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Lopetegui era off to a flying start in LaLiga

bale and benzema

Three wins in the opening three games of La Liga was just the tonic Julen Lopetegui and Real Madrid needed, after the disappointment of losing the European Super Cup encounter against Atletico Madrid.

The opening victory against neighbouring Getafe to start the 2018-19 LaLiga campaign was, admittedly, a bit of a grind, but the dominance Real Madrid showed was never in doubt, with Los Blancos dominating 77.9% of possession. The 2-0 winning score could and perhaps should have been much greater, were it not for the woodwork coming to the rescue for the visiting side.

Despite an early goal by Borja Garcia giving Girona a surprise lead in the first away match of the season, Real Madrid managed to turn the game around and produce a comfortable enough 1-4 victory at the Montilivi stadium. Gareth Bale was inspirational for his part, producing a man of the match performance, contributing his second goal in as many games and an assist.

Last weekend another local derby beckoned for Lopetegui’s men, hosting Leganés at the Santiago Bernabéu. From start to finish, the result never really looked in doubt, even though fans of Los Pepineros were briefly buoyed by an equalising goal in the first half, after Bale had struck his third goal in three games to open the game. In the end, the 4-1 winning margin was testament to just how much Real Madrid had dominated the game.

Next up for Real Madrid is a trip to Bilbao and San Mamés, for an encounter with Athletic Club which is never a straightforward affair. Although a result there is by no means guaranteed, La Liga betting odds at 11/20 favour Los Blancos to comfortably secure a fourth consecutive win. These odds are undoubtedly influenced by a shaky start to the 2018-19 season for Los Leones, including a draw at home against newly promoted SD Huesca.

The one slight advantage that Athletic Club may have in the upcoming match against Real Madrid, is a little extra time to prepare. Scheduled to play away at Rayo Vallecano last weekend, the match was postponed due to safety concerns at the ageing Vallecas stadium. The local government in Madrid, who maintain the venue, decided that no matches can be held there until October, with urgent improvements needed at the dilapidated football ground.

Nevertheless, Real Madrid will head to San Mamés next weekend for match-day four with plenty of confidence, ahead of their duel with Athletic Club. Not has the Lopetegui era in LaLiga commenced with positive performances collectively as a team, the individual form of key players seems to indicate clearly that, so far, Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t being missed after his summer departure to Juventus.

Thanks to having scored four goals in his first three games of the season, coming from a brace of goals in each of the last two matches, Karim Benzema has made his best ever start to a campaign at Real Madrid, in what is now the Frenchman’s tenth season at the club. Meanwhile, Bale has also been demonstrating plenty of Welsh wizardry, in what is being touted as potentially his most important season for Los Blancos, following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus in the summer.

Marco Asensio has also rated very highly in the first three games of the season and all that’s lacking perhaps is for the 22-year-old to find the back of the net with more regularity, although there are hopes that he could hit double figures this season, given that he’ll get plenty more opportunities to start games. All across the park, the players are responding well to the instructions of Lopetegui, indicating that the process of adaption to the new Real Madrid manager is going exceptionally well.