Real Madrid went back top of the LaLiga table by defeating Barcelona 2-0 at home on Sunday night. It’s a massive result for the title race and it’s one that throws up many questions
1. Mariano or Jović?
There were already murmurs when Mariano was included in the squad to be the backup striker ahead of Luka Jović. Then, in the final moments of the game when Real Madrid were winding down the clock, Zidane sent on Mariano. And the forward scored! Mariano now has 95 minutes per goal during his Real Madrid career, while the Serbian is on 385. This is going to become a talking point.
The next time Zidane replaces Benzema, due to rest or suspension or whatever, people will be asking questions if the man coming in isn’t Mariano.
2. Is Vinícius now a finisher?
Vinícius was the hero, the match winner. This moment was exactly what he deserved as he has been in great form and putting in a really positive work ethic for the past few weeks. So, does this goal mean he is now a top-class finisher? Well, no, Firstly, his goal went in via a big deflection off Gerard Piqué.
Just like his goal against Melilla which went in with a big ricochet off the goalkeeper, or the Al Ain or Real Valladolid shots that went in but that went down as own goals. Officially, Vinícius now has seven Real Madrid goals. But let’s not pretend like he’s suddenly a clutch finisher because he hit a shot that bounced off Piqué’s shin and in.
3. Can Real Madrid turn this into a league title?
The last time Real Madrid defeated Barcelona in a league match was back in 2015/16. Not even when they won the league in 2016/17 did they actually go on to claim the league title. So, can Real Madrid make these three points really count by now going on to win the league title?
That’s a question that will take months to answer, but they’ll need to make sure they don’t become complacent after this big win. It’s Real Betis away next weekend and that will be a tough one despite the Andalusian side’s recent poor form.