Real Madrid may finally get their substitution strategy right

Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid have high hopes for the year 2022. They are first in LaLiga, alive in the Copa del Rey after avenging last year’s loss to Alcoyano, and ambitious in the Champions League. And in the summer, the team is fully expected to sign Kylian Mbappe, with a valid chance of adding Erling Haaland to him.

On top of that, Carlo Ancelotti has been slowly setting the team up for a better future with some of the things he has done. For example, his advice helped Vinicius Junior find his best level. And Ancelotti’s transition-heavy, exciting brand of football sets the team up nicely for the next era. It has certainly made the team more enjoyable to watch and better set-up for the breakout star, Vini Jr. He is also getting more out of Marco Asensio as a scorer, as the Andalusian has scored seven goals in all competitions thus far.

Now, a report from ABC Deportes’ Tomas Gonzalez-Martin indicates that we will be seeing another strategic change that is sure to benefit Real Madrid. It is a change that addresses a gripe Madridistas have had over the past few seasons, including when Zinedine Zidane ably guided the club to its 34th league title.

Carlo Ancelotti’s son, Davide Ancelotti, has made the suggestion to his father to make more substitutions and to make them sooner in the match. Teams now have five subs, and while Madrid have not fully taken advantage of this rule change since the start of the pandemic, this report is a sign that this may change soon.

Real Madrid can throw different tactical wrinkles at teams

In their last match, Real Madrid made five substitutions, but only two of them were before the 75th-minute mark. And none before minute 70.

Los Blancos have depth and a lot of talented young players in need of minutes. In Eduardo Camavinga, Real have someone who can make a huge impact off the bench, as we saw against Inter Milan, Celta Vigo, and even Valencia at the Mestalla. Antonio Blanco, Dani Ceballos, and, of course, Fede Valverde are other midfielders who can make an impact.

Then we get to the attack, where there are so many players who can change things tactically. Luka Jovic up top. Gareth Bale cutting in from the right side. Rodrygo Goes and Eden Hazard. Marco Asensio has scored plenty of goals off the bench. Isco seems forgotten, but as we have seen multiple times this season, he can be an asset.

There are still more options. Sergio Arribas and Miguel Gutierrez from Castilla. Marcelo for attacking juice down the left. Lucas Vazquez for added defensive protection at right wing. And last but certainly not least, the dynamic Peter Federico, who dazzled in just a few minutes off the bench at San Mames.

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Real Madrid fans have been hoping for more subs. They want more breathers for the stars, more opportunities for the young guns, and, most importantly, more tactical wrinkles and adjustments in a proactive manner. So far, subs have paid off big for Madrid, who have been a strong second-half team in 2021-2022. An even more active approach can only help Los Blancos, because we know the Ancelottis will not make subs for the sake of them. But they will be more open to making moves when necessary, giving more hope to the players on the periphery who are eager to make an impression.