Real Madrid: Three Biggest concerns before El Clasico

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 18: Carlo Ancelotti, manager of Real Madrid looks on prior to the LaLiga Santander match between Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid CF at Civitas Metropolitano Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 18: Carlo Ancelotti, manager of Real Madrid looks on prior to the LaLiga Santander match between Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid CF at Civitas Metropolitano Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /

As Real Madrid continues to dwell in a festive mood with leading La Liga along with Barcelona and stringing together a line of good performances with a dominant record both in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League, ‘a disturbance in the force’ is set to be encountered as Carlo Ancelotti’s men approach the El Clasico on 16th October.

"“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” – To Autumn, John Keats"

This month when the games will be coming in thick and fast, Real Madrid is in contention to receive some dents to their otherwise near perfect record.

Just like this month of fall promises some ‘fruitfulness,’ it also holds a sense of uncertainty in its misty nature. Despite assuring results, Real Madrid have their weaknesses and needless to say, some of them have been exposed by opponents repeatedly.

Here in this article, we talk about the most significant concerns Carlo Ancelotti and his ‘Vikingos’ are set to face as Real Madrid awaits title challengers and eternal rivals Barcelona in a feisty El Clasico later this month:

Real Madrid
Daniel Carvajal, Real Madrid (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Defensive woes continue to haunt Real Madrid

We have been into some matchday now and Carlo Ancelotti still hasn’t found a way to correct Real Madrid’s immature defensive errors.

While Ferland Mendy can keep his left flank covered and under lock-down, the same is not for Dani Carvajal and the defensive duo of David Alaba and Antonio Rudiger/Eder Militao.

German maestro Toni Kroos’ trademark cross-field pass for Dani Carvajal often sends the latter to offensive positions leaving behind huge spaces which are neither covered by the centre-backs nor by a trailing midfielder. It’s pretty maladroit to see Ancelotti hasn’t addressed the issue till now and it’s certainly a place which Xavi will look forward to exploit in the El Clasico.

Apart from the uncovered space left by Carvajal, there are more to Real’s defensive woes. It has been quite noticeable this season that the centre-back partnership is having some awkward delay in foreseeing dangerous through balls or hazardous runs from the opponent team. There are no questions about their adept challenges but a lack of capability in reading opponent attacking moves particularly because of the lack of defensive chemistry will cost Real Madrid not only in the Clasico but in many games throughout the season.

Ancelotti once said “Being lucky is my ability,” so let’s just hope Lewandowski has one of his rare off days in the El Clasico!

Injury to keep Thibaut Courtois sidelined

A matter of grave concern. The Belgian stopper’s recent diagnosis of Sciatica has made his position a dicey one and is almost set to keep him out of El Clasico and this will no doubt cost Real Madrid a great deal of morale.

Topping off Courtois’ injury with the prevailing defensive woes, Real Madrid’s life will become nervy as they approach Xavi’s high-scoring Barcelona along with other challenging fixtures in the Champions League and La Liga.

Backup goalkeeper Andriy Lunin has shown some good form with his national team, Ukraine but is yet to find some consistency at Real Madrid. Perhaps, this is a chance for the Ukrainian prospect to showcase his talent and channelize his exemplary potential to the fullest.

Even if Lunin plays his part, Courtois’ absence is expected to be felt as he was a definite match-winner for Real Madrid this past season with his countless showstoppers and his presence on goal.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti still has a few games before the Clasico and he will surely work his team hard in training to prepare Andriy Lunin while rectifying their recent defensive mistakes.

Lock-down on Vinicius?

It is a matter of no secret that Real Madrid always breaks through the opponent pressing courtesy of a pacey run from Vinicius Junior. Unlike last season, Ancelotti has prepared the likes of Rodrygo and Fede Valverde to support Vini as well as become an effective ball carrier in suffocating situations.

Even if Rodrygo or Valverde have proven themselves to be lethal in the counter, Vinicius is always the main man in these kinds of situations and Barcelona’s mastermind manager knows that perfectly. Despite not having Ronald Araujo in the Clasico who completely imposed a brutal check on the Brazilian superstar’s movement in last season’s 4-0 thrashing of Real Madrid, Xavi will again reimpose the same tactics but this time he will be under an uncertainty.

One of the ways to bypass this ‘lock-down on Vinicius’ is by starting Fede Valverde on the right wing who has immense pace to become another headache for Xavi and his men. To get out of Barcelona’s suffocating midfield press is by using the likes of Kroos or Modric to find Vini or Valverde further up the pitch who will then find any one of the midfield duo to tear apart the Barca defence by their menacing through balls.

I am not a tactician but these are just two ways out of many that Ancelotti can apply to dismantle Barca’s continuous hunger for the ball and come away with the bragging rights.

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