Real Madrid’s triumph over Alavés at the Santiago Bernabéu was not just another victory. After a series of worrying results (only one victory in the last five games) and also low offensive production (one goal in the last four games), the white team enjoyed themselves in the second half, after a gray and leaden first, and took three points that yesterday gained special significance after Sevilla’s draw at Espanyol’s, leaving Madrid’s lead at six points. Madrid also resolved their doubts in attack, with three goals, nine shots on goal and another 12 off the postyes And by the way Ancelotti can consider having found his starting attacking trident, the type offense for the all-or-nothing days: Asensio, Benzema and Vinicius.
The three of them were the authors of the three goals for Madrid on Saturday; It hadn’t happened before since they shared a locker room. In the first, Asensio showed off his best virtue, that shoe with his left foot that combines placement and power; the second was a choral work, started by Valverde and then drawn between the three, with a heel strike from the Balearic Islands, an assist from the Frenchman and a final shot from Vinicius; and the third, from eleven meters to nine, after causing Rodrygo the maximum penalty in extension.
If the three of them constitute Madrid’s typical attack, it is not only because of the special mixture of styles that they form: Asensio provides continuity in the game and danger from medium and long distance; Vinicius, dribbling and speed on the counter; and Benzema, a bit of all that, an inside game from the back and from the front and goalscoring voracity. It is that they are also the best statistical guarantee to score goals: they have 50 between the three of them.
And that the idea of the starting trident that Ancelotti had at the beginning of the course has little to do with this: he started the season with Benzema accompanied by Hazard and Bale. Injuries and lack of performance ended up flipping this plan. In the case of Vinicius, only the first two days of the League were needed, in which the Brazilian came off the bench and scored three goals (one against Alavés, two at Levante). He already has 16, only surpassed by Benzema (25).
The Asensio thing needed more time, but after intense competition with Rodrygo, he prevailed thanks to his nine goals, seven more than the Brazilian in almost as many minutes (Asensio only played 79 minutes more). The right flank of the attack, in any case, is the one that admits even more discussion (there they oppose Bale, Hazard, Rodrygo, Vinicius and even Isco and Valverde), but Ancelotti has been demonstrating that Asensio is his man in the big finals: he started against Atleti at the Bernabéu, in the Super Cup Classic, in Bilbao against Athletic in the Cup, in Paris against PSG…
Benzema, Asensio, Vinicius and the 4-3-3
What Carletto is clear about is that he is not going to move from the 4-3-3, a system that fills the rival field with players in attack, but who is also weak in defense, especially with a midfield that is 97 years old (Modric is 36, Kroos 32 and Casemiro 29). “In some moments I have tried to defend with a 4-4-2, like against Espanyol, and it hasn’t worked out. The idea I have now is very clear: this team has to play with a 4-3-3, there is no other way. For this template is the best system”, explained the technician in mid-October.
In Paris, before the duel against PSG, it opened to admit a fourth half (Valverde, for his deployment and speed), but as one more attacker, without changing the drawing. That rigidity of the Italian favors the trident scorer against Alavés, who thus already knows that, if he is healthy, he will have the opportunity of him on the big days.
The elimination of Real Madrid in the Cup has largely freed up Real Madrid’s calendar, whose mission now is to rescue the knockout round of the Champions League. After 1-0 in the first leg in Paris, Ancelotti already knows that at the Bernabéu, on March 9, he will need several goals to go through to the quarterfinals (above all, because without Mendy or Casemiro, sanctioned, leaving PSG to zero sounds like utopia). Carletto will surrender to the trident of 50 goals to continue dreaming of the 14th.
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A trident to dream