Real Madrid won the first ELCLASICO of the 2023/24 LALIGA EA SPORTS season, defeating historic rivals FC Barcelona 2-1 thanks to two goals from Jude Bellingham. Here’s an outline of why they came out on top.
The three points from the first ELCLASICO of the season have gone to Real Madrid, who defeated FC Barcelona 2-1 at the Estadi Olímpic courtesy of two goals from rising superstar Jude Bellingham. The England international was the MVP of the match and his brilliance helped Los Blancos win this game, while several other players were decisive too and Carlo Ancelotti’s substitutions also made a difference. Here’s all you need to know.
Bellingham is scoring like Di Stéfano and Cristiano Ronaldo
Of course, the primary reason why Real Madrid won this edition of ELCLASICO is Jude Bellingham. The Englishman has been on fire since he signed with the club in the summer and he now has 13 goals across his first 13 games with the team in all competitions. The only other Real Madrid players who netted 13 goals across their first 13 appearances were Alfredo Di Stéfano and Cristiano Ronaldo, both of them also ELCLASICO legends. Bellingham’s two goals on Saturday perfectly summed up his brilliance, as he spectacularly hit a long-range blast that had an xG of just 0.01, before he made sure he was in the right place at the right time to convert the match-winner in stoppage time.
Carlo Ancelotti’s substitutions changed the game
It has to be said that FC Barcelona played very well too in ELCLASICO, as Xavi came up with a few interesting tactical wrinkles, such as deploying João Cancelo and İlkay Gündoğan in more advanced roles than they’re used to and trusting the young Fermín López. However, Carlo Ancelotti was able to wrestle control away from the hosts in the second half thanks to his substitutions. By bringing on Eduardo Camavinga, Joselu and Luka Modrić early in the second half, Ancelotti caused Barça problems as each player made an impact in their respective position.
Eduardo Camavinga’s impact in both defence and attack
The introduction of Eduardo Camavinga in the 52nd minute was key, especially because of his position on the pitch. The Frenchman was introduced to play left-back, and he did a great job of containing everyone he went up against, from João Cancelo to Fermín López to Lamine Yamal. More than that, the Frenchman was able to bring the ball forward too and his verticality tilted the game in Real Madrid’s favour.
Kepa’s saves kept Real Madrid alive
Although Real Madrid goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga only had to make two saves in this game, both were decisive. With the first, he produced a spectacular reaction to block a close-range Ronald Araújo blast in the 50th minute. Then, he made another save from Raphinha at a crucial stage of the game, in the 85th minute. The Basque goalkeeper was able to keep Real Madrid alive in this game, and that was key.
Dani Carvajal is playing like the captain that he is
One of the other Real Madrid players who deserves special credit for this ELCLASICO victory is Dani Carvajal. Wearing the captain’s armband as he led his team out at the Estadi Olímpic, Carvajal put in a superb performance, making several defensive interventions that were just as important as Kepa’s saves in keeping Los Blancos within touching distance. For example, his tackle on João Félix, when the Portuguese were though on goal just before the half-hour mark, was so important. It has been an excellent start to the season for Carvajal and for Real Madrid, who retain top spot in LALIGA EA SPORTS thanks to this 2-1 win in ELCLASICO.