Madrid ease past Getafe and pull closer to rivals Atletico

February 10, 2021 0 By Hitz Trends
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Karim Benzema and Ferland Mendy scored as Real Madrid beat Getafe 2-0 in La Liga on Tuesday to move within five points of league leaders Atletico Madrid.

Madrid took the initiative early on, as Casemiro put a close-range shot over the bar and Benzema headed against the woodwork. The home side were the more dangerous team throughout the first half, and Luka Modric had an effort well-saved by Getafe keeper David Soria before half-time.

After the break, Benzema was also denied by Soria before the French striker broke the deadlock, heading in Vinicius Junior’s cross from the right. Six minutes later, Ferland Mendy doubled Madrid’s lead and ended the contest, bursting forwards from deep to get on the end of Marcelo‘s cross.

Positives

Madrid’s 3-4-3 — a plan hatched by coach Zinedine Zidane to cope with a lengthy absentee list, with eight players injured and Toni Kroos banned — was an interesting tactical experiment. It wasn’t always seamless, as you’d expect from a largely unfamiliar system, but it had the benefit of frequently getting Marcelo, especially, into positions where he could trouble Getafe. It was the Brazilian’s best performance this season.

The surprise pick of Marvin Park for his first start raised eyebrows, especially with the out-of-favour Isco left out, but the 20-year-old justified his selection. The winger’s story — from Tranmere, to Mallorca, to Madrid — is an unusual one but he’s already shown plenty of promise and didn’t look out of place on this occasion.

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Negatives

The first half was a tough watch at times, a fact not helped by Getafe’s unimaginative, timid, and stodgy approach. At the same time, with Kroos missing, a significant proportion of Madrid’s midfield fluidity went with him, as Casemiro and Modric were expected to do the work of three players as a midfield two.

Isco’s failure to get a start was humiliating, given the lack of alternatives, and surely confirmed that his Real Madrid career will soon be over. Zidane used to be a huge fan of the playmaker, making him an integral part of his best Madrid teams, but that now feels like a lifetime ago.

Manager rating out of 10

8 — Zidane showed a flexibility and ingenuity here that many are unwilling to credit him with having. The decisions to make in terms of selection were limited, with only 13 senior players available. His solution to Alvaro Odriozola’s injury was a bold one: a change of system that saw Mendy join Raphael Varane and Nacho in a back three, and Marcelo and Marvin at wing-back.

Zidane is often accused of being reluctant to trust young players, but Madrid’s injury crisis has forced his hand, and here the likes of Marvin and Sergio Arribas didn’t let him down.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Thibaut Courtois, 6 — His quietest match of the season, with Getafe only mustering one shot off target all night. No need, then, for his customary one superb save per game.

DF Ferland Mendy, 8 — Out of position as a left-sided centre-back and excelled. Played a hugely impressive role in the crucial second goal, starting the move himself, playing the ball out to Marcelo, and continuing his run to get on the end of the Brazilian’s delivery for his first goal of the season.

DF Raphael Varane, 7 — The match-winner against Huesca had a much less dramatic evening here. Getafe offered so little going forward that there was relatively little for Varane to do, but what he did, he did well.

DF Nacho, 6 — Looks to be getting back to his level, but this wasn’t a game from which to draw any conclusions.

DF Marcelo, 8 — A much improved display. Nominally played as a left wing-back, but often moved infield to operate as a playmaker when in possession. Linked up well with compatriot Vinicius early on, and later provided the assist for Mendy. Limped off later.

DF Marvin Park, 7 — His first start, and third appearance of the season. His skill set suits the wing-back role. Slightly overhit a dangerous first-half cross, and then had a cross-shot saved.

MF Casemiro, 6 — Had a chance to score inside the first five minutes, but shot high. Worked hard alongside Modric, and covered a lot of ground.

MF Luka Modric, 6 — Missed Kroos and saw one of Madrid’s better first-half chances pushed wide. No one could have expected the 35-year-old to play as much as he has — involved in 21 of Madrid’s 22 league games — but there’s no alternative right now.

FW Vinicius Junior, 7 — Ran at the Getafe defence early on, winning a free kick, but then went relatively quiet before an unexpected switch to the right-hand side saw him swing in an excellent cross for the opening goal.

FW Marco Asensio, 6 — One of Madrid’s better, more exciting players in recent weeks but somewhat below par here. Taken off with 15 minutes left.

FW Karim Benzema, 8 — Could have scored when he hit the bar with an early header and again after half-time when Soria made a superb save. Finally got the opener with an hour gone and now has 11 league goals for the season.

Substitutes

FW Sergio Arribas, 7 — Replaced Marvin after 55 minutes and looks a tidy player.

MF Isco, N/R — Came on for Asensio and did very little. Will surely move on this summer.

DF Victor Chust, N/R — A late introduction for the injured Marcelo.

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