If Carlo Ancelotti won’t try, he’ll never find out. Instead of giving more credit to the walking zombie of Karim Benzema, giving Alvaro Morata a chance to play as the starting striker might be what Real Madrid need in order to get over some derby humiliation.
Losing 1-0 is never the end of the world, even if is to Atletico, and comes after 14 years of league domination of the encounter. But the way Real Madrid have looked so far this season, excluding the second half against Athletic Bilbao and the second half against Galatasaray proves that either players aren’t responding well to Carlo Ancelotti and his tactics, like he claimed was the problem after their first loss of the season, or he simply doesn’t really know what he’s doing at the moment.
But continuously giving Karim Benzema credit when he can’t score and doesn’t look like someone willing to put in the effort in order to contribute in other ways is becoming a luxury Ancelotti can’t afford. Teams are keeping an eye on Isco, shutting down almost every option of Real Madrid scoring goals from open play, while Cristiano Ronaldo is getting extra attention due to Benzema not warranting too much of it. Even when they do score, everything seems coincidental and even lucky, like their controversial win over Elche.
Morata still hasn’t scored this season, coming off the bench five times. But he seems to be everything Benzema isn’t at the moment; motivated, energetic, and getting the support of the crowd, at least in home matches. A player who has the fans turned against him can react in two ways – let it sink in and drag him down further, or shut them up by scoring goals. Benzema is so far only getting worse and worse by not having any competition for his lineup place and by letting the jeers and boos get to him.
Real Madrid still don’t have their ideal lineup ready to go, as Gareth Bale isn’t completely fit. But even when he is back, using him as a right winger might not be the best of choices. Bale doesn’t excel in the kind of cuts Angel di Maria does so well when playing on the right wing. Bale is more of a straightforward player, using his immense strength and speed to blow by defenders. There are quite a few players with quicker feet and more impressive dribbling skills.
The learning curve of once again building a new team and bringing in so many new players might cost Real Madrid too many points. Being behind five points isn’t a disaster, but the way the La Liga is set up, it just might be the last time Real Madrid can afford to let Barcelona widen the gap between them.
Morata has what it takes to at least deserve a start and prove that he, right now, brings Real Madrid the right blend of speed and strength that Karim Benzema has as well, but for some reason is holding back or is unable to provide. Sticking to the Frenchman for too long, and Ancelotti might be yet another manager who has forfeited the La Liga title before winter even begins.