With the first international break of the 22/23 season now upon us, it is fair to say that thus far, the job has been well done for Carlo Ancelotti and his staff at Real Madrid.
Los Blancos sit atop the league table, a perfect six wins from six games – perhaps even more impressively, they have done so with talisman Karim Benzema missing for the last three matches.
This time last year, the idea of Real Madrid being without the Frenchman would have sent Madridistas into a bout of cold sweats, however, in his absence, they have coped. Vinicius Junior has continued his fine form scoring and assisting in both La Liga games since. Federico Valverde has also chipped in, whilst Rodrygo Goes has emerged as a capable contributor too – in fact, five goal contributions in his 4 La Liga outings.
Outside of the success in attack, Los Blancos have largely had a very successful opening portion of the season; they have found a rhythm, with new signings Antonio Rudiger and Aurelien Tchouameni both seamlessly slotting into the squad of the reigning champions.
The latter in particular has drawn plenty of plaudits since his arrival, replacing the outgoing Casemiro. The young Frenchman has not only filled the gap but shown an entirely different dynamic to that of the legendary Brazilian.
Tchouameni’s defensive abilities were always known, he has ranked statistically amongst the best midfielders in Europe since his breakout campaign. What has seemingly taken many by surprise, is his ability on the ball.
The former Monaco man has picked up two assists so far, with the latest one against Atletico Madrid attracting the eyes of the world – a sumptuous lofted ball, which fell perfectly to Rodrygo to score the opener.
Tchouameni’s ability on the ball has allowed for Real Madrid to be more incisive on the counter than ever before, with no team in Europe creating more chances from direct attacks (24 at the time of writing).
It appears that for Carlo Ancelotti, the growing trend of this season has been unlocking new avenues to make an already world class side even more dangerous. The sustained quality of the likes of Vini Jr and the established old guard was already known coming into this campaign, now that has been bolstered by a whole host of new factors.
The addition of Antonio Rudiger has allowed Real to now rotate Mendy and Alaba at left-back, with the Austrian bringing a more direct influence than that of his French counterpart.
Valverde has also continued to develop as an option on the right flank, becoming more comfortable in the role and having also added goals to his locker in recent weeks, contributing a goal or assist in three straight LaLiga games, as well as in both UCL games so far.
This is before discussing the continued brilliance from the likes of Toni Kroos and Luka Modric and the return to consistent fitness for Dani Carvajal, with the Spanish full-back showing his best form once again, which has been vital for Real.
Whilst it is still very much early doors for Los Blancos on their road to title retention, it is hard for Madrid fans not to be excited by the prospects of this season. After a rather uneventful summer, few would have expected the squad to have performed as solidly as it has, especially after many disgruntled fans showcased their concern at the lack of another attacking signing.
They may be yet to face any real tests as a team, but should performances continue and stars like Tchouameni, Vinicius, Rodrygo, Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga continue to develop as brightly as they have, this could be a very productive season for Real Madrid.