Zidane’s wide-man problem: The Real Madrid coach has to figure out how to pick and choose from: Bale, Lucas Vázquez, Brahim, Vinicius, Rodrygo, Hazard, and Asensio as LaLiga restarts after the Covid-19 stoppage.
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane faces what other coaches would call a nice question, a total of seven players working wide to choose from: Bale (30), Lucas Vázquez (28), Brahim (20), Vinicius (19), Hazard (29) and Asensio (24).
With the final two recovered from injury, Zidane will go into LaLiga’s restart after the coronavirus shutdown with seven players attacking down the flanks.
The question is: who is playing? He will have five extra when Zidane goes 4-3-3 and when he settles on a 4-4-2 only one will actually make it into the starting line.
The truth is that Eden Hazard is likely to be Zidane’s number-one choice, meaning six in the queue behind him.
Zidane tried them all, with the exception of Brahim, who played only in the Copa del Rey, in the trip to Salamanca, and against Real Sociedad in the Bernabéu.
The case of Vinicius is a curious one: he struggled to win the confidence of the coach, but in his final games before Covid-19 swept across the world the Brazilian was beginning to show exactly what he was capable of.
In the Clásico he was Real Madrid’s best player and opened the way for Zidane’s men’s win, putting him in a solid position to fight for a place in the team. That said, it will be on the right-hand side, where he struggles to show off his full range of skills.
Bale: things not looking promising
Bale’s situation is not nearly as rosy. Zizou decided to give him another chance at the start of the season but then left him out for the big nights against City (he played the final minutes) and Barcelona (Zidane went for Mariano at the end of the game as opposed to Bale).
“It seems Zidane’s mind is made up this time.
Rodrygo’s position is not entirely clear, apart from the fact that along with Asensio, he isn’t necessarily used out wide. He played in Istanbul, when Madrid had everything on the line in the Champions League, and repeated against the Turkish side at the Bernabéu, popping home a hat-trick. But since then his performances have dropped off and he was playing more in reserve side Castilla than the first team prior to the coronavirus.
Asensio: ready to make the most of the chance
Asensio appears to have benefited most from the way things have turned out. His contributions down the right can be spectacular, and Zidane could go for the front three he dreamt about in the summer before Asensio’s misfortune.
Asensio-Benzema-Hazard. Of course, that will depend on how Asensio plays when competitive football starts back up in June.
“He knows he’ll get a chance because Zidane appreciates both his talent and his unflinching commitment to the cause.