Real Madrid: 3 tasks for Zinedine Zidane in October

Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images) /

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has guided the team to a strong start, but it will get tougher in the month of October.

At no point in the 2020-2021 La Liga season so far have Real Madrid been poor, but they have not been convincing either. Another weak Barcelona side could help Los Blancos win a second straight title under Zinedine Zidane’s leadership, but the legendary French manager will not take a single thing for granted, especially with Atletico Madrid and Sevilla building talented sides.

With the Champions League campaign starting and El Clasico on the horizon at the end of the month, October is shaping up to be an important time for Real Madrid. Let’s look at three tasks for Zidane this month.

Zinedine Zidane must fit Martin Odegaard into Real Madrid

Martin Odegaard has a chance to be a generational talent. We hear this word thrown a lot, and I am often guilty of throwing it around too loosely – like many others – largely due to my excitement for young players.

But I think it is appropriate to say Odegaard has this potential. He was extraordinary for Real Sociedad last season, and he even provided another one of those slide-rule, line-breaking passes for an assist over the international break, setting up long-term Real Madrid transfer target Erling Haaland beautifully.

Odegaard started against Sociedad in the opener and played well, but he’s not been a regular in the lineup through the first four games of the season. There is a lot of competition in midfield, but I don’t think, from an attacking perspective, there is a player on Los Blancos with Odegaard’s defining ability in the final third. October will be a month for Zidane to find Odegaard’s niche.

Zinedine Zidane must navigate Real Madrid right back situation

Alvaro Odriozola should be able to return relatively soon from his injury, but Dani Carvajal is still a long-term absence after suffering an MCL injury. Because of Real’s lack of right back options in 2019-2020, Carvajal ended up being one of the team’s most important players. In some cases, Real Madrid went as his form did.

Odriozola gives Zinedine Zidane more options and flexibility than last season, and he is a very good attacking right back despite some more development needed defensively. Ferland Mendy, he is not.

Until Odri returns and fills in for Carvajal, Zidane must continue to weigh Lucas Vazquez and Nacho Fernandez as options. Eder Militao’s own injury woes to start the season have curtailed a further emergency option for the manager.

Real Madrid need to start taking their chances

Although Real Madrid have one more “easy” game (as Mallorca showed us last October, there is no such thing as an easy game in La Liga) against Cadiz, their second league match of October will be against Barcelona. And before that, Shakhtar Donetsk could be a Club Brugge-like game for Los Blancos if they aren’t careful.

The biggest issue I’ve had with Los Blancos so far this season is with the attack, but it isn’t the common complaint. They’ve created plenty of chances. The problem is that they haven’t taken them, and Karim Benzema has been more culpable than anyone else.

Next. 5 Players Real Madrid Should Have Never Sold. dark

Benzema scored against Levante very late in the match to seal a tense game at 2-0. This month, he will need to be more clinical, because Donetsk, Cadiz, and Barcelona might not give up as many chances as Real Betis, Real Valladolid, and Levante.