Real Madrid: Five Takeaways From The Season So Far

Real Madrid (Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid (Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Soccrates/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

The never-ending problem against low-blocks

Low blocks have been a problem, particularly for Real Madrid in the last few seasons. They have struggled to score against them, and due to deploying so many men in the attacking third, Raphael Varane most of the times is the only player behind to defend the counters. We’ve been seeing it for a little over three seasons now and it’s not even a once in a while thing. IT happens quite often and the team is forced to rely on individual brilliance or set pieces to get out of that situation. Again, it doesn’t happen every single game, but it is very common.

In Zidane’s final year in the third tenure, the not-so-well-resourced La Liga teams figured out a way to stop Zidane’s men from winning games. That was by creating a low block of eight or nine outfield players, which sit back, don’t ask for possession, and close out all spaces. They look for one error by teams like Real and make the most of that error. Sometimes, it leads to a goal. The most recent example of solely having problems with low blocks: Cadiz. The most humiliating example that had low blocks and a million more issues? Alaves, last weekend.

As I was saying, Zidane’s final year in his first tenure was three years ago. This has been an issue for three years. Earlier, the team had Cristiano Ronaldo to bail them out. Now, there’s no offensive superstar that’s capable of scoring 30 per season. Tough times. As I’ve said in these past three years, Zidane needs to figure out a way to get past this long, challenging hurdle that is the battle against low-blocks. One thing Zidane can and should do is play Odegaard against teams like this. Odegaard is a behemoth in terms of shot and chance creation, and all he needs is one pass to split the whole defense. I just didn’t understand the decision of leaving him out of the starting lineup against Alaves.