Real Madrid’s win over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday was a display that showed how Carlo Ancelotti’s master plan is finally taking shape. The match finished 3-1 in favor of the capital club, but the result is only the beginning.
The result is the first this season that has not been a close call for Los Blancos. During these 90 minutes, Real was convincing, and dominated against a strong team that has had a good start this season, Athletic Bilbao. With two goals from Isco and one from Cristiano Ronaldo, this match was a good sign of things to come for Madrid fans.
One thing noticed during the match was the crisp passing pioneered, by Luka Modric in midfield. Also, Ancelotti returned to the double pivot 4-2-3-1 system Real used, with Modric and Sami Khedira occupying those roles, and placed Isco right in front of them as the No. 10 (Isco has also played in the deep lying role earlier this season). As the game carried on, Isco and Modric would rotate positions, and even change the formation on the pitch to a 4-1-4-1 playing alongside each other in the attacking creative role, leaving Khedira in the sole pivot role.
Modric seemed to be the man of the match, and stood out for the entirety. The Croatian’s constant winning back of the ball and creative passing decisions were the best he has produced since his move to the Santiago Bernabeu. Khedira went unconvincing, and was replaced by youngster Casemiro, who provided his usual defensive solidity right in front of the back four.
Real’s search for a replacement for an aging and departing Xabi Alonso could be solved with their second attempt, Modric (their initial attempt was Nuri Sahin). The former Tottenham Hotspur man formed a formidable parternship with Isco during the match, and brings a lot of interest for the next few matches.
This game also saw Cristiano’s first goal of the season as he embarks on another voyage for the Pichichi trophy, given to the top-scorer in La Liga, against Lionel Messi. A beauty that can be seen here.
A disappointment for the match was the absence of Ozil, who has been unsatisfied with his lack of opportunities and is linked with move to the Premier League. What could this mean? The public might find out within a few days. Another transfer target for Premier League clubs is Angel Di Maria, who started and performed well.
Alejandro de Jesus is a contributing Soccer writer for RantSports.com. You can follow Alejandro on Twitter right here @GeograFOOT