After their disappointing outing against cross-town rivals Atletico in the UEFA Super Cup, Real Madrid got the new La Liga season off to a 2-0 win against city rivals, Getafe. An important win as the defending champions got off to an emphatic win against Deportivo Alaves on Saturday evening. While Los Blancos’ win was necessary, there is still a myriad of problems left to address.
Adapting to a new style
Lopetegui has yet to completely impose his style on this team—especially the senior players. The team did however for chunks of the game dominate possession, albeit did very little with the possession they did have. Soria, Getafe’s goalkeeper, had very little to do in the game. The team must adapt as quickly as possible because against tougher and more stubborn opponents, they will struggle. That was evident against Atletico Madrid as well and it ended in disaster.
Will Asensio take his chance?
Asensio is a brilliant player and he’s proven that in his last two seasons with the club. Ronaldo’s sacrosanct-like status in the squad had always hindered the progress of younger players at the club and Asensio was one such player. However, following the Portuguese’s exit from the club, Asensio could benefit from that significantly if he takes the chance. His presence in the team makes Bale better, allowing him more freedom to roam around the pitch and their link-up play has been for the most part impressive. He must take his chance.
Lopetegui should consider deploying Asensio in the false 9 role as he looked impressive in the position during pre-season. Additionally, in the first two official games, Benzema has looked generally uninspired—even though he scored against Atletico in the UEFA Super Cup.
Benzema is frustrating
Benzema was once touted as a player destined for greatness but he’s so far failed to unlock his full potential since joining the club. He’s had up and down seasons during his tenure with the club, never really improving his game. And being in Ronaldo’s shadow without the role of carrying the team, he has been allowed to get away with it for as long as he has without much criticism; but now that Cristiano is no longer there, it is painfully obvious that he hasn’t really risen his game since leaving Lyon. He must rekindle the confidence with which he played while at Lyon. There he was a leader; the Kaiser.
The attack must be strengthened
As mentioned earlier, Benzema has been inconsistent in past his nine seasons with the club. Depending solely on him to provide the team with important goals is an act of futility. Mayoral is ineffective and de Tomas won’t factor into Lopetegui’s plans for the season. Bale will be able to provide the team with important goals but unfortunately, not consistently. He’s proven that on a number of occasions throughout his time at the club.
There is talk about waiting on UEFA’s ruling against PSG—who are being investigated again for allegedly breaking UEFA’s fair play rules—to make an offer for Neymar. However, why wait? The ruling is expected to be handed down towards the end of August, which would leave the club very little time to negotiate for another player if UEFA does indeed find that PSG’s books are in order.
Additionally, why Neymar? Why not M’bappe? The young French man is coming off the back of an impressive World Cup and in the past three seasons has been stand-out. The club has already missed their chance in signing him by not offering him the pay package he requested in the initial negotiations—and in the process also pissed off their resident diva, Ronaldo. Furthermore, he’s young, has room for improvement and doesn’t have an insatiable ego. Not to mention, Lopetegui thrives at empowering young players.
The win against Getafe was crucial to stay abreast with the defending champions. Barça will not simply hand over the title, it must be wrestled away from them and to do so, Los Blancos must address their glaring problems.