Real Madrid 4-0 Real Valladolid: 6 Things We Learned
Gareth Bale stood out above everyone else and showed just how dangerous he can be, while the Madrid defense played arguably its best match of the season.
Real Valladolid was without several key players, and it showed. The club that is fighting relegation really needed a positive result on Saturday, but that would not be the case.
In this article, we will take a look at six things we learned from the match and what they mean for both clubs.
*All statistics are courtesy of WhoScored.com.
Angel di Maria Is Not the Same Player on the Left Wing
Angel di Maria is clearly fighting for his place at Real Madrid, as he currently sits behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in the pecking order.
In the last few games, he has featured on the left side of the attack in place of Ronaldo with Bale having secured the role of right-winger. It has become clear that di Maria is not the same player on the other side of the pitch.
The Argentine did not play a bad match by any means. He completed 88 percent of his passes and even got off five shots on goal. He was quite good on Saturday.
However, he was not the same explosive and dynamic player whom we have seen when on the right side of the attack.
The 25-year-old may have to get used to playing all over the front line if he is going to get a regular spot in the lineup, but it is clear that he isn’t as comfortable on the left wing.
This doesn’t mean that he won’t perform on the left side, it simply means he won’t be playing as good as he can when on the right.
Alonso and Modric Form the Best Double Pivot for Real Madrid
Carlo Ancelotti has used a plethora of different pairings for Real Madrid’s double pivot this year. With many different results, it seems we finally got to see the best possible pairing there is in Xabi Alonso and Luka Modric.
The duo performed beautifully and provided the defense with the cover it has been sorely missing this season. Both midfielders completed roughly 90 percent of their passes and were the the link between the attack and back line.
Simply put, this was the best performance by the Real Madrid midfield all year, and these two stars had a lot to do with that.
Their ability to keep possession and dictate play made things very difficult for Real Valladolid and showed just how strong Real Madrid can perform.
Carlo Ancelotti would be wise to continue using Alonso and Modric together in the double pivot in the biggest games of the season. It is clear that Real Madrid performs the best with them in the lineup, and that has to make the manager’s job much easier.
Real Valladolid Needed Patrick Ebert More Than Ever
Patrick Ebert was unavailable for this match after picking up five yellow cards. His absence arguably had the match decided before it even started, and it’s easy to see why.
Ebert is as important to Real Valladolid as any player is to a club. He is the leader and standout player, and without him, this is a vastly weaker team.
The 26-year-old may not have been able to change the outcome against Real Madrid, but he sure would have given Los Blancos a much tougher opponent.
With Real Valladolid now deep in a relegation battle, it will need its leader more than ever. This club will not survive relegation unless Ebert can stay on the pitch with things now looking bad for La Pucela.
Gareth Bale Stepped Up in a Big Way
With Cristiano Ronaldo out of the squad for the second match in a row, it was again time for Gareth Bale to step up. I think we can agree that scoring three goals and giving an assist would qualify as stepping up.
The 24-year-old had the best game of his Real Madrid career to date and did so in stylish fashion. He was involved in every goal for Los Blancos and was absolutely everywhere on the pitch.
This is exactly what Real Madrid had in mind when they brought Bale to the Santiago Bernabeu, and it is starting to pay off.
Bale is scoring goals, giving assists and making matches a nightmare for defenders. If he continues to improve, the sky really is the limit for him and Real Madrid in the coming years.
There isn’t much more you can say after a performance like this. Gareth Bale was flawlessly stunning.
Juan Ignacio Martinez Made Some Questionable Decisions
You absolutely cannot afford to make mistakes when playing against the likes of Real Madrid. However, Real Valladolid manager Juan Ignacio Martinez seemed to make a mistake before the game even started.
When the starting lineups were first announced, there was a huge name missing for Real Valladolid. The club’s best defender, Antonio Rukavina, was on the bench.
Rukavina was one of the best defenders in La Liga last season but hasn’t been at his best this year. Regardless, he is the club’s most consistent defender and true leader.
Why he was not included in the lineup, we may never know. Oddly enough, the manager never even opted to bring the 29-year-old on at any point in the match.
The second questionable decision came when Martinez waited until there was less than 20 minutes to play before bringing on star forward Manucho.
Manucho has been an absolute star for Real Valladolid lately and seems to always be able to come up with a magical play every game.
If Real Valladolid were truly trying to take on Los Blancos, Manucho should have been on the field. Martinez has a few questions to answer after this one.
Real Madrid Is Becoming Dangerously Unpredictable
Things are starting to come together for Real Madrid. The attack has been outstanding, midfield play is becoming key and the defense is getting organized.
But when it really comes down to it, Real Madrid has become very unpredictable.
There is nothing worse than playing against a team that you have no idea what it is going to do. Ancelotti has taken Madrid from being a very one-dimensional team to having multiple options of how to face an opponent.
This is nothing but a good thing for the Spanish giant and shows that things are changing for the better this season.
Real Madrid will continue to find a new identity under Ancelotti, and fans should be very excited. If there is one thing we learned this Saturday, it is that Real Madrid is as deadly as ever.
What did you learn from Real Madrid's victory? What do you make of Real Valladolid's questionable decisions? Leave your thoughts and comments below!