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Bale and Hazard forgotten: Benzema, Vinicius and Rodrygo first choice in attack

There's a new trident in town. It might not have as much of a ring as some of the monikers of the past, but let's call it the BVR: Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes.

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has thrown his weight behind these three forwards as he seeks to find the winning formula in his second spell at the club.

And he seems to have stumbled upon a strong combination, with the trio yet to taste defeat in the times they've been together in the XI.

All this is a far cry from the situation as Real Madrid travelled to Alaves for their first LaLiga Santander game of the season.

Then, Ancelotti pulled rank and went with a heavyweight and probably expected frontline of Eden Hazard, Benzema and Gareth Bale.

But in a sign of what was to come, neither Hazard nor Bale finished the game, instead making way for the more youthful pair of Vinicius and Rodrygo.

It was the same story on Matchday 2, with Bale and Hazard once again removed from the fray for the Brazilians.

Vinicius started the third league game of the season, and Rodrygo did the same against Inter in the Champions League.

Vinicius and Rodrygo start alongside Benzema

But it wasn't until the visit of Real Mallorca to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu that Ancelotti started them together with Benzema.

And it resulted in the club's best performance of the campaign to that point, a 6-1 rout.

This combination of youth and experience saw Los Blancos hand out another thrashing against Shakhtar Donetsk, with all three of the forwards getting on the scoresheet.

Hazard had been left at home for that trip with his second injury of the season, with Bale also still out of the picture.

Hazard had been expected to return for El Clasico, but Ancelotti's words beforehand proved to be telling, with the Belgian staying on the bench at the Camp Nou.

"A player like Rodrygo is difficult to drop when he is playing well," the Italian coach said.

And with his now favoured trident together it was, of course, another win for Real Madrid in their most important match to date.

The truth is that it works. They work.

It's now 12 games the three have started together, with nine wins and three draws.

They have scored 14 of the team's 26 goals in that time, and with Ancelotti preferring a 4-3-3 formation, the spots in the XI seem theirs for as long as they want them.

The way they line up on the pitch is structured and clear, which helps.

Benzema holds the middle but seeks combinations on both flanks, while Vinicius has also seemed most comfortable operating down the left rather than the right, where he was asked to play by ex-coach Zinedine Zidane, such as during the Champions League semi-final last term against Chelsea.

That leaves Rodrygo to patrol the right flank, which he has done expertly.

Bale and Hazard face a fight to get back in.

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