Despite scoring four goals through the first seven matches of the season, Karim Benzema isn’t have a strong start to the campaign, even though he’s the only premier striker Real Madrid have at the moment, or maybe that is actually the reason for him being so disappointing.
When you break down the numbers into matches, it’s easier to see where the criticism is coming from, as even Carlo Ancelotti has hinted once or twice at Benzema needing motivation to play better.
After scoring a goal in each of the first two league matches, Benzema hasn’t found the net. He did score twice in the Champions League against Galatasaray, but he started scoring when the Turkish champions were completely broken. Against “real” competition, it seems Benzema is struggling to find the net.
His games have been good. I like his work, besides his goals. It is not a problem that the fans whistle him. Sometimes it is good, as it motivates.
Carlo Ancelotti he hopes the troubles will soon be over. As talented as Alvaro Morata might be, it doesn’t look like Ancelotti has too much faith in him, or at least enough to make him his starting striker to make Benzema actually feel some pressure from someone and fear for his position.
If the competition with Gonzalo Higuain brought out the best in Benzema, whether he came off the bench or started in the lineup, it seems that being alone up front, with only Cristiano Ronaldo to partner with, is doing the exact opposite. Benzema keeps getting replaced, but if he knows he’ll start no matter what, it seems like his inner drive and focus aren’t where they should be, hence all the incredible misses.
Against Elche he had a terrible match, although he wasn’t alone in the poor performance. It’s hard to say how Real Madrid will consistently look once Gareth Bale comes in, but for now, the players who most determine the quality of play are Isco and Angel di Maria, and when they’re having a bad day, there’s not a lot you can expect from Real Madrid to do. The occasional piece of Cristiano Ronaldo brilliance, but nothing else.
The interesting thing about Bale and Ronaldo is that they’re both players who don’t need their team to play well at all in order to succeed. They’re talented enough, but more importantly, physically gifted enough, to get things done on their own. Karim Benzema, way past his wonderkid phase, is just another striker who needs a strong squad behind him in order to succeed. Not having the fear of being dropped seems to be making it worse.
The moment it starts costing Real Madrid some points, it’ll be different. At some point, even Carlo Ancelotti will see that this team might do better without the French striker for now.