Julen Lopetegui wants his players to have more freedom on the ball and a more varied approach play. Balancing star players might be tough, but the Spaniard can’t be criticised for not being afraid to put his own stamp on a very successful Real Madrid squad.
Julen Lopetegui has used various contrasting systems such as 4-2-3-1 / 4-3-3 and apart from these, he has in-game tweaks as well. But many key points remain consistent as the Los Blancos try to move away from relying on a single player and focus to get collective goals for the team.
Real Madrid's Defensive Line
Marcelo and Dani Carvajal continue their job as they have been doing for the past few seasons, which is offering width. One thing that hasn't changed under Lopetegui is the fullback's role of stretching the play to the flanks.
Real Madrid's Midfield Balance
Julen Lopetegui kicked off his first La Liga campaign with a risky midfield consisting of Dani Ceballos, Isco, and Toni Kroos. And in his second match against Girona, he started with a double pivot in the midfield consisting of Toni Kroos and Casemiro.
When Real Madrid head forward to attacks, their defence has a lot of work to do. The defence is usually joined by these 2 midfielders usually since Marcelo and Dani Carvajal go upfront to provide width, thus Toni Kroos and Casemiro have a lot of pressure to deal with.
Lopetegui trusts Isco a lot in the squad, and he will include Luka Modric soon in the plans after seeing Luka's World Cup exploit. Regardless, Lopetegui has given Isco his creative freedom to feed the Welshman in the front as well as his Spanish teammate Marco Asensio.
Kroos has been the metronome at the base of midfield. He maintains control when Real Madrid possess the ball. He has a great passing ratio; for instance, he had 98.3 passing against Getafe and dropped slightly vs Girona to 96.3.
Real Madrid's Fluid Attack
Julen Lopetegui has given complete freedom to his front three: Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio, and Gareth Bale. Benzema was seen dropping down to the midfield and helping the link up play, meanwhile Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio could measure the situation and switch flanks.
One could say Karim Benzema was playing the False Nine role, but actually, he wasn't. This is because Julen Lopetegui has given his intelligent front three the license to take their own decisions in terms of movement.
Karim Benzema has so far been the key to Lopetegui's Real Madrid after seeing that he links up with the midfield to create more goal scoring and, as a result, Karim is the joint top scorer of La Liga despite dropping deep to the midfield.Published 04 Sep 2018, 01:18 IST