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Zidane's 'second string' provide 40% of goals and assists

Those outside of Real Madrid's first-choice eleven, including Morata, Vazquez, Isco, James and Kovacic, have more than pulled their weight when it comes to the team's attack this season.

Lucas, Morata e Isco celebran el 1-0 al Espanyol.
Denis DoyleGetty Images

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Zinedine Zidane continued with his rotation policy in the 2-0 win over Espanyol, making seven changes to the side that beat Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Frenchman is all too aware that the team is entering into a packed period of the calendar with difficult matches coming up in Europe as well as in LaLiga. For instance, Los Blancos’ next two games are testing away trips to Valencia and Villarreal in the space of four days, and the second leg against Napoli is also on the horizon (7 March).

Since the start of the season Zidane has been using all players available to him and his changes have had an increasing effect on results. Regular replacements such as Nacho, Isco and Kovacic have shined when given the chance, Lucas Vázquez has made a name for himself, while Morata has proved himself invaluable with his goals. James, too, has had his fair share of good moments. Perhaps the only ones that have not demonstrated the level required are Danilo and Coentrao.

The likes of Isco have contributed goals and assists in addition to the first XI
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The likes of Isco have contributed goals and assists in addition to the first XI

Strength in depth 

With practically the whole squad plugged in, it is easier to share the load. So it is not surprising that of the 106 goals Real Madrid have scored in 2016/17, 41 of them have come from Zidane’s backups outside of his first-choice side (Navas, Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Bale, Cristiano and Benzema.)

Compared to that eleven, who’ve provided 62 goals and 51 assists between them, Zidane’s second-string have contributed 41 goals and 37 assists (39.9% of the squad’s total goals and 42.1% of assists).

This reserve group includes players such as Morata (11 goals), Asensio (7 goals), Isco (5 goals and six assists), Lucas (9 assists) and James (the team’s second highest provider with 10 assists).


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