La Liga

5 Talking Points from Real Madrid's Late Win Against Levante

Samuel MarsdenFeatured ColumnistOctober 5, 2013

5 Talking Points from Real Madrid's Late Win Against Levante

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    Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

    Real Madrid and late drama are becoming pretty good friends this season after Saturday night's 3-2 win over Levante.

    Following goals from Baba Diawara and Sergio Ramos, the home side looked on course for all three points when Nabil El-Zhar put them ahead with 85 minutes on the clock.

    But while Madrid aren't looking particularly cohesive, you can't argue with their fight.

    First of all, Alvaro Morata equalised in the 90th minute, and then Cristiano Ronaldo sealed the victory in the fourth minute of added time.

    Minus a dodgy penalty appeal, the parallels with the Elche game were startling.

    Here are five talking points to emerge from the game—cut down from 50.

Madrid Still Not Convincing

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    Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

    The win at Elche was controversial and the derby to defeat Atletico Madrid was deserved; now Real Madrid have only just stuttered over the line against Levante.

    It's a fair point that Carlo Ancelotti is not only trying to work in several new players, he is also tweaking the style.

    But when should we expect to see results?

    As Barcelona and Atleti continue to wrap up wins at a canter, can Los Blancos continue to be so unconvincing without falling drastically behind in the title race?

    On Saturday night, like against Elche, they struck it lucky again in a match filled with late drama.

    Hiccups in the bigger games may be expected, but wins against La Liga's lesser sides need to become more comprehensive.

Levante's Barca Defeat a One off

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    The task facing Joaquin Caparros at Levante after replacing Juan Ignacio Martinez in the summer looked mountainous after they lost 7-0 at Camp Nou to Barcelona in Week 1.

    What followed that defeat was a six match run—two wins and four draws—as they re-established themselves as the upper mid-table side they've become known as over the past few seasons.

    And against Real Madrid on Saturday evening they looked like a completely different side from the wounded puppies who surrendered so limply against Barca.

    Caparros, despite the occasional low, has very good pedigree in La Liga, and his Levante side have steadied the ship well in the past few weeks.

    The late loss to Madrid hopefully won't effect them too badly.

    They've always been solid and hard to break down, and in players like Baba Diawara, who scored their goal and was a threat all night, Jordi Xumetra and Ruben Garcia they appear to carry an attacking threat, too.

     

Benzema Drought Rolls on

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    A goal in each of the first two league games represented a good start to life for Karim Benzema sans the competition of Gonzalo Higuain.

    Saturday night's win over Levante continued a much different story though.

    Since his winner at Granada in Week 2, the French forward has failed to score in Real Madrid's last six La Liga matches.

    Throw in the blank he fired midweek against FC Copenhagen in the Champions League—although he did score twice against Galatasaray—and you have a striker who is not doing his job in the simplest of terms.

    How long can Carlo Ancelotti persist with him, regardless of his all-round play, if he can't find the net?

    Alvaro Morata emerged from the bench to score Madrid's equaliser—he may find himself in from the start after the international break.

Varane and Ramos First Choice?

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Following Raphael Varane's return to first team action in the Champions League win over FC Copenhagen, he found himself starting his second game in a week when Carlo Ancelotti's team sheet was revealed for Real Madrid's trip to Levante.

    With the Frenchman missing the beginning of the season injured, Pepe had been a regular alongside Sergio Ramos at the heart of Los Blancos' defence.

    However, the Portuguese international watched from the bench as Varane and Ramos picked up their partnership where it was cut short last season.

    Long term, there's no doubt that these two are Ancelotti's men, but following a decent start to the season, Pepe may have felt like he played himself into the Italian's thoughts.

    It's not often managers regularly rotate central defenders, so it was an early suggestion that Ancelotti prefers Varane over Pepe.

Isco Was Onside

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Karim Benzema threaded a clever pass through and Isco was in, all set to roll the simplest of balls across the box for Luka Modric to open the scoring in the 40th minute.

    The linesman's flag and the referee's whistle prevented that from happening though.

    Replays revealed that Isco was a good distance onside.

    Admittedly, they also showed that Cristiano Ronaldo was offside, but the officials should have reacted to the fact the Madrid's No. 7 was not interfering with play.

    It would probably have changed the whole course of the game.

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