Real Madrid vs. Athletic Club: 3 takeaways from a 3-1 win

Real Madrid (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid
Real Madrid (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid’s midfield depth is a cause for concern

Los Blancos have five of the best midfielders in Europe in Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Fede Valverde, and Martin Odegaard. When he is at his best, Isco can be in that category, too, but the 2020-2021 season has not treated him kindly. And he missed a clear chance to convert Rodrygo Goes’ pass to him at the heart of the penalty box.

Real Madrid have a handful of high-quality midfielders, but they have little depth beyond them. In this game, they only had three options to start, which meant Modric had to play yet another game consecutively. He can do this, but it is asking a lot from him. Isco could have started, but it honestly would not have been wise to play him over Modric, given the structure of Athletic Club’s defense and midfield.

In the end, Real Madrid won 3-1 and received above-average performances from their midfielders, but this match with Casemiro’s suspension and Odegaard’s injury are a reminder that Real’s midfield depth is not where it needs to be. Fans wanted the club to sign a cheaper midfielder this summer, such as Marc Roca, but the club stayed firm on making no signings.

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That is a financially-sound practice, but Madridistas can only hope it does not prove to be costly in the “win” column this season. The lack of midfield depth is indeed something fans will keep a watchful eye on for the remainder of 2020-2021.