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Asllani Tops The Race For The Pichichi

Asllani has been notching goals at an alarming rate & could become one of the most influential players in Primera Iberdrola this season.

Real Madrid Femenino v Deportivo Abanca - Primera Iberdrola Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Kosovare Asllani scored two goals against Eibar to give herself a two-goal cushion at the top of the Pichichi standings. Asllani has netted six in five games for Real Madrid Femenino this season and has already surpassed her total from last season. Her Swedish National Team partner, Sofia Jakobsson, led the team with seven goals in 2019/20 and it looks as though Asllani will surpass that total as well.

Asllani is an experienced player for club and country. She has played for Linkōpings FC, Chicago Red Stars, Kristianslads DFF, Paris Saint Germain, and Manchester City all before coming to Real Madrid, and is a constant in Sweden’s best eleven.

In fact, Asllani did not even technically sign for Real Madrid. She signed for CD Tacón. Tacón gained promotion to Primera Iberdrola on 19 May 2019 and officially merged with Real Madrid CF on 1 July 2019. There was massive speculation on who would be the first Galactica because Tacón were going to need to boost their squad to be able to compete at the level at which Real Madrid expect.

It only took 14 days for Real Madrid to lock up their first star signing and it was Asllani, who shined in the World Cup, leading Sweden to a third-place finish. She ended the tournament with three goals and an assist.

Real Madrid continued to buy players to beef up the Tacón squad, including Jakobsson. But Tacón struggled in their first season despite the signings. They finished in tenth place and their first-ever Galactica only scored five goals and drifted in and out of matches.

Real Madrid Femenino v Deportivo Abanca - Primera Iberdrola Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Asllani has flipped the script this season despite being played out of her preferred position. Typically Asllani is best as a shadow striker or number ten. She is someone who is world class when operating in between the lines and releasing players into space with little flicks and moments of individual brilliance.

Asllani was deployed as an out-and-out striker last season. Coach David Aznar has opted for Jessica Martínez to lead the line so far in 20/21 and, on paper, Asllani has been dropped right behind the striker in a 4-2-3-1. But it has not really played out that way in-game. She still has not been thriving in between the lines as she does for Sweden, but she has adjusted her game and keeps getting into positions to score.

Real Madrid Femenino was given the tremendously difficult task of hosting FC Barcelona for the first match of the season. Real Madrid lost 4-0 and didn’t create much. The one great opportunity they did have was finished off by none other than the first Galactica herself.

The goal was waved off controversially, but it was a sneak peek of what was to come. The next match was away to Valencia. It was the game that no one could watch, but Real Madrid fans everywhere rejoiced as they heard the news of an Asllani goal through the radio waves or through Twitter.

Kenti Robles lofted a cross into the Valencia box and Asllani cut in front of the defender marking her to fire a vicious header into the back of the net. The Swede had scored the first official goal in Real Madrid Femenino history.

Real Madrid drew 1-1, but it was a good ‘first’ for the club and was something to build on going forward. Las Blancas went on to win their next three matches against Rayo Vallecano, Deportivo Abanca and Eibar. Asllani scored five goals in those three matches. She extended her goalscoring tally to 6 and has scored in every match but the first.

Asllani showcased her aerial ability and prowess in the box again against Rayo. She notched Las Blancas’ second goal of the match by drifting between the two center backs and clinically heading the ball home.

Against Deportivo Abanca, Asllani displayed her ability to make dangerous runs. In the 27th minute, she made a well-timed run in the middle of two defenders to get on the end of Marta Cardona’s defense-splitting pass. Asllani slid, extending herself as far as she could to poke the ball into the goal.

But she wasn’t finished.

Asllani added her second and Real Madrid’s third of the match in the 85th minute. It was her run, again, that opened up the Depor defense. Chioma Ubogagu answered Asllani’s call and fed the Swede in space. Asllani was one vs. one with the keeper but wasn’t clinical. Luckily, the ball fell to her again and she calmly dispatched the shot.

Asllani has been great from the penalty spot as well. Against Eibar, Madrid were awarded two penalties from handballs in the box. She shot low and to the keeper’s right on the first attempt and low and to the keeper’s left on the second. The penalties were perfectly placed and virtually un-saveable.

Asllani seems to be finally adapting to life at Real Madrid and coming up big time and time again. Real Madrid Femenino currently sit in fifth with a game in hand. On Wednesday, they will take on UD Granadilla Tenerife Sur, who has started the season well. They have won four of their six matches and sit in second place.

This will be a huge litmus test for Real Madrid and Asllani. Las Blancas have found a way to get goals from the wings but have struggled to create centrally. Real Madrid will need Asllani to be clinical with her chances. She has struggled with this despite her goal tally, as she has often shot the ball right at the keeper in 1v1 situations. Her goalscoring record should give her the confidence to put these chances away and the team will rely on her as matches get more difficult and more important.

We are yet to see Asllani at her best. She has more to offer to the team. Aznar and Asllani need to work together to find a way to get her involved in midfield. If they can accomplish that with Asllani already scoring at an absurd rate, the Swede could become one of the most unplayable attackers in Primera Iberdrola.

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Posted by Managing Madrid on Tuesday, November 10, 2020

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