Casemiro, in the 0-1 action in Valladolid. DPA via Europa Press / Europa Press
Halfway through the second half in Zorrilla, with Courtois as the best white man, Zinedine Zidane decided to cut his losses, strangely in him, and opted for one of those movements that are only executed in times of emergency: he relieved the offensive trio with a stroke (Vinicius, Asensio and Mariano) and gave clues to what little he had on the bench, two homegrown players (Arribas and Hugo Duro) and the last of the front row (Isco). With Benzema’s absence due to injury, the team’s seams were still more noticeable in the rival area.
Real Madrid found no relief in its attackers, neither in those who had started from the beginning nor in those who appeared later. The solution came from one of those wells that are helping him to stand in these times of hardship: the passing game. Kroos crossed and Casemiro, who had already had two clear, finished off Valladolid. Two midfielders back to the aid. The head, again to the rescue. A quarter of his league goals (11 of 42) have come like this.
No team in the championship has scored more goals in this way than the meringues, at a distance from Granada and Sevilla (seven). Atlético has almost half (six) and Barcelona, just four. Casemiro is, together with En-Nesyri, the leader of this statistic in the tournament, and only they separately add the same as the entire Barça team, which accumulates 242 corners, 37 crashes and six months for a single bingo.
Casemiro is, together with En-Nesyri, the leader of the tournament in this facet and only they separately add as many targets (4) as all of Barça
The white data acquires even more relevance because in that list of scorers through the air in the League does not appear his fetish man, Sergio Ramos, who only has one in this luck, in the Champions League against Inter. With some names or others, the head has served the madridistas to re-connect to the league title after feeling almost hopeless a few weeks ago. Now they are three points behind Atlético with one more game and a direct confrontation pending in two weeks at the Wanda. In their last four victories, the aerial goals have been decisive in three of them (Huesca, Getafe and Valladolid) to get closer to the rojiblancos.
A recurring method
The center to the area has been a recurring practice since ZZ occupies the Castellana band. In its first stage, a crocodile nested in the area, Cristiano Ronaldo, and made this route good on such rudimentary occasions. Bale, Benzema and Ramos also contributed to validate the method. This was how Marcelo and Carvajal fattened their assists table from the flanks: up to 13 and 12 total, respectively, in the doublet campaign (2016/17). However, the Portuguese emigrated to Italy, and the Welshman collapsed and exiled to the Premier, the aerial fishing ground continues to feed Real Madrid. Zizou’s boys persist on that route (it was the fifth squad in the League before this day that focused the most, after Eibar, Huesca, Real and Getafe) and with good results. Even without great signs of his captain.
The data acquires more relevance because Ramos has not yet made his debut in the championship
Now it is Casemiro who has taken charge of the task. Actually, of all the tasks, because in these times of medical absences he also plays Ramos in defense. And in the opposite area, in alliance with the kicker Kroos – the “bastard of Toni always puts it with his hand”, complimented him in Zorrilla-, he already has six goals, four of them headed. All definitive in the final result.
That is another hallmark of Madrid’s air leadership. He is the one who puts his head the most and almost always to leave his mark in the games. Except for the one that Benzema nailed to Huesca (the last one from 4-1), all the others have served him to score points. And the same in the other competitions. The Frenchman twice aired Gladbach at home (2-0) in a critical duel whose outcome put the entire club in quarantine for a week. Already in the first leg, in Germany, Casemiro and Ramos picked up two balls from the air in the discount to tie a game that was considered lost. And with Inter in Valdebebas (3-2), the captain extended the distances in his only contribution in this section. Even in its worst night, the elimination of the Copa del Rey in Alcoy, the white team was only able to score against a Segunda B from above. While waiting for Benzema, Madrid has not found a better hammer than the aerial one.