4 reasons why Marco Asensio is struggling this season
Having been on the sidelines at Real Madrid over the last two seasons, this was the campaign where Marco Asensio was expected to truly break out, fulfilling his tremendous potential and cementing his status as one of the best players in the world.
However, that has proved not to be the case, as the 23-year-old has struggled horribly for form and has failed to impose himself on matches in the manner expected of him.
Asensio had a truly remarkable breakout year in the 2016/17 season, scoring on his five Real Madrid debuts - in the UEFA Super Cup, La Liga, Champions League, Copa Del Rey as well as Spanish Super Cup and it was expected that he would be among the biggest beneficiaries of Cristiano Ronaldo's departure from Real Madrid.
Things have however panned out differently, as the Spanish international now finds himself on the fringes having lost his starting place under Santiago Solari, completing the full 90 minutes just once under the former Real youth team manager, while he has started in just seven of his 18 games in charge so far.
All round, Asensio's numbers have also dropped alarmingly, his chance conversion rate is down to 14% this season, compared to 40% last term and a whopping 65% in his aforementioned breakout campaign, while he is also shooting less frequently and looks short on confidence.
So far this season, Marco Asensio has scored just five goals and registered three assists from 30 matches in all competitions (with just one goal and two assists coming from 19 league matches), which are rather poor figures considering how much was expected of him.
Having been knocked out of the Copa Del Rey and sitting nine points behind Barcelona on the LaLiga standings, it is looking highly likely that the season would end without domestic silverware for Los Blancos, while they do not have the talismanic Ronaldo to turn to for continental success.
In this piece, we shall be taking a look at four factors which have contributed to Marco Asensio's disappointing performances this season.
#4 His deployment on the left wing
The last decade has seen the tactical rise of inverted wingers, wherein players are deployed on wings opposite their dominant foot i.e, left-footed players operate on the right wing and vice versa.
This is to enable them to cut inside on their stronger foot to shoot at goal and this goes against the century-old pattern of wingers being deployed on the wings just for their crossing abilities.
Marco Asensio is a technically gifted footballer, blessed with a rocket of a left foot and this much has been evident over the years, as he has scored a number of long-range screamers with his goals against Barcelona and Sevilla in the UEFA and Spanish Super Cups coming to mind.
Hence, his best position is out on the right wing where he can cut inside and put his left foot to devastating use. However, the presence of Gareth Bale and Lucas Vazquez pretty much limits his chances of playing out right and has seen him stuck on the left of Real's attacks as a result.
As Asensio himself stated in an interview with Marca, he feels more comfortable on the right flank or in the middle. ''I can be more decisive in the middle or on the right flank, if I play more on the right or middle, I have more chances to be decisive and get more involved.''
It looks highly unlikely that his wish would be granted anytime soon, as Asensio has been played out of his preferred position for the entirety of this season and for as long as this continues, we are unlikely to get to see the best of him.