Real Madrid: Three reasons to be optimistic about the second leg

Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Eden Hazard
Real Madrid, Eden Hazard (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images) /

Improved wing play

Real Madrid have been dreadful attacking-wise over the past few games. Aside from a brilliant first half from Karim Benzema against Cadiz with three goal contributions from the Frenchman, Real have been woeful. They drew Real Betis and Getafe 0-0. And they needed Benz’s brilliance once more to even get one past Edouard Mendy on Tuesday.

Los Blancos need more from the players around Benzema. You’ve heard this one before, right?

Remember how good Real’s attack looked in the first leg win over Liverpool? Vinicius Junior scored twice and Marco Asensio scored his fourth goal in four matches. Where has that production been from the two of them lately, especially Asensio? He’s fallen back down to earth again, sadly.

But Real don’t have to rely on just those two players on the wings in the second leg. Eden Hazard could be ready to start, and he is by far Real’s most talented winger. I love Vinicius and have respect for Asensio in the right role. But Hazard is on a different level entirely. He was once the best player in Ligue 1 and then the Premier League for an extended period of time.

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There is one more name to watch, too. Rodrygo Goes. He’s cooled off since an injury in December, but he is a talented young player who should be on the radar of Madridistas. If we compare efficiency numbers, Rodrygo is likely a better player than Asensio. He and Hazard could help boost Real’s wing play in the second leg, in case neither Vini nor Asensio can step up.