When Real Madrid released their line-up for the Getafe game, everybody expected to see a 4-2-3-1 with Ferland Mendy as the RB (who has the experience of playing for France in the same position) and Marcelo as the left-back.
On paper, it looked like a Modric-Casemiro double pivot to hold the ball, with Asensio operating as a number 10. The most surprising name on the team sheet was that of Marvin Park, who was expected to be an RW, with Vinicius and Benzema forming the front four by playing in their usual positions. But Real Madrid’s manager Zinedine Zidane, who’s known for his surprising decisions at times, had other ideas.
The actual formation
Zinedine Zidane used a 3-4-1-2, with Ferland Mendy playing as an LCB in the back three, while Varane was central and Nacho behaved as an RCB. Marcelo played as a wingback on the left side, with lesser defensive responsibilities. This new role enabled Marcelo to dictate the attack through the left-wing without any signs of hesitation or fear, with few flashes of brilliance giving us some 2016/17 vibes.
Marvin Park played as the RWB, with Luka Modric and Casemiro forming the double pivot as expected. During some sequences, Asensio acted as an RW making the formation look like a 3-4-3, but he was a number 10 for most of the game and took maximum advantage of being played in a free role.
While it was interesting to see the team shaping up differently, the way they operated was even more interesting. Marcelo, Asensio, Modric, Casemiro, and Benzema (who was being his usual self, dropping deeper and linking up as always) often interchanged positions, and it was really difficult to say who was playing in which position. Marcelo operated as an LWB for most of the game, but sometimes he drifted inside to act as a CM. Modric compensated for the absence of Toni Kroos by offering additional control, and he also did well to distribute the ball to the flanks.
Casemiro played his usual game, helping the team in defense and joining the attack to provide an additional option in the box. But yesterday, he drifted to the left during certain sequences, to make up for Marcelo drifting inside. Asensio kept moving around from one flank to another and looked like a calming presence. Mendy’s role was similar to that of an inverted full-back (often used by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester city), and he did join the attack occasionally and scored a goal in one such sequence. Continue reading