The possibilities of defending the La Liga title might still have a chance or have diminished, but it was very important for the Los Blancos to win matches consistently because it was a state of emergency and for the sake of lifting the spirits, there are no option other winning matches as much as possible in this tough season, where injuries have dictated the proceedings.
Despite having been hit by injuries in 2021, Real Madrid have managed to win each of their last three La Liga games and keep themselves in the title race.
With more than a third of the squad sidelined, Los Blancos have registered three straight wins for the first time this calendar year.
After Dani Carvajal’s setback against Valencia, as many as eight Real Madrid players, out of the first squad’s 22, are ruled out due to injuries. Incredibly, that’s 36.33 percent of their players who are currently sidelined.
Zinedine Zidane was back with a four-man defence for this game. Dani Carvajal returned to the starting lineup from injury, while Toni Kroos also returned from his one-game suspension.
The Royal Whites started the game on the front foot and went ahead in the 12th minute. Karim Benzema picked up a pass by Kroos before curling a shot into the bottom-left corner to put Real Madrid in the lead.
However, Zidane was forced into the first change of the game when Dani Carvajal limped off the field in the 28th minute and was replaced by Lucas Vazquez.
Nevertheless, Real Madrid doubled their lead three minutes before half-time. A well-worked team move saw Vasquez find Toni Kroos in acres of space in the box, and the Germany international made no mistake from 14 yards.
The tempo was sluggish after the break, but Valencia offered nothing in terms of attacking threat. The home side thought they had tripled their lead when Ferland Mendy placed a right-footed finish past Jaume Domenech.
Replays, however, showed that Vinicius Junior was slightly offside in the buildup to the goal.
Real Madrid, however, got the job done against Valencia to ensure they reclaimed the second spot in the league table. Despite the victory, Real Madrid are five points off leaders Atletico Madrid, who have two games in hand.
Toni Kroos was the best player on the pitch without a doubt.
His vision was on full display when he picked out Benzema for the opener, while his shooting precision came to the fore in Real Madrid’s second goal. In addition to his goal and assist, the former Bayern Munich man also made four key passes and had a passing accuracy of 94.4%.
Then there was Karim Benzema, who proved his importance to the side yet again and scoring goals has become a habit for the striker – it was precision and movement which troubled the visitors.
Last but not least, Los Blancos have seen their midfield trident of Toni Kroos, Casemiro, and Luka Modric producing solid performances again and dictating the tempo in the middle third.
The last time the two sides met, Valencia put out a comprehensive performance to thrash the defending champions 4-1. They had also picked up a point at the Camp Nou a month later.
Valencia came into this game, knowing that a win could steer them clear of the relegation zone. However, that was not to be, as they failed to trouble Madrid.