Real Madrid earned the three points against Eibar in the return of La Liga after the last three months of quarantine due to the Coronavirus pandemic. There are still 10 games left for Los Blancos to overcome Barcelona’s current two-point lead in the table. Here are three takeaways from Sunday’s 3-1 win.
- Almost every Real Madrid player looked rusty and we might not see exciting football in La Liga during these 10 games remaining. If it wasn’t clear enough, the players don’t come back from a three-month quarantine at their best form, even if they spent the last month on a mini training camp. Every single Madrid player will need some time to regain their confidence and touch even if their physical condition is ideal, so now it’s the time to pay attention to small details and win as many points as you can. It’s not going to be easy to dominate the opposition and play exciting football.
- Fede Valverde will be needed in this context. I suspect that coach Zidane will manage Luka Modric’s minutes very carefully during this busy month ahead. The Croatian midfielder was fresh and ready to play and Zidane probably wanted to take advantage of that fact against Eibar. However, from now on it will be the time to play Fede Valverde because his physical presence and work-rate will be absolutely crucial now that Los Blancos might not have an easy time controlling the ball and the tempo of the game. Not only he was a key contributor for Real Madrid before the quarantine, he should also be an undisputed starter in these 10 games.
- It will take a while for Asensio to contribute. While I never expected Asensio to start in his first game after 10 months of inactivity, I felt his chances of playing some minutes off the bench so that he could regain some confidence on his knee were high. Still, Zidane decided to play both Gareth Bale and Vinicius ahead of him and Lucas Vazquez will also be ahead once he recovers from his muscle strain. Asensio has the quality to become a key player for Real Madrid on that right win even if it’s only for the last four or five games of the season. He will need to be given quality and relevant minutes before that, though. The last 20 minutes against Eibar were perfect for him and Zidane still chose other players, so we will have to wait and see if Asensio can make an impact this season or not.