Real Madrid played out a 3-3 draw against Levante on LaLiga’s Matchday 2, a fixture that didn’t feel like a draw at all. Real Madrid clearly showed that the Carlo Ancelotti factor has kicked in and they can produce chances to score no matter what position they are pressured into. Real have already scored seven goals in two matches, that should answer if they are out of their scoring woes or not.
All Madridistas, me included, took a sigh of relief especially after seeing Isco perform like his vintage best in the first half of the game against Levante. His contribution becomes way more important when we look at the situation of Real’s midfield that has two of its key components missing, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.
I earlier wrote that Martin Odegaard would be Don Carlo’s priority project given he is a player that completely fits in Ancelotti’s preferred style. But, now that the Norwegian has bid the Royal Whites goodbye to join Arsenal, things have got to change. The personnel changes may now be Isco and Asensio in midfield. If Ancelotti does get the very best out of them then Real Madrid can worry a little less about their squad-depth in midfield.
Don Carlo has been completely at it. He has absolutely done what he was hired for. He has had a visible impact on the team’s goal-scoring and the defensive stability too, has taken a hit. Something that was predicted from Ancelotti’s style of play. One key project had always been Vinicius Junior, and there too Ancelotti seems to have been taking the right measures, the Brazilian has after all scored three in the league already.
Isco needs to maintain his form and make up for the absence of the ‘Old Guard’
Coming back to the main man in the discussion. Isco had a brilliant outing in the last matchday. He rightly looked his vintage best. Most impressive to me was to see him playing a Modric-Esque holding role with the last line of defense while playing the ball out from the back. He was sharp with his exchanges and Real, through him could beat the opposition press. He managed to complete 39 out of 41 passes he attempted and that accounts for a 95% accuracy, per SofaScore.
On the other end of the pitch, Isco was talking on defenders and dribbling past them successfully. He completed four dribbles out of five and also had a key pass. He won 10 out of 13 1v1s and was a force to reckon for the Levante defense. They fouled him three times and that shows how crazy he must have driven them with his movement. On the defensive end of things again, Isco was very lively. He had three tackles and an interception and many more ball retrievals off the duels that he won.
It still may be too soon to announce that the Isco-renaissance is ON. But, something that can be assured is his game-time in the coming matches. Modric will return only after the International break and the Toni Kroos situation is blurry. As such, Isco would be the first option on Ancelotti’s head. If not earlier, certainly now after his master-class against Levante.
To expect that Isco will return to his vintage best and anchor Real Madrid’s second-choice midfield lineup may be a little too far-fetched. However, given some foreseeable appearances and all the positives noted from his first start of the season, Isco could end up being an important campaigner for the Whites. To say the very least, this performance was a statement to all his critics, and a loud announcement that he very much has a place in this squad.