On the face of it, it’s been the perfect start to life at Real Madrid for Carlo Ancelotti. His side have won three from three. You cannot do much better than win. In fact, it’s the best start to a season for Los Blancos since Manuel Pellegrini was at the helm four years ago. Yet, on closer inspection, Ancelotti’s team have not been at their best, nor have some of the players.
There has been a distinct lack of cohesion about Madrid’s performances to date. There have been too many stray passes and the players do not seem clear on what each other’s roles are exactly. Sunday’s match against Athletic Bilbao was no different, though it was a vast improvement. No-one is worrying just yet either. It is early days in the Ancelotti era so much of this can be put down to the fact that the players are still getting accustomed to new Coach’s system and methods.
While many of Real Madrid’s biggest stars have been slow getting into gear, Isco has wasted no time becoming an instant success at the Santiago Bernabeu.
On the opening match day, Isco did his best to immediately endear himself to the Madrid faithful with his splendid headed winner late on against Real Betis. On Sunday, he came to the fore once more as he popped up with two goals to help his new side to another three points.
Isco now has three goals in three games, only Lionel Messi has scored more. He has also chipped in with an assist, which means of Madrid’s six goals, he has been responsible for four of them. It’s not been a bad start to life in the capital at all for the young playmaker who, incidentally, became the first Spanish player to score a brace for Los Blancos since Raul in 2009.
It may only be three games into the season, but, the young Spaniard has certainly hit the ground running this season – and the same could be said of Luka Modric who has also been brilliant. On Sunday he was chosen ahead of Mezut Ozil, who sat the entire game on the bench. There are even reports that the club is willing to offload the German, which is a huge endorsement for the still only 21-year-old boy from Benalmadena.
Back at Isco’s former home ground, Mestalla, Valencia and Barcelona put on an exhibition of sorts. Messi claimed his first hat-trick for the season within the first 41 minutes of play. He now has 250 goals for the Blaugrana, 100 in 125 away appearances and 25 in 17 matches this year. Four minutes later Helder Postiga scored what will be one of the goals of the season before popping up moments after that to make the score line 2-3 at the break. Valencia had chances in the second half to draw level as they made the Catalans suffer, but both goalkeepers proved decisive and 2-3 it stayed.
It was not so surprising to see Atletico Madrid, along with Madrid and Barca, maintain their perfect start to the season with a win away to Real Sociedad. But, it is surprising to see Villarreal do the same. The newly-promoted outfit have won three out of three opening games for the first time in their history. The Yellow Submarine are back.