Real Madrid 5-0 Sevilla | Best performance of the season so far from Los Blancos

Real Madrid 5-0 Sevilla | FI

The fifteenth game week of the La Liga saw the Champions, fourth placed with 28 points, host fifth placed Sevilla with same number of points. Coming into the game, Real Madrid were on the back a poor track record to their start in recent years as they were 8 points off the leaders just after 14 games played. Madrid had just won one in their three previous games in the league and it was all agony for the Madrid faithful.

The star player of the squad, Cristiano Ronaldo was mesmerizing back in midweek against Dortmund however he was getting some stick due to his poor performances in the league. He came into game having won his fifth Ballon d’Or just a day before the game. Given it was a fixture between sides who were on same points, one would’ve expected the match to be a tight affair or slightly favourable to the home team. But what happened next was a surprise everyone as Real Madrid ripped Sevilla apart.

Line ups

Real Madrid 5-0 Sevilla | 1

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Real Madrid (4-4-2) | Manager: Zinedine Zidane

1.Keylor Navas //19.Hakimi Ashraf – 3.Vallejo – 6.Nacho – 12.Marcelo // 17.Lucas Vazquez – 8.Kroos – 10.Modric – 20.Marco Asensio // 9.Benzema – 7.Ronaldo

Sevilla (4-3-3) | Manager: Eduardo Berizzo

1.Rico // 25.Mercado – 4.Kjaer – 5.Lenglet – 3.Carole // 10.Banega – 14.Pizzaro – 22.Franco Vazquez // 16.Jesus Navas – 20.Muriel – 24.Nolito

After claiming just five points of a possible nine in the previous games, Zinedine Zidane set up his side with young guns and refreshed the XI after a brilliant win against Borussia Dortmund. Zidane made six changes to the side that started in the Champions League as Ashraf, Vallejo and Asensio were given an opportunity to start against Sevilla. Key players were missed as Ramos, Casemiro and Carvajal were suspended with Varane injured. Isco was rested as Zidane rotated his squad making use of the depth.

Eduardo Berizzo, on the other hand, fielded his side in a 4-3-3 set up with Sergio Rico in goal. In the back, Mercado, Kjaer, Lenglet and Carole started as Banega, Pizzaro and Franco Vazquez filled the midfield. The attacking trio composed of former Manchester City men Navas and Nolito on the wings with Muriel in the centre. Sevilla were on the back of an impressive run the league having won three of their last four games in La Liga and the only loss came up against leaders Barcelona.

In this game, Zidane did not follow his customary 4-3-3 or the 4-4-2 diamond which has been the pattern at the Bernabeu. Instead he opted for a flat 4-4-2 which saw Modric and Kroos revive their partnership in midfield. The wide areas were occupied by Vazquez and Asensio while Ronaldo and Benzema started up front.

Opening stages of the game

The opening stages of the game saw Real Madrid dominate right from the off as Marcelo was involved with Asensio in the build ups in the left flank. Often one of Benzema and Ronaldo would drop into the left flank to offer width. This kept the full back busy and the ball carrier from the midfield (left winger Asensio in most cases) moved into the half space and will fill up the space evacuated by the striker.

Since the movements would start from the deep, the centre half was found out of position as Asensio is able to capitalize to move into the space without much pressure. And in Real Madrid’s first wave of attack, this particular instance disturbed the away defense. As seen from below, the ball far centre back would occupy the striker in the middle but in this meantime the ball far winger would run in centrally from the wings and he was left unmarked.

Real Madrid 5-0 Sevilla | 2

Lucas Vazquez was the man and he became the target of this attack and his shot on goal was brilliantly saved by the opposite Goalkeeper. In most instances, Benzema was seen with similar movements to Ronaldo where the former would link up with Marcelo and Asensio in the left while Portuguese would be joined by Vazquez and even the advancing midfielders.

Real’s defensive set-up

After the early first goal by Nacho from a set piece, Real Madrid were pushed back by Sevilla for a solid fifteen minutes. Sevilla experienced their best period of the game as they looked to expand their area in the attacking front with Navas and Nolito providing the width. As Sevilla had the ball dominating, Real Madrid were able to get back to defend in their two banks of four.

The defensive shape of the side was rigid and the process of transition was done quickly from Madrid as Sevilla couldn’t hit back on the counter.

These movements helped Real Madrid to keep Sevilla at bay and also they were able to hit back at them easily once they won the ball back. These defensive movements also became the key to scoring goals for them as they transitioned from 4-4-2 to 2-4-4 in no time.

Movements in the left flank

The movements in the left flank were quite interesting from Real Madrid as Marcelo and Asensio shared their roles in different thirds of the game. In the first third, Marcelo was wide as both the centre backs expanded themselves to play out from the back. This meant that Marcelo was very wide in the wings during the initial stages of the build up. As he carries the ball forward, Asensio who dropped in the half space in the defensive zone started to move diagonally as he provided the width in the left flank.

Given the absence of Isco, Marcelo was able to run infield and make the underlapping runs. Isco’s presence in the 10’s role would’ve kept him in the wings to provide the width. But here the presence of Asensio in the wide areas has allowed Marcelo to underlap and head towards the goal and cut into the middle to find the forwards in the centre.

Also when Real build out from the back, Asensio dropped to have exchanges with the centre half. This attracted the ball near opposite midfielder towards him leaving Marcelo a free lane to move into. This instance can be identified below.

Ronaldo’s importance

Having won his fifth Ballon d’Or award, equalling Messi’s record, Ronaldo came into the game having flourished in the Champions League this season but failing to do the same in the La Liga. He had scored just twice in the 10 previous league games and this game looked the kind where he’d put up a massive performance. Right from the off Ronaldo was sharp in his movements as he linked up play very well.

His movements into the flanks were important however his link up play in the middle as he switched breaks into goal scoring opportunities spoke volumes of his confidence. His first goal was brilliant finish and he scored his second after converting the penalty from the spot. He was also involved in the next two goals which were scored by Kroos and Ashraf. He set up Benzema on his path and the Frenchman found the German towards goal as Real Madrid scored their fourth on the night.


It was only the second time that Real Madrid had scored five goals within the first half under Zinedine Zidane. The Champions steam rolled Sevilla just within the first 45 minutes. As the game was over by the first half, Sevilla looked to revive some pride however Real were once again defensively astute and were able to even threaten again on the counters.

Zidane would have definitely got the confidence that his team has come back handsomely. All he now needs in a Barcelona slip up to make the title race crispier as Real look to catch up the eight point lead taken by Barcelona.