Real Madrid got away with one on Wednesday evening as they edged past Athletic Club at home.
it wound up being a positive evening for Los Blancos as they made it seven wins from as many games in all competitions and moved seven points clear at the top of La Liga.
Karim Benzema’s 12th goal of the La Liga season was enough to see Los Blancos through, but they dodged a number of bullets along their way.
Some committed defending, and indeed very good goalkeeping from Thibaut Courtois helped.
But it wasn’t a win that can be put solely down to good defending.
Inaki Williams should have scored early on when he found himself one-on-one with Courtois only to take a heavy touch away from goal.
Unai Nunez certainly should have scored late in the second half when he headed wide from close range.
And although it is always uncomfortable to say, Oihan Sancet would almost certainly have had a penalty had he gone down when David Alaba stuck a foot out in the box. Instead, he was forced to take the long way around to the ball before being met by the almost unbeatable Courtois.
Athletic Club did more than enough and created more than enough clear-cut opportunities to not only draw this game, but to win it.
That should set the alarm bells ringing for Carlo Ancelotti, despite the win.
Questions have already been asked of the Italian over resting key players amid heavy reliance on the midfield and forward players, in particular.
The tiredness is starting to show, and Courtois himself admitted as much after the game.
It seems as though Ancelotti is hoping to get to the winter break without resting many of his key players, but Real Madrid are not going to get away with performances like this in the long-term.
They were outworked by Athletic Club in many phases of play, and we might just see a scenario where Ancelotti is forced to rest players earlier than he intended to.
Although, it is going to be difficult to do that this weekend with another tough clash coming up, away to Real Sociedad.
Of course, the bottom line is that Real Madrid got three points against Athletic Club, and it is indeed a positive sign when you are picking up wins without playing particularly well.
But the signs are there for Ancelotti, and he might just have to take notice to keep, not only this winning run, but this La Liga dominance going in the long run, with plenty of the season still to play.