Villarreal 1-1 Real Madrid Forward scored on first start of season
Real Madrid came away from the Estadio de la Ceramica with a point on Saturday in what could turn out to be a good result come the end of the season.
However, the problem for Los Blancos, no matter how many injuries they do or don’t have, is that their playing style isn’t the most attractive. Did they play badly against Villarreal? No, but they didn’t play well either.
Mariano Diaz showed that he deserves a lot more game time than he’s getting under Zinedine Zidane. He may not be the most technically gifted player to watch, but his goalscoring records speaks for himself.
On his previous start for Real Madrid, at the end of the 2018/19 season, he scored two goals. On his first appearance of last season, he scored in the Clasico. On Saturday, Mariano netted again.
How important is Dani Carvajal to Real Madrid? His return from injury was timely, as Zidane was forced to use his right-back deputies elsewhere in the team. The defender set up Mariano to score in the first half and, in general, didn’t look like he’d been out of action for a month and a half.
With Casemiro and Fede Valverde both unavailable, Martin Odegaard was brought back into the midfield fold by Zidane. Alongside Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, the Norwegian controlled the tempo of the game in the first half. Once Odegaard had gone off, you could sense Los Blancos lose their grip on proceedings.
Real Madrid used their third kit of the season against Villarreal. In a throwback to the 2014/15 season, Los Blancos wore their classic black strip with a dragon on it.
Villarreal earned a point from the game with a strong second half performance, but it could’ve been more. Dani Parejo ran onto Pervis Estupinan’s low cross but couldn’t guide his shot on target.
After saving his team so many times in recent months, Thibaut Courtois made the crucial mistake that allowed Villarreal back into the game. He brought down Samu Chukwueze for a penalty before being fingertips away from saving Gerard Moreno’s attempt.