It was expected to be tough for Real Madrid to earn a sixth win in a row. Above all, because Granada are a very serious team and they know exactly how to play their game. They’re well-organised and efficient under Diego Martinez, the kind of team that give Los Blancos the most difficulty. Without Eden Hazard and his ability to win one-on-one matchups, Real Madrid needed Karim Benzema to find solutions. They’ve also been relying on Vinicius, which is not to be sniffed at, but it’s clear that they struggle to find holes in the opposition defence.
It was also complicated because Real Madrid didn’t have Luka Modric and he is able to move the team forward. It was going to be a night of suffering and that was made clear in the first 30 seconds thanks to Raphael Varane and his latest giveaway. Granada made this happen by keeping Sergio Ramos from bringing the ball out and ensuring it was the Frenchman who had to do so.
Granada’s tactics and ability to irritate Real Madrid worked until the 55th minute, when Marco Asensio reminded us all of what a great footballer he can become again, doing so in the space of two minutes. It’s said that players either do or don’t recover from an injury as serious as the knee injury he suffered, but any recovery comes from hard work, time and patience. Real Madrid and the player have bought into this and, given the superb flick off the post that he produced, this seems the right approach. With that attempt and the passes for a Fede Valverde shot and the Casemiro goal, Real Madrid overcame a Granada side that were locking them out. This is what talent brings about, at the moment when it seemed Granada’s organisation couldn’t be overcome.