- Isco is benched. Isco has not only been benched but he’s enjoyed virtually zero playing time with Solari, something quite unusual for a player of his caliber.
- Vinicius gets a chance. The player has responded so well that he’s now a permanent fixture in the starting lineup.
- More opportunities for youth players. Reguilón, Odriozola and Llorente have featured frequently, putting the established starters on notice.
- Marcelo is benched. Marcelo has been considered the best left-back in football (more for offensive abilities than defensive skills) for the better half of the decade, but his form is seriously lacking and for the first time since taking over the starting role from Roberto Carlos he’s become second choice.
- Bale is benched for Lucas Vazquez. To be fair Bale has started some matches but he’s also had to come off the bench for many. This, however, is not totally new with Solari as Zidane had Gareth frequently on the bench.
Three and half months since Lopetegui was sacked and things are looking up at the Bernabeu. With Solari at the helm Madrid has climbed to second place in Liga and just 6 points behind Barca. The Liga race looked to be all but over, yet much has changed in little time. The team managed a 1-1 draw away in the Copa semifinal against our eternal rival and dismantled an always difficult Atleti defense for a 3-1 win last week. Wednesday’s visit to Ajax also proved successful with a 2-1 victory in Champions League, although in this case, the team was outplayed for good parts of the match by the highly motivated Dutch squad. In a nutshell, when all looked lost after just 2 months into the season, now there is hope on all fronts. Is it by chance or is it a result of Solari’s doing? Solari’s changes: