Real Madrid: 3 takeaways from a 1-1 draw with Elche

Real Madrid, Marcelo (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Marcelo (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Martin Odegaard
Real Madrid, Martin Odegaard (Photo by Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images) /

This game needed Martin Odegaard

Madridistas were quick to criticize Zinedine Zidane for waiting until past the 75th minute to make his first changes – and rightfully so. It was clear even before the hour-mark that Real Madrid needed to introduce new players into the match to create more chances and break down Elche’s low block, but Zidane was too hesitant.

As brilliant of a manager as Zidane is, the criticism of his late substitutions and slow responses to a match are not new. His lack of prompt subs has frustrated fans over the past year, and even though Real are now able to make use of five changes, Zidane seems reluctant to take advantage of what should be a disproportionate benefit to a club like Real.

In particular, it was disappointing not to see Martin Odegaard see the pitch at all. Odegaard is the kind of creative attacking midfielder who can pierce low blocks with one well-placed pass, dribble, or movement off the ball. The young Norwegian is a future superstar for Los Blancos, yet Zidane does not seem willing to unleash him, even though he asked for his return this season.

Odegaard could have been the difference-maker for Los Blancos in a game in which the club struggled to create and score. Elche did well defensively in the second half, but Odegaard could have been the proper and timely antidote to their suffocating defensive setup.