Zidane should consider replacing Casemiro with Marcos Llorente
Real Madrid’s having its worst start to the season since the departure of José Mourinho in 2012, with Los Blancos already eight points behind FC Barcelona in La Liga and now facing the prospect of not finishing top of their group in UEFA Champions League for the second successive season after the 3-1 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur.
While there's been much talk over the poor goalscoring form of Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, the team isn't doing a great job defensively either.
The Spanish club has conceded 9 goals in 11 league matches, primarily due to the lacklustre performances of their holding midfielder, Casemiro.
The Brazilian was clumsy with his positioning and tackling against Girona and Tottenham.as both of the sides were able to attack Madrid through the middle which doesn't often happen against Zidane's team.
There were some moments in those games when the midfielder was playing in a much more advanced role to the midfield duo of Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.
The only like-for-like change that Zidane can do in the Madrid starting eleven is the inclusion of Marcos Llorente. The 22-year-old midfielder made his return to the Spanish capital after an impressive season on loan at Deportivo Alavés.
Llorente had a better 2016-17 La Liga season than Casemiro!
Real Madrid ended their five-year drought and won the 2016-17 Spanish league while Alaves had an impressive season to too as they finished above established La Liga teams like Valencia and Celta Vigo.
Marcos Llorente took part in 32 La Liga games for the team last season. Statistically, Llorente made 1560 passes, 93 interceptions, and 62 blocks in these matches. The defensive midfielder committed 46 fouls in total but was only booked 5 times by referees. Offensively, the Spanish midfielder assisted his teammates twice.
Llorente proved to be one of the most talented players in the league and impressed with his cool-headed approach to the game. The Alaves midfielder was a part of the 'Team of the Season' picked by many football experts.
Coming to Casemiro's previous campaign, the Brazilian played 25 La Liga matches for Real Madrid last season making 909 passes, 47 interceptions and 43 blocks. The former Porto midfielder committed 55 fouls and was shown yellow cards by referees 10 times. Moreover, Casemiro found back of the net on 4 occasions.
The Brazilian did a commendable job for Real Madrid, but the stats above suggest that he wasn't the best player at his position in last season of the Spanish league.
Struggling for game time at Real Madrid!
Marcos Llorente has only played 300 minutes in this season of club football. He has started two games in La Liga, one in the Copa Del Rey and has yet to make an appearance in the UEFA Champions League. Though he has done a decent job with these limited opportunities, he still doesn't have the trust of his manager, Zinedine Zidane.
There's no doubt that Casemiro was one of the reasons behind Madrid's triumphs last season. Besides doing the dirty defensive work, the midfielder scored some crucial goals for them as well.
Right now, Madrid needs a player who can stay back and help the defenders as the other players advance. There are enough goal scorers in the Madrid squad, and they don't need their holding midfielder to join the attack.
Zidane should consider replacing Casemiro with Llorente for a couple of crucial matches of Real Madrid. The midfielder has proven his capabilities at Alaves and could do an excellent job for Los Blancos too. Moreover, it might give Casemiro a wake-up call that his position isn't permanent in the starting eleven and he has to be consistent with his performances.