Real Madrid took care of business against Espanyol in the Santiago Bernabéu on a beautiful Saturday afternoon with manager Zinedine Zidane rotating several players. Here are three takeaways from Los Blancos’ 10th win of the league campaign.
There was an energy on the field that was noticeable from the opening whistle. Real Madrid managed to keep the momentum up en route to yet another clean sheet victory for goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois while Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior, and Fede Valverde had the Madridistas on their feet at the final whistle.
While the 2-0 win was clinical in nearly every respect, Ferland Mendy’s two yellow cards will affect Real moving forward.
Here are the three takeaways.
Vinicius rises to the occasion
In his ninth La Liga appearance of the season, Vinicius Junior was slotted on the left wing with Rodrygo Goes on the right. While Rodrygo was rather quiet throughout the contest – he had just one shot in 90 minutes – Vini was a whirling dervish all match long.
His speed and confidence when pushing forward caused all kinds of problems for Pablo Machín’s men and despite not getting his name on the scoresheet, his four shots, five dribbles, and 46 touches were hugely important in creating chances for his team.
With Eden Hazard on the mend, Vinicius is making a strong case to be his replacement for the foreseeable future on that left hand side. His confidence has been called into questions by many fans early in this season, but the 19-year-old looked very comfortable today.
Zidane has relied heavily on Rodrygo down the right wing and it could be time for him to reliable on Vinicius like we saw Santiago Solari do nearly a year ago. With more playing time comes more confidence and with some big matches coming up against Valencia and Barcelona, Vinicius could be thrust into the spotlight. He is ready to handle that duty.