Madrid show character and strength in PSG win

The Madrid-PSG clash did not disappoint. It was a pulsating game from start to finish with flashes of brilliance shown in all departments from both teams. In the end, it was Real Madrid that managed to come from a goal down to record a 3 – 1 victory over PSG giving themselves a cushion as they go into the second leg in Paris. Madridstas who bet online before the game would not have been disappointed as star man continued his impressive goal scoring form in the Champions League netting his 100th and 101 Real Madrid Champions League goals.

Key duels

Going into the match, many were looking at the attacking prowess of the two teams and they thought that’s where all the action will be. It never was, however. The one area in which the game was won and lost was in the centre of the field. Toni Kroos ran the game from start to finish providing the highest number of successful passes and the most number of key passes in the opposition half. Together with Luka Modric and anchor, Casemiro, Madrid’s midfield managed to shift the ball quickly from defence to attack making it a good end-to-end match. For PSG, it seemed the quick yellow card for Le Celso disrupted their tactics, as he had to hold back challenges for most of the game giving the impetus to Madrid.

Experience decides the match

Madrid left it late but in the end, the team’s character and strength showed as they scored two late goals. With the midfield stabilising the game, Madrid’s attackers had the room to probe further up the pitch and Asensio did just that. When he came onto the field, he was deployed high further up the pitch and it is that position that he continuously found the room to cause problems for PSG. It took a beautiful cross from Asensio that ricochet off Ronaldo’s knee into the net and another impressive holding of the ball allowing Marcelo to give Madrid a comfortable cushion.

With the next match set in a couples of weeks’ time, Real Madrid will be hoping that they can finish off the job in Paris. It’s clear now a nil all draw in Paris will be enough to take the team to the next round but it’s no guarantee that PSG will not score especially considering the attacking talent they have at their disposal and the home advantage. What that means is that Real Madrid will have to go in Paris looking for win and that they should aim at drawing the first blood with a quick goal.

In that quest, the chosen midfield on the day will have to face a stern test. They have to shield a defence that has performed below expectations this season while providing the outlet for the attacking players. Two of the consistent Real Madrid midfield in Toni Kroos and Luka Modric face tests before the huge game and its every Madridrista’s prayer that they pass. If not then Isco and possibly Kovavic will have to fill in the shoes of the two players.

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02 2018
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Liverpool Decide on Transfer Fee to Offer Real Madrid for Key Stopper This Summer

?Liverpool have reportedly set a fee that they will offer Real Madrid for goalkeeper Keylor Navas in the summer.

It’s no secret Liverpool have had problems in the goalkeeping department and after failing to sign a keeper in the January window, Jurgen Klopp is reportedly keen to solve the goalkeeping crisis in the summer and will look to lure Navas to Anfield.

Real Madrid v FC Barcelona - Supercopa de Espana: 2nd Leg

As for Navas, he is set to be one of a number of casualties in Madrid this summer with he club set to revamp their squad following what’s been an underwhelming La Liga campaign.

According to Spanish news outlet ?El Gol Digital, Liverpool have set a transfer fee of £44m to bring Navas from the Bernabeu to Merseyside. Navas has kept just five clean sheets in 17 La Liga appearances so far this season, and with Madrid’s seemingly never ending transfer saga with David De Gea still apparent, it looks likely Navas will be allowed to leave in the summer.

This isn’t the first time he has been linked with the Premier League. During Madrid’s pursuit of De Gea, Navas was used as a bargaining tool by Real in the negotiations, however once the deal fell through he remained as Madrid’s number one goalkeeper. He has since won consecutive Champions League titles and gained the admiration of Zinedine Zidane.

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According to the report, Liverpool view Navas’ £70m release clause as too high, and will be willing to play no more than the £44m they have settled on paying.

Other goalkeepers such as Alisson and Jack Butland have been ?linked to Liverpool in the last few months, however no approach was made by the Reds to either player. 

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02 2018
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Real Madrid 4-0 Deportivo Alavés: Madrid Make it Six Wins in Seven With Dominant Second Half Display

Real Madrid made it six wins in seven games as they beat a spirited Alaves side 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

?Zinedine Zidane made four changes to the side that beat Leganes 3-1 on Wednesday. Out went Kiko Casilla, Sergio Ramos, Isco and Marco Asensio whilst in came Keylor Navas, Nacho, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo. As for the visitors, they also made four changes from the side that beat Deportivo La Coruna 1-0 on Saturday. Out went Martin Aguirregabiria, Tomas Pina, Ibai Gomez and El Haddadi Munir, whilst in came Alexis, Daniel Torres, Marcos Gullon and Rubén Sobrino Pozuelo.

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Madrid started the game on the front foot and had the first big chance when Theo got beyond his marker on the left hand side and cut the ball back to Benzema who looked as though he had a free shot at goal. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, he slipped as he struck the ball and failed to get a good enough connection on the ball which just missed the target, a real let off for Alaves.

It was Zidane’s men who had the better of the early possession and chances, however Alaves responded positively with some half-chances for themselves. John Guidetti combined well with Hernan Perez on the edge of the penalty area before he fired over the crossbar. He had and unmarked Pedraza to his left in the box however decided to take the selfish route instead.

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Just minutes later, a poor touch from Theo allowed Guidetti to create some space outside the area and fired a shot towards goal. It was easy enough for Navas to handle, however another warning to Real Madrid that Alaves didn’t come to make up the numbers.

After an even opening to the game, Madrid were in the ascendancy on the stroke of half-time with Casemiro going close with his 20-yard strike however went inches wide. Just seconds later, Madrid finally found the breakthrough.

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Lucas’ pass found Benzema who’s sublime back-heel fell into the path of none other than Cristiano Ronaldo, who’s left-footed effort found the back of Pacheo’s net to give Madrid then lead just two minutes before half time, his fourth goal in four appearances against Alaves.

Alaves would’ve been proud of their first half showing despite going into the break behind, however they suffered a calamitous start to the second half. Straight from kick-off they were dispossessed by Benzema who fed the ball through to Gareth Bale who made no mistake in slotting the ball past the keeper to double Madrid’s lead just 30 seconds into the second half.

Just minutes later Benzema thought he’d bagged himself what would’ve been a well deserved goal, however he drifted just offside as Carvajal played the ball through and the goal was ruled out.

Madrid didn’t have to wait much longer for their third as Bale played the ball out wide to Lucas on the right-hand side before he then slid the ball into the on-rushing Ronaldo who tucked the ball home for his second and Madrid’s third goal of the game.

Any resistance from Alaves had diminished after the third goal and the Real players were queuing up to to try and add to the lead. Ronaldo was to completing his hattrick when Gareth Bale put an inviting cross into the box, however the Portuguese star seemed to take his eye off the ball and failed to make the needed connection to direct the ball home.

Real Madrid v Deportivo Alaves - La Liga

Bale very nearly got his second of the game when Ronaldo latched onto a through ball down the right flank before flashing the ball across the goalmouth, however the outstretching Bale couldn’t stretch far enough to make contact with he ball in what would’ve been another very well worked goal for Madrid.

With just two minutes remaining, Madrid won a penalty after Bale was brought down by Laguardia. Surprisingly, Ronaldo passed on the chance to complete his hattrick and instead handed to the responsibility to Benzema, who stepped up and slotted the ball beyond the keeper. A well deserved goal for the Frenchman and a well deserved win for Madrid.

The win means that Real close the gap on rivals Atletico in second place to just four points in La Liga with Atletico to play on Sunday. As for Alaves, they will remain in 16th place and 10 points above the relegation zone and will be able to take plenty of positives from their first half performance, but will want to forget their second half shift in a hurry.

Lineups:

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02 2018
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Isco Could Match Zinedine Zidane’s Appearance Tally for Real Madrid Against Alaves on Saturday

?Isco could equal club legend and current manager Zinedine Zidane’s appearance record for Real Madrid if he plays in ?their La Liga match against Alaves on Saturday.

The Spaniard joined Los Blancos in 2013 from Malaga and has become an important player for the club since. He has made 226 appearances for the La Liga side and netted 40 times. 

The midfielder’s stats are becoming very similar to that of Zidane himself and he could equal one of his manager’s statsistics this weekend. According to ?Marca, Isco will equal Zidane’s appearance record for Real Madrid if he plays against Alaves.

Zidane made 227 appearances for Real Madrid from his five year spell at the club, one more than Isco. 

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The 25-year-old is already leading his manager in titles won at the club. Isco has won 12 trophies, which includes three Champions League winners’ medals and a La Liga title. Zidane, in contrast, has collected just six pieces of silverware at Los Blancos as a player, a Champions League and a La Liga title included. 

However, Isco is still trailing in goals scored for the club. The Spaniard has notched up 40 goals so far, nine behind Zidane. 

The Real Madrid boss praised Isco for his quality on the pitch back in October. According to ?FourFourTwo, the 45-year-old said: “He’s looking very confident. He knows how important he is to Real Madrid. He plays as if it’s a kick-about and I like that. 

“He keeps going and if things don’t come off for him, he’s patient and he doesn’t panic. He’s comfortable out on the pitch, with his team-mates, and I’m thrilled that we’re seeing the best of Isco more and more.”

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02 2018
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Picking the Best Potential Real Madrid Lineup to Face Alaves on Saturday

?Now that Zinedine Zidane’s side are effectively out of the title race, their main priority turns to ensure Champions League qualification for next season. Los Blancos sit closer to fifth placed Sevilla (nine points) than to leaders Barcelona, who are 14 points clear of their fierce rivals.

After a sluggish start to the calendar year, Zidane’s side go into this game against the Basque outfit on the back of a six-match unbeaten run.

Los Blancos moved up to third in La Liga following their win over Leganes on Wednesday, and they’ll aim to at least retain that position until the end of the season.

Here’s a look at the best potential lineup for Los Blancos to face Alaves on Saturday.

Torhüter

  • Navas

    Navas1

??Keylor Navas was left out of the matchday squad against Leganas due to Zidane’s rotation. This allowed Kiko Casilla to stand in for the Costa Rican goalkeeper, however it’s expected that Navas will start against Alaves to earn his 125th club appearance for Real Madrid

Verteidigung

  • Carvajal

    Carvajal2

  • Varane

    Varane5

  • Nacho

    Nacho6

  • Theo

    Theo15

?Daniel Carvajal looks most likely to retain his down the right, meanwhile, Theo Hernandez could start his second consecutive at left-back in place of the injured Marcelo. The heart of Los Blancos’ defence could see a partnership containing Rafael Varane and Nacho Fernandez. This is due to the fact that skipper Sergio Ramos is suspended for the clash on Saturday due to suspension. 

Having picked up a booking in the 3-1 win against Leganes after grabbing Leganes midfielder Nabil El Zhar, he is now suspended for picking up an accumulation of yellow cards.

Mittelfeld

  • Modric

    Modric10

  • Casemiro

    Casemiro14

  • Kroos

    Kroos8

?Zidane could make two changes against Alaves in the Madrid midfield with Luka Modric replacing Mateo Kova?i? after the former Tottenham player missed the clash to Leganes through injury. 

Toni Kroos was also another name who missed the midweek clash, but could well replace Isco as he looks to start his 20th La Liga game this season. Casemiro may continue to be the Madrid anchor by protecting the back four by playing in his well-suited holding role.

Sturm

  • Bale

    Bale11

  • Benzema

    Benzema9

  • Ronaldo

    Ronaldo7

?Both Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t start the game against Leganes on Wednesday, with the latter being rested after playing 19 consecutive La Liga matches. However, they both look poised to lead Los Blancos’ attack, showing support to Karim Benzema down either flank.

The front three have a combined 21 goals between them in La Liga this season, to put that into context, they finished with a much more impressive 43 last season, with Ronaldo grabbing himself 25 goals alone.

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