Real Madrid's 11-game La Liga unbeaten streak came to an end on Sunday as Getafe snatched a 1-0 victory over their city rivals, and there's no surprise that it happened in the absence of Vinicius Junior.
The Brazilian winger, who trails only Karim Benzema in the team's scoring charts this season, missed out on this game because of a positive Covid-19 test.
Many had expected Eden Hazard to reclaim his spot on the left wing, having spent the past few weeks on the right side, but the Belgian was surprisingly relegated to the bench in favour of Marco Asensio and the returning Rodrygo Goes.
Almost immediately, it became clear just how much Real missed Vinicius in attack. Getafe's early goal gave them a reason to sit back and defend their lead, and nobody in white was prepared to try to get in behind them.
Benzema's flicks and movements were wasted as neither Asensio nor Rodrygo looked willing or capable to get on his wavelength, and the lack of attacking impact from Carlo Ancelotti's full-backs was a real concern as well.
Lucas Vazquez, a winger by trade, lacked the composure and quality needed in the final third, while left-back Ferland Mendy was hauled off at half-time after it became abundantly clear that he wasn't going to try to get in behind Getafe either.
This was a game that was crying out for someone like Vinicius. The 21-year-old isn't afraid to go at his man and could have easily had some success, especially in the second half when the game got more stretched.
Hazard came on at half-time and did bring some improvement, but it was nowhere near the recent level of Vinicius, and Ancelotti must be concerned about the lack of genuine depth in his attack.
Vinicius' absence effectively crippled Real's attack, and despite having a handful of decent players vying to replace him, not one could come anywhere close.
You can't help but wonder whether Ancelotti will be tempted to try to find some better cover in January. It's no secret that Real are pursuing Kylian Mbappe and hope to team him up with Erling Haaland, and as far as attacking reinforcements go, that's not bad.
However, Real need to make it to the end of the season first. This was obviously just a minor blip in the system, but Ancelotti can't help but be a little nervous about what can happen to his side when Vinicius is missing.
In today's world, when a two-week absence can come out of nowhere, Ancelotti better keep Vinicius wrapped in cotton wool.
This article was originally published on 90min as Vinicius Junior's absence felt as Real Madrid fall to Getafe.