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Matchday: 10 November 2022

Wednesday Edition of The Daily Merengue

The Daily Merengue is a place where you can feel free to discuss all things football. Do not be alarmed by the overt RMCF bias. It’s in the name!

Shoutout to the mods who do a fantastic job, Valyrian Steel, Kung_Fu_Zizou, Juninho, NeRObutBlanco and yours truly, Felipejack

It’s matchday

It’s a very important game for Real Madrid. We need a win in order to reduce the difference to 2 points. It’s last game before the World Cup halt. Benzema and Rudiger are the players out of the squad for this match.

Camavinga called up to France NT

The great news from yesterday is that Deschamps called Camavinga to his World Cup squad. The other ones who were called - Tchouameni and Benzema - were definitely expected to be called. Unfortunately, Mendy wasn’t called, even though Deschamps decided to only call 25 players instead of 26.

Didier Deschamps on calling up Eduardo Camavinga:

Things happen when he’s on the pitch. He doesn’t get everything right, he has a preferred position but having his versatility is an advantage.

Camavinga said:

I was talking to Tchouaméni on the phone. As the moment came I felt more discomfort in my stomach. Benzema congratulated me and I also congratulated him although I knew he was in the squad.

Croacia coach Zlatko Dalić also announced his squad list, confirming Modric in it. Former Real Madrid player Gareth Bale was also called to Wales NT.

The Madridistas called to the WC so far are:

  • Militão, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo (Brazil)
  • Tchouameni, Camavinga and Benzema (France)
  • Modric (Croatia)

Continuing the tactics conversation

More questions and answers from my conversation with Om Arvind (MM managing editor and host of Las Blancas pod) about tactics. Today’s questions are related to Carlo Ancelotti.

Felipe: Moving to Carlo, do you think Vinícius’ improvement last season was due to Carlo’s tactics or was it the player himself?

Om Arvind: In the 20/21 season, we saw how Zidane viewed Vini: he instructed him to stay very wide – towards the left touchline – and Mendy came inside. When Carlo saw that Vini was on form, he allowed him to expand his role, enabling him to take any position on the left side of the field. Therefore, under Carlo, Vini turned into a true inverted winger like younger Ronaldo. While Zidane used Vini in a more Pep Guardiola-esque Leroy Sane role: the function was to stay wide and isolate the fullback while the inside was the other players’ responsibility. Under Carlo, Vini was able to do more things, as the entire left flank became his priority. That’s when we started to see Vini and Mendy clashing: they were running into each other’s places as Vini expanded his role, but Mendy didn’t adjust to that.

Of course, there is also Carlo telling Vini not to take multiple touches in the box and all that. Vini probably saw that Carlo trusted him and benefitted from simple, clear instructions. But Vini also worked with a psychologist on his own. Overcoming pressure and getting out of his own head was his main problem.

Ultimately, Carlo was very good for him, since he saw Vini had turned the corner and let him go with it. So, Carlo deserves credit for that, but most of the credit should always go to the players, as they are the one doing the work.

Felipe: Do you think Carlo playing more in a low block helped Vini, as now he has more space to run in behind the opponent’s last line?

Om Arvind: Anything that puts Vini into more space and more chaotic situations benefits him. However, he’s very good 1v1 – it’s not like he’s ineffective when we push the opposition back. Remember, he has become our number one solution against low blocks. We just give the ball to Vini and have him beat two players to make something happen. But, as he is a good, fast dribbler, he’ll be always more dangerous in more space, even if he is good against low blocks. Even young Messi, who was a genius in tight spaces, was still more dangerous on the counter-attack.

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