Real Madrid: Is it possible for Sergio Arribas to start over Marco Asensio?

Real Madrid, Marco Asensio, Sergio Arribas (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Marco Asensio, Sergio Arribas (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Sergio Arribas has been getting chances of late, and he has been impressive in every chance he gets. With every game, he just looks better. Though he played it safe in the first few games, he has upped the ante in the last three games, and particularly the last game. It is evident from his performances that he deserves to play more for the Real Madrid first-team.

Though the 19-year-old Arribas hasn’t registered a direct goal contribution to his name, he has shown glimpses of brilliance. He is primarily a right-winger and the first-choice player in that position is Marco Asensio. The 25-year-old Asensio has been very disappointing this season. But has Arribas done enough to displace Asensio from the lineup? Should we even consider that option in the first place?

Asensio has just 2 goals and 2 assists in all competitions this season. He has underperformed his already low xG of 2.6, which simply shows that he hasn’t been able to get himself into scoring positions. He averages just 3.89 touches per 90 minutes in the opposition’s penalty box. Though he completes 1.9 dribbles per 90 minutes, none of them has led to great scoring opportunities and those haven’t been penetrative, which is very important to break through low-blocks.

Arribas hasn’t yet shown his complete skill-set while playing for the first-team, but anyone who watches Castilla’s games would definitely have an idea of his overall skill-set. I have once discussed his skill-set and his world-class potential. Given the limited sample space of just 5 appearances and 91 minutes, it would be harsh to judge him based on numbers. If given a start he can showcase his abilities without any pressure of proving himself in a limited time.

Marco Asensio still has not taken the necessary responsibility at Real Madrid

Every time he made an entry onto the pitch, he brought energy and a sense of directness to the attack. His passing and dribbling have been direct, and he has shown a tendency to be calm under pressure. As I said above, he deserves to play more. But should he start over Asensio?

Asensio’s contribution aside, the fact that he’s not taking up responsibility at the age of 25 disappointed me a lot. He needs to try something and at least show the intent on the pitch. He is 6 feet tall, he can be a good aerial target but he doesn’t even get into the box for a cross. That’s what I’m talking about, it’s the intent that matters.

With Rodrygo injured and Lucas covering for Carvajal, there is literally no competition for Asensio in the first-team. He needs to have competition for his position and that can make him try to improve himself. It looks like there’s still time for Rodrygo’s return, and in the meantime, Sergio Arribas can offer some competition.

But at a time when seniors like Benzema and Hazard are injured, starting the Castilla youngster over Asensio would be a very bold but risky move. And not to forget that Arribas’ inexperience and weak physique is a factor that adds to the argument that he shouldn’t start over Asensio with big games against Atalanta, Real Sociedad, and Atletico Madrid coming up.

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To keep it simple, Arribas should get to start a game for the first-team but not now. He should start when there are more experienced players like Benzema and Hazard available. He may or may not get a chance considering how Zidane doesn’t change his team much when there’s the pressure of winning every game. In theory, it’s possible for Arribas to start over Asensio, but in practicality, it’s not possible and Zidane might not even consider that possibility.