Real Madrid cruised to a comfortable victory over Celta Vigo, 4-1, in LaLiga’s second week of the season and the membership’s first sport since Casemiro departed for Manchester United. Karim Benzema scored first for Madrid and Iago Aspas equalized, however then Madrid turned it on and made it unimaginable for Celta Vigo to claw their means again in.
Luka Modric, Vinicius Junior and Federico Valverde all scored in what could be an emphatic assertion of intent from Actual Madrid to place the remainder of LaLiga on discover. ESPN’s Alex Kirkland has response from Abanca-Balaídos in Spain.
No Casemiro, no drawback
Actual Madrid’s midfield was all the time going to come back underneath scrutiny within the first outing of the post-Casemiro period, after the midfielder’s £70 million move to Manchester United was confirmed a day earlier.
Right here at Balaidos it was Aurelien Tchouameni — recruited at even better expense earlier this summer time — who stepped as much as reassure Madrid followers that there’s life after that legendary midfield trio of Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.
Kroos did not characteristic right here, absent with flu, however Modric — nonetheless someway getting higher aged 36 — was majestic alongside Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga. He put Madrid forward with a trademark curling shot earlier than half-time and later performed a visionary go for Vinicius Junior to make it 3-1 after the break.
There was a lot to love about Tchouameni’s efficiency too. The younger France midfielder appeared to develop in confidence and authority because the match went on.
That third objective started with Tchouameni’s block contained in the Actual Madrid penalty space, earlier than Modric and Vinicius did the remainder — and it was his driving midfield run that made Madrid’s fourth objective, completed off by Fede Valverde.
There are better challenges forward, and like all younger participant, Tchouameni could have good and unhealthy days, however this was a really encouraging begin.
Centre-back dilemma for Ancelotti
Carlo Ancelotti has made it clear that final 12 months’s most well-liked centre-back pair, David Alaba and Eder Militao, begin this season as first selection regardless of the arrival of Antonio Rudiger on a free switch from Chelsea.
Militao made one other high-profile mistake right here although — dealing with the ball for Celta’s first-half penalty equaliser — whereas Rudiger got here off the bench to catch the attention with one other bodily dominant show.
Rudiger’s LaLiga debut at Almeria final weekend was hardly flawless, however you surprise how lengthy Ancelotti can proceed to omit a participant along with his character, expertise and athleticism.
One rampaging run upfield, earlier than exchanging passes with Karim Benzema, led to Madrid being awarded a second penalty of the night time, which was missed by substitute Eden Hazard.
Madrid’s squad this 12 months is full of expertise, and Rudiger has already proven an surprising versatility, filling in in each full-back positions, however he’ll be eager to play extra earlier than too lengthy, with Militao trying almost certainly to drop out.
Aspas the primary man for Celta as soon as once more
If Madrid are liable to an over-reliance on Benzema to attain the objectives they should problem for trophies as soon as once more, Celta’s prospects this season relaxation fully on the shoulders of Iago Aspas.
The 35-year-old native boy and membership legend grabbed 18 league objectives final 12 months — solely Benzema scored extra — and after summer time departures for attack-minded, artistic forwards like Brais Mendez and Nolito, Aspas could have much more accountability for each offering and ending this time.
New signing Goncalo Paciencia did fantastic right here as a goal man, whereas the on-loan Carles Perez obtained a run out off the bench, however once you have a look at the Celta squad it is solely Aspas who seems more likely to get into double figures.
He is nonetheless able to brilliance — one run on the stroke of half-time noticed him skip previous Modric and break forwards earlier than operating out of steam — and Celta have proficient gamers elsewhere on the pitch reminiscent of Javi Galan and Fran Beltran, however they’re additionally uneven and worryingly inconsistent.
Success or failure for Celta this 12 months will come down — because it has for a lot of the final decade — to how far Aspas can take them.
Actual Madrid: Thibaut Courtois, 6. Dani Carvajal, 6. David Alaba, 7. Eder Militao, 5. Ferland Mendy, 6. Aurelien Tchouameni, 8. Eduardo Camavinga, 7. Luka Modric, 8. Fede Valverde, 7. Vinicius Junior, 8. Karim Benzema, 7.
Subs: Antonio Rudiger, 7. Dani Ceballos, 6. Lucas Vazquez, 6. Eden Hazard, 5. Marco Asensio, 6.
Celta Vigo: Agustin Marchesin, 7. Hugo Mallo, 7. Joseph Aidoo, 6. Unai Nunez, 6. Javi Galan, 7. Renato Tapia, 5. Fran Beltran, 7. Oscar Rodriguez, 6. Franco Cervi, 7. Iago Aspas, 7. Goncalo Paciencia, 6.
Subs: Carles Perez, 6. Gabriel Veiga, 6. Luca de la Torre, 6.
Greatest and worst performers
BEST: Luka Modric, Actual Madrid.
Excellent. Helped the youthful midfielders alongside him, scored the objective of the sport, and created the essential third for Vinicius which put Madrid out of sight.
WORST: Eder Militao, Actual Madrid.
His performances — and particularly his focus — want to enhance, or Rudiger will probably be within the group earlier than lengthy.
Highlights and notable moments
Karim Benzema, the perfect participant in LaLiga final season, scored his opening objective of the 2022-23 marketing campaign.
Benzema scores his first LaLiga objective of the season 📈🔥 pic.twitter.com/cxC0XXlfNg
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 20, 2022
Celta Vigo pulled one again by way of an Iago Aspas penalty, however then Luka Modric obtained in on the motion too.
Modric scored considered one of his signature objectives from exterior the field, later incomes applause from the Celta Vigo followers when he was subbed off later within the sport.
Whereas Celta Vigo stored the match feeling shut within the first half and the groups went to the break with Madrid solely main 2-1, the second half was a really totally different story.
When Madrid made it 3-1 on a beautiful Vinicius Junior end, it was just about over.
After the match: What the managers, gamers mentioned
Actual Madrid supervisor Carlo Ancelotti: “We’re completely satisfied. We performed nicely. We had good particular person performances from gamers who have not performed lots, they’re new. Tchouameni performed rather well, and Camavinga. We confirmed lots of power on the pitch and the efficiency was good, we’re assured sooner or later for certain.”
Ancelotti: “We’ve gamers who can play in numerous positions, it helps the group. I believe the squad now we have is a extremely good squad, I’ve no doubts about that.”
Actual Madrid midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni: “In fact now we have to consider a transition… The veterans perceive it very nicely, as a result of the children confirmed final season too that they deserve a spot. So it is necessary to handle the dressing room nicely, the understanding of the veterans and the persistence of the children.”
Tchouameni on Modric: “He is immortal. Luka is all the time prepared, he is all the time ready, he all the time performs nicely. The objective he scored modified the sport. Till the objective the sport was even, aggressive, Celta pressed us nicely, it was laborious for us in possession. Within the second half they dropped their depth, and we performed the ball out nicely from the again and our transitions have been spectacular.”
Key stats (offered by ESPN Stats & Info)
Karin Benzema scored his nineteenth penalty objective in LaLiga. Solely six lively gamers have scored extra penalties than the Frenchman in LaLiga: Raúl García, Negredo, Parejo, Iago Aspas, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Because the begin of final season, no group has taken extra penalty kicks than Actual Madrid (13, tied with Levante) in LaLiga.
Iago Aspas scored his 136th LaLiga objective, the fourth-most amongst lively gamers. He’s additionally now tied for tenth most penalty kicks all-time in LaLiga with 31. Subsequent on the checklist is David Villa with 32.
Luka Modric scored his twelfth profession LaLiga objective from exterior the field. Of Modric’s 23 LaLiga objectives, 12 have been from exterior the field. Since Luka Modric joined Actual Madrid in 2012-13, the one gamers with extra objectives from exterior the field in LaLiga are Lionel Messi (67), Antoine Griezmann (25), Cristiano Ronaldo (24), Dani Parejo (18) and Iago Aspas (16).
Federico Valverde’s scored his first aggressive membership objective since his 98th minute winner towards Barcelona within the SuperCup Semifinals on Jan. 12.
Aurelien Tchouameni had 13 recoveries. Casemiro, who led the group LaLiga in recoveries final season with 230, solely had 1 sport with 13+ recoveries with Actual Madrid in LaLiga final season (14 vs Getafe in January 2022).