“We’re getting better every day,” was Zinedine Zidane’s assessment of his Real Madrid side as they came from a goal down to secure a 3-1 victory over Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabéu on Saturday night.
An assessment that’s pretty much spot-on given Los Blancos’ hard-working display against a side that has impressed so far this season. It was a display that showed Madrid’s credentials for winning LaLiga this season.
There were no stand-out performances, there were errors and there were whistles for Gareth Bale – lots of whistles – but the performance as a whole showed continued signs of progress and showed, at times, quality, experience, know-how and fight.
While leaders Barcelona limped to an uninspiring 1-2 win at lowly Leganés, Madrid were relatively superior – to that Barça performance and to a La Real side who will cause the biggest clubs plenty of problems this season.
The Basques did just that in the early stages of the first half, capitalising on a poor Sergio Ramos back pass to take the lead through Willian José. That goal gave the visitors more confidence and they were the superior side for the first part of the opening 45 minutes, until Madrid found their way back into the content and finished the half the stronger after Karim Benzema levelled things up.
A bright start to the second half saw Fede Valverde’s deflected shot give Los Blancos the lead before Luka Modric made it three to seal the three points. La Real wilted after the break and Madrid were much stronger, resulting in a deserved three points.
Madrid now have a striker who is scoring goals for fun in Benzema and a summer signing in Eden Hazard that continues to show signs of improvement. The goals and the assists will come for the Belgian if he continues in the same forward direction.
At the back Thibaut Courtois is showing the kind of form that brought him to the Spanish capital in the first place and, the Ramos error aside, Madrid’s defence looks strong. That’s helped by an in-form Casemiro protecting the back four and man-of-the-moment Fede Valverde helping out at both ends of the pitch.
Madrid now look well balanced and, of all of the top three, currently look the most likely to win the title on current form. The whistles for Bale aside, the problems are disappearing at the Bernabéu and continue to flourish for Atletico and Barcelona, who faced each other next weekend at the Wanda.
Tuesday’s Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain may not be the be all and end all as far as qualification to the Champions League knockout stages are concerned, but the clash will show just how far Madrid have come since they fell to a 3-0 defeat in the French capital earlier this season.
Things are looking up.