Madrid have had some ups and downs this season already ,and surprisingly it has always been from the smaller teams . It has never been a surprise to see Zinedine Zidane’s Madrid win the three peat in the champions league but fail to beat smaller teams like Cadiz, Elche and now Osasuna . The team has always found it difficult to break down teams that defend in a low block and again this was evident at El Sadar. Of course the snow and icy pitch was a factor and yes the Casemiro penalty wasn’t called, but Zidane could of saved the situation , and there was also the case of the offside goals which were of course offside.
The missing link at El Sadar was the absence of Martin Odegaard, Valverde and Vinicius Jnr. Valverde came on late for Asensio but the game could not have changed without the duo of Odegaard and Vini. Zidane brought on Isco and Mariano for Modric and Hazard respectively but that did nothing to break down the Osasuna block. Madrid reverted from a 4-3-3 to a 4-3-2-1 with Isco as the attacking midfielder and Benzema and Mariano as the left and right central forwards.
An analysis of right-footed attacking midfielders would suggest that coming from the right flank into the attacking-midfield zone the body angle relative to the pitch would make it difficult to send the ball to the vacated space on the right flank and would only allow through balls into the strikers or a lofted ball to the opposite left flank. Mariano playing on the left flank would add some pace but not the trickery and unpredictability that Vinicius would bring. With most balls going to Mariano, Benzema would be starved of the ball to the detriment of Madrid as he is the best attacking outlet .
Seeing that the attack would be one sided with Isco, Odegaard should have been brought into the game. With Vinicius on the left and Odegaard through the middle and Asensio on the right, Madrid would have had carried so much punch in attack. With Odegaard playing as a false 9 ,Valverde would be constantly bombing into the central channels as a striker for tap-ins. What this suggests is that Modric , Benzema and Hazard should have been substituted for Valverde ,Odegaard and Vinicius respectively.
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