Zidane, dead-weight players and VAR

Real Madrid have a big squad full of high profile international players on wonderfully lucrative contracts. These aspects are all features of Zidane's task of man-managing the squad in ensuring all players maintain their appetite and hunger. Three years ago, the French coach could call upon a second unit in games against 'lesser LaLiga rivals' where they would deliver solid performances. Time has moved on and today's reality is different. The first team is now considerably older and lack a certain Cristiano Ronaldo and the current 'second team' features some very average players at present. Isco is out of sorts, Marcelo has seen his best days pass him by, Asensio has yet to find his best after his cruciate problem, Jovic has been a disastrous acquisition and  Odriozola fails to deliver... The French coach is lacking reliability from the bench.

Sin tituloReal Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane reacts during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid and SD Huesca at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas, northeastern Madrid, on October 31, 2020. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Lack of quality

The current Real Madrid first team can still resolve games when circumstances demand but the bench is seriously lacking in quality when trying to cover from first team absentees. Without Casemiro, there is genuine fear to leave out Kroos and give the responsibility to Isco. Marcelo drafted in on Sunday to give Mendy a break in the very same week where the defender is not given a France call-up made little sense. All the while, Asensio still delivers impotent performances happy to look for the uncomplicated short pass and lacking the confidence of the talent before his serious knee problem. All the while, we see Vinicius trying to amend his natural style of playing is a vague attempt to be the player Benzema wants alongside him and the Brazilian thus loses his sparkle.

Sin tituloValencia's players celebrate after scoring a goal during the Spanish League football match between Valencia and Real Madrid at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia on November 8, 2020. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / AFP)

Mestalla defeat

A Valencia side who have struggled this season totally availed of Real Madrid's below par performance with Gayà terrorising Asensio and the end result being an embarrassing 4-1 for the home side. VAR played a major role in the match with this time decisions not going Real Madrid's way. The Marcelo penalty decision seems clear despite the action not being reviewed. The other spot kick calls were looked at again and the battle between Asensio and Cheryshev which saw the Russian international earn the penalty looked a little harsh. What Sunday does go to prove is that this myth that VAR never goes against Real Madrid is certainly not true. Having said that that's not an an excuse nor a justification for the defeat at Mestalla.