Real Madrid: 5 burning questions after an important win vs. Alaves

Real Madrid, Marco Asensio (Photo by Silvestre Szpylma/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Marco Asensio (Photo by Silvestre Szpylma/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Karim Benzema
Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid came into this weekend’s match against Alaves knowing that they needed to win – and win convincingly. And so it concerned fans greatly when Los Blancos started this match against a side battling relegation with the same problems that have hindered them to start 2022.

Los Blancos were flat, slow, and generally lacking in threat. They did not score a goal in the first half and barely threatened, with even star man Vinicius Jr. looking leggy.

However, everything changed in the second half. Marco Asensio’s banger of a goal from outside the box seemed to ignite Madrid, as the right winger’s goal came after he nearly gifted Pere Pons a goal at the other end. Thereafter, Real were in much greater command, making their possession count. Their second goal was textbook Madrid and the kind of team goal Madridistas have been craving. As if two goals in the second half weren’t enough, Rodrygo Goes drew the foul and Karim Benzema dispatched a penalty to make it 3-0.

The scoreline looks great from Madrid’s perspective, but fans of the club know that there is more work to be done. Here are five burning questions following this victory vs. Alaves at the Santiago Bernabeu in LaLiga.

Should Real Madrid really risk Karim Benzema and Ferland Mendy’s health?

For much of the match, my answer to this question was a resounding “no”. Karim Benzema looked like a shell of himself and was clearly not 100 percent in the first half, which was the case during the week in the loss to PSG.

But Benzema was decisive in the second half. Not only did he score from the spot, but he had two assists, with his passing in the build-up to the second goal being particularly impressive. Those flicks were delicious.

Meanwhile, Ferland Mendy had no such redeeming rebound in the second half. Mendy was clumsy in the attack, providing crosses that made Lucas Vazquez’s disasterclass against Athletic Bilbao in December look passable.

Mendy won’t play against PSG, and it’s not as if Real have a lot of options at left back, given Carlo Ancelotti is not playing Miguel Gutierrez and does not want David Alaba away from the center of defense. Benzema will be decisive in the Champions League, but he is so important that we know he will play as long as he is not severely injured.

Real are taking risks here, though, and these are the kinds of risks with fitness that Madridistas fear most with Ancelotti at the helm. Most fans would rather play things safe than sorry, despite how vital these two starters are.