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With no Benzema, Zidane has no attack


The savings to pay for the cranes at the Bernabéu have weakened Real Madrid’s squad so much that Benzema has ended up being the only real danger up front for them. When he’s not there, the dizzying football produced by Modric, Casemiro and Kroos ends up being sterile. Yesterday in their Liga match against Real Sociedad, Zidane changed all three forwards in one fell swoop, just like the other day. This time the unlucky trio were Asensio, Mariano and Isco, who it’s true had done little. On came Rodrygo, Hugo Duro and Vinicius who was the only one to provide any true threat, within the context of a situation that saw Real Madrid desperately attacking and Real Sociedad sitting too far back. His efforts were rewarded with a goal, the one that levelled the match.

Real Madrid five points behind Atlético Madrid

Not much of a result for Real Madrid, leaving them as it does level with Barcelona but five points off Atlético Madrid, who have a game in hand. The Madrid derby is on Sunday. That could be decisive or not, but no matter what happens, Atlético will still be leaders at the end of the game and with a game in hand. Benzema will be back, but the feelings of an Atleti on the way down and Real Madrid on the way up have suddenly switched. Even if the French striker is back, and even if he comes back on form, I doubt he’ll have anyone decent alongside him in attack. Zidane’s faith in Vinicius is ruining him, as is playing alongside Benzema. Asensio hasn’t notched yet and we’re in March. Rodrygo goes from injury to injury. Isco’s there one match, gone the next. Madrid are remarkably blunt up front.

Casemiro, Madrid's second highest scorer

Hence why they couldn’t beat Real Sociedad. They dominated the first half, but caused little danger. In the second half Zidane started with three central defenders, who knows why, and the visitors had a lengthy spell in charge which culminated in their goal - a difficult header from Portu. Isak then missed a clear chance. After that, Imanol got nervous and gave up the ball and the pitch to Madrid. Playing downhill Madrid got the equaliser at the death through Vinicius. Until then all hopes of a goal had rested on Casemiro, as so often. He’s the second highest scorer after Benzema. The defensive midfielder as second striker - how bizarre. But it’s all there is.