Isco's start to life at the Bernabeu has more than helped Real Madrid to cope with Ozil's departure and that was evident in the win over Getafe.
Apart from this, the only other moment when Ozil contributed in attack was when he changed gears to find Ronaldo who was hacked down by the opposition's defender. The problem for the then Madrid manager Jose Mourinho was the lack of ingenuity in the final third apart from the usual suspect defense.
It seemed that the ghosts of last season had come back to haunt the Madridistas at the Bernabeu on Sunday. Less than five minutes into the game and the visitors had taken a lead through Lafita’s deflected shot off Pepe which left their in-form goalkeeper Diego Lopez wrong footed as the ball steered into the net.
However, unlike Villarreal last weekend who launched waves of attacks and were relentless throughout, Luis Garcia’s side couldn’t get out of their own half as Madrid didn’t allow them the time and space on the ball. And before the half way mark in the first half, they found their equaliser through an unlikely source. Angel Di Maria’s free-kick saw Miguel playing Cristiano Ronaldo onside who tested Miguel Moya and the goalkeeper was equal to the task but only to parry it into the path of Pepe who scored from less than three yards out.
Miguel made another horrible mistake by handling the ball inside the area from a Ronaldo free-kick which prompted the referee to point to the spot. The Portuguese duly converted to go level with Hugo Sanchez’s all-time goal scoring record for the los blancos with 207 goals.
Getafe did look threatening whenever they ventured forward, which was a rarity but the Madrid defenders gave a good account of themselves by clearing the danger each time.
The next goal was going to be a crucial one. Had Getafe scored, it would have been game on and a goal at that juncture for Madrid would provide a cushion and almost seal the points for them. A defeat would have seen them fall off the pace by being five points adrift of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
Ten minutes after the break and Isco jinked inside Mosquera before bending his shot past Moya after Ronaldo had released the former Malaga midfielder with a quick free-kick.
That wasn't the end of it as the Spaniard was involved in several attacks launched by the home team. He released Alvaro Arbeloa down the left whose cross should have been buried by the woeful Karim Benzema. Isco's brilliant ball control was evident when he flicked it for Ronaldo to initiate a counter-attack.
He spotted Moya off his line and his cheeky long range effort went wide though it was applauded by the Bernabeu faithful. The21-year old became the first Spanish player to score four goals in the first five La Liga matches for Real Madrid since Guti did in the 2000-01 season.
It wasn’t surprising when German legend Oliver Kahn stated, “Mesut Ozil failed to make himself indispensable at Real Madrid. Last season, he only scored nine goals in La Liga - in his position, behind the attackers, this is not enough. Especially if you consider that it's normal for Real Madrid to score a combined 100 goals per season. Those who want to survive at a club like Real must prove themselves in every match and show that they're the best of the best.”
And it wasn’t just the goals of Isco as he won the second most number of aerial duels for Madrid, just one behind the rock solid Sami Khedira. This highlights that the midfielder also pays heed to his defensive duties, something Ozil wasn’t very accomplished at.
Isco has started life at the Bernabeu in some style and while much was made about Ozil’s importance and there is no doubting the German international’s class, the new arrival brings a lot more variety to the table and certainly adds more guile to this Madrid attack.
Carlo Ancelotti’s observation in the aftermath of the game on Isco’s performance was: “Everyone can talk about Isco's talent, but for me the strange thing about his case is the great personality he has shown since arriving, at just 21 years of age. And that's no easy thing to have, especially in this stadium".
A certain Pedro Leon of Getafe would bear testament to this given that he failed to justify his talent with the blancos.
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