Vinicius Jr. struggles without Karim Benzema, and that’s Carlo Ancelotti’s fault

Real Madrid, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Jr.(Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Jr.(Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /

It is an easy task for any Real Madrid fan to name the two best attackers of this season, as Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr. have done enough to be hailed as one of the most threatening attacking duos in the world. It is because of them, that Real Madrid is leading the LaLiga and has entered the quarter-finals stage of the UEFA Champions League.

Both of them have complemented each other well, having scored a total of 49 goals together in all competitions this season. They have won a lot of games on their own, and they’ve been inseparable as a duo. But, with frequent injuries to Benzema in recent times, there’s a need to discuss their abilities to play without the support of the other.

Benzema, a footballing legend, doesn’t have the need to prove a point that he can play well without a particular player alongside him. But Vinicius, who’s been a consistently world-class player for the first time in his career, needs to prove that he can play well in the absence of Benzema as well.

And now that Real Madrid has been steamrolled by Barcelona in a game where Benzema was unavailable and Vinicius wasn’t at his best, one should talk about his ability to excel without Benzema by his side.

Vinicius Jr. suffered against Barcelona without Benzema

Vinicius, who’s in his fourth season with Real Madrid’s first team, had developed a great partnership with the Frenchman in the starting stages of the season itself. It didn’t take long until he had to take up the test of playing without Benzema, but he did succeed initially. He scored a brace away at Elche, and scored a goal against Real Sociedad, combining well with Benzema’s on-paper backup Luka Jovic.

But since then, he hasn’t been able to play to the best of his abilities without Benzema and hasn’t scored a goal in games without the 34-year-old. He has produced the odd moments of individual brilliance, but he hasn’t been able to replicate the same throughout the 90 minutes. His latest struggle came in a 4-0 loss against Barcelona, in which he was visibly confused regarding his positioning and movement without Benzema.

This shows a lot about Vini’s telepathic partnership with Benzema, a player who was once fed up with Vini‘s immature decision-making on the field. Benzema has guided the Brazilian well and has pretty much been Vini’s Mjolnir, helping the youngster channel his natural talent into something useful.

But of late, Vinicius without Benzema has been like a Thor without Mjolnir. The lack of comfort in Benzema’s absence is expected, but he can’t be overreliant on a Frenchman, and he has to make better use of his inner talent. He needs to be able to work like Thor without a weapon or adapt to life with a Stormbreaker. And a huge part of the blame goes to the team’s manager Carlo Ancelotti as well.

Without Benzema, Ancelotti has no proper action plan

It’s clearly evident that Ancelotti doesn’t have a specific plan-B and relies too much on his plan-A, which is built around the likes of talented individuals like Karim Benzema, Vinicius, Luka Modric, etc.

In a case of an injury to a midfielder, Ancelotti has the opportunity to use someone like Fede Valverde or Eduardo Camavinga. But in case of an injury to the team’s pillar, Karim Benzema, Ancelotti seems to have no plan in his mind to cover for the absence of Benzema.

There are options, like Luka Jovic, Mariano, and Gareth Bale on the bench, but Ancelotti hasn’t given consistent game time to any of them, and none of them can be seen as a “Benzema backup” at the moment. This has created a lot of confusion, and after looking at the last Clasico, it’s even more difficult to tell if any of Rodrygo and Luka Modric is Benzema’s backup.

The absence of a particular plan in Benzema’s absence has proved to be detrimental for both Vinicius and the team. Plan B has always kept changing, which hasn’t allowed Vinicius and the team to get an understanding of how to play without the team’s main player, Benzema.

Maybe we can blame the absence of another player with a profile similar to Benzema is hurting us, but as a manager with so many world-class players at his disposal, Ancelotti is expected to do a better job.

Next. The best Real Madrid player to wear every kit number. dark

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It’s not too late yet, and a big moth is coming up. For Real Madrid to come out on top, the team and the main players need to regain their form and fitness soon, and Carlo Ancelotti needs to devise a proper plan B and prevent the chance of losing trophies due to injuries.

In short, Ancelotti needs to show us what he has learned from 2014/15.