There are some Real Madrid players who deserve more playing time under Carlo Ancelotti, one of whom is Luka Jovic. In today's article, I'll explain why Carlo Ancelotti should consider playing Jovic and Karim Benzema together, as well as weigh the benefits and drawbacks of such a pairing.
'Real Madrid have had a poor run of form in their last three games, drawing with Villarreal and losing to Sheriff in the UEFA Champions League and RCD Espanyol in La Liga. Real Madrid has only scored three goals while conceding four in their last three games.
Carlo Ancelotti has been blamed for the frequent changes in the starting eleven and formations each game. While this slump in form will not last forever, a club of Los Blancos' stature must recover quickly, and Ancelotti is well aware of this.
Real Madrid looked slightly better when Luka Jovic came on against Sheriff and Espanyol, primarily because Karim Benzema had more freedom to operate while the opposition defense was busy marking Jovic. We got close to scoring the equaliser against Sheriff and even scored the only goal against Espanyol after Jovic’s introduction.
MORE OPTIONS FOR BENZEMA AND MORE CHANCES FOR JOVIC
Last season, we saw Luka Jovic and Karim Benzema start twice together under Zinedine Zidane. The first time they played together was against Real Betis in La Liga, but it was clear that both strikers lacked chemistry and the combination simply did not work. In the following game, Zidane chose a Benzema-Jovic partnership, which was thrilling to watch.
This season, we've seen the two play together late in games when Ancelotti brings in Jovic. The introduction of the Serbian immediately gives Karim Benzema more freedom to operate, making him far more lethal because he is more than just a goal-scorer.
Consider Benzema's goal against Espanyol, which was ruled offside. Luka Jovic came on and kept the backline busy before Benzema dropped deep and started a one-two pass sequence before Jovic laid off the ball and Benzema rounded the keeper to roll it into an empty net. It was unfortunate that it was offside, but we saw how Benzema gains more space to play with Luka upfront.
For example, when Jovic was introduced against Valencia, Benzema looked more lethal and eventually scored the winner with a towering header due to the space created in the box while the defenders were busy marking the Serbian.
It's no secret that Karim Benzema is in top form right now, and he has the potential to increase his goal-scoring totals if he plays alongside Luka Jovic more frequently this season. Similarly, Benzema's playmaking abilities are unrivaled, and a few of his slick passes could end up being golden opportunities for Luka Jovic to get in on the act.
INADEQUATE DEFENSIVE COVERAGE AND REGULAR FORMATION CHANGES
This season, Carlo Ancelotti has already been chastised for his frequent formation and starting eleven changes. Because they are assigned different responsibilities in each game, it appears that the players are not fully aware of their roles.
If Ancelotti decides to start Luka Jovic and Karim Benzema, he will have to revert to a 4-4-2 formation.
If he opts for a 4-4-2 formation, selecting a midfielder becomes a difficult task due to the abundance of options. While Vinicius and Rodrygo will play on the right wing, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Federico Valverde, and Eduardo Camavinga will compete for the double pivot position.
A lack of defensive cover would be another issue. While Karim Benzema is an aggressive ball presser, Luka Jovic is the polar opposite.
The Serbian does not press aggressively, instead waiting for opportunities to press and converse his energy levels. The 23-year-old does not trackback well, leaving a lot of space for the midfielders to cover.
To compensate for Jovic's lack of pressing, the wingers would have to put in an extra shift, which could limit their ability and energy levels in the final third.
BECAUSE OF BENZEMA, LUKA JOVIC COULD BE COMPLETELY ISOLATED.
If Carlo Ancelotti does start Jovic and Benzema together, there is a chance that Jovic will be completely isolated in the box and marked by several defenders, effectively eliminating his lethal presence.
If you ask me why, I'll tell you. When Karim Benzema has a bit of extra freedom (for example, when he plays with Hazard or Jovic who engage defenders), he likes to drift wide, droop deep, and tend to go a bit overboard with his involvement in the play, which eliminates possible options into the box for a well-positioned player.
We've seen this a lot, as Vinicius or Jovic may be waiting in the box for a cross, but Benzema is far out wide on the wing with the ball, and eventually, the defenders cover up the space, leaving no room for an attack.
As I mentioned earlier, the few minutes that Karim Benzema and Luka Jovic have played together this season have been encouraging. Carlo Ancelotti should keep bringing on Jovic in the second half and pairing him with Benzema for a more attacking approach.
In fact, the Italian may consider starting the two together in La Liga in October, against Osasuna or Eibar.
However, given the drawbacks I've mentioned, this is highly unlikely to be a long-term solution. Ancelotti would most likely consider playing the two together on occasion rather than switching to a 4-4-2 formation to accommodate both strikers.
Another reason Ancelotti may not frequently use Jovic and Benzema together is that the Italian has previously stated that he wants to use Jovic when Benzema requires rest.
Carlo Ancelotti has Luka Jovic on his team and likes him, but he sees him as a backup to Benzema rather than a partner.
Having said that, I believe Ancelotti could experiment with pairing the two at some point, but it would not be permanent or frequent.
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