Real Madrid only managed to score a 0-0 draw on their season opener against Real Sociedad last night. While Zinedine Zidane’s starting lineup was encouraging and full of playmakers and young talent, Los Blancos never managed to create many dangerous scoring chances. Here are three takeaways for the game.
- It’s early and Real Madrid missed key pieces on offense, but they have work to do. Sure, the absence of both Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard hurt the team’s offensive production and it’s easy to think that Madrid will just attack much better when those two are on the field alongside Benzema. Still, one has to think that a lineup featuring Kroos, Modric, Odegaard, Vinicius, Rodrygo and Benzema simply has the tools to at least create plenty of chances, right? It’s a broken record at this point, but Madrid will quite clearly need to improve on offense if they want to compete for trophies this season. A solid defensive system like last year won’t be enough.
- It’s now safe to say that Rodrygo is not comfortable on the right. That’s a huge problem for Madrid considering that he will have a hard time finding minutes on the left with Hazard and Vinicius ahead of him in the rotation. It’s obvious that Rodrygo is not a pure winger for the right flank, no matter how many games he’s played there. It’d be interesting to see him alongside Benzema as a second striker with four midfielders behind. That won’t be possible when Hazard is back because the Belgian is an undisputed starter when healthy, so why not try it now?
- Odegaard and Modric need time to adjust if they are going to play together often. I didn’t expect Zidane to use Odegaard as an attacking midfielder behind the striker and while I think it’s obviously a good position for him, he would be way more comfortable with Valverde and not Modric as a central midfielder. You could tell that both Odegaard and Modric tried to receive in the same spots last night. It’s normal, as Madrid just hadn’t had a single preseason game to try this lineup. It will get better with time, but Odegaard and Modric together might not be a great fit.