Real Madrid – Levante: Early Red To Militão Sinks Real (1-2)

Levante were not overwhelmingly impressive, despite being up a man for over eighty minutes in the match. Real did an admirable job of containing what is often an effective offense. However, even with some strong defensive performances, Madrid’s already stretched offense was unable to overcome Militão’s sending off in the ninth minute and in the process, gave Atlético Madrid more breathing room.
Tactical analysis and match report by K.T. Stockwell

Seven points and a game back of a surging Atlético Madrid heading into their match against Levante, meant Real Madrid could ill-afford to drop more points. The capital side is also being hunted by an in-form Sevilla and an albeit somewhat wayward Barcelona – making their position near the top of the table far more tenuous than usual.

To make matters worse, the already unpredictable Zinedine Zidane was forced to manage serveral injuries to key players, with all of Sergio Ramos, Frederico Valverde, Lucas Vázquez, Dani Carvajal and Rodrygo Goes unavailable against Levante. This made for a remarkably similar lineup to the one that drove four past Álaves the previous week. In a 4-3-3 formation, Éder Militão slotted in next to Raphaël Varane in central defense, while Álvaro Odriozola got a rare start at fullback. In midfield the veteran triumvirate of Casemiro, Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos was given the nod; backing up a front line of Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio.

Paco López’s Levante have been offense-first since his arrival at the club in 2018. The Valencian side has often shown little interest in defending, instead relying on a plethora of underrated offensive talents over the years. The approach continues to . . .

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