A Tactical Review of Dinamo Zagreb V.s. Real Madrid: Coentrão Earns Redemption

Coentrão played great against Zagreb.

What a strange sport soccer is! Last Saturday, we saw Fábio Coentrão play horribly in Real Madrid's match against Getafe. He messed up the whole scheme by going on the attack, which is why Getafe was so dangerous. Three days later, the Portuguese player was one of Real Madrid's best players on the pitch against Dinamo Zagreb.

Other than Coentrao--and maybe Angel Di Maria--the team had a sloppy game, while they tried to avoid Dinamo's dirty tackles. I think it is likely that we'll see some changes for Sunday's fixture against Levante. We play against Racing Santader next Wednesday and our starters are not in a very good shape.

José Mourinho and Fábio Coentrão showed that the left fullback can also play the midfield. While he was absolutely disorganized against Getafe, the team was better structured against Zagreb, and not because the Portuguese player had a better understanding of when the team needed him offensively and when they did not. He helped Marcelo when the Brazilian went to the attack, and when our starting left fullback saw the red card, Fábio played in his natural position until Álvaro Arbeloa entered the game for Karim Benzema. I am pretty sure that Mourinho will play the Portuguese in the next Champions League game instead of the sanctioned Marcelo. This kind of player is very important to a team; if Di Maria gets injured, Coentrão can play his position, and the same goes for Cristiano Ronaldo.

 

I am not sure what role Coentrão is going to have now that Sami Khedira and Lassanna Diarra are ready, since I think the German is absolutely key to Mourinho's plans. Will Fabio play more than Callejón when Di Maria needs rest? His versatility is going to assure him a lot of minutes this season either as a fullback, midfielder or wing-man.

However, I am a little bit worried about Özil. We all know he is a genius, but he is not playing at his peak level at the start of this season. I'm looking forward to seeing Khedira back on the starting team because I think Coentrão's offensive hyperactivity leaves Özil without the space he requires to be at his best. I am guessing Sami will play against Levante--he was ready yesterday, but Mourinho preferred not to risk him. Maybe Callejón will get some minutes against them as well. I don't know whether Cristiano will be ready or not; he got three stitches in his ankle, after all.

Mourinho desperately needs to recover Higuaín. He has played horribly the last few games, and Benzema has definitely taken his spot. I know Pipita scored against Getafe, but his minutes yesterday were absolutely terrible. He is slow--the old Higuaín was as fast as lightning--and the worst thing is that he's trying too hard to score. He needs minutes, but I think playing him instead of Benzema right now risks the win. The home game against Ajax Amsterdam should be a perfect opportunity to see Pipa develop, because he does not even deserve the chance to play right now.

We all know what he is capable of when he's in shape, but his back surgery has affected him a lot. When he got injured, Mourinho said he did not expect to see Higuaín playing at full power for a year, which would place him back in December. We all thought that he was exaggerating, but time has proven him right.

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