Real Madrid’s problems may stem from Zidane’s formation experiment

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

Real Madrid most likely wished for a much better start to the new 2019/20 La Liga season. But as it turns out, Los Blancos have been experimenting far too much and that just might be at the core of their problems.

On the chalkboard

A lot has been said about Real Madrid facing the same old problems they were facing when Zinedine Zidane was in charge of the team for the first time.

Back then, the Frenchman managed to lead his squad to glory but that same squad seems to be struggling right now. Their ventures into the transfer market haven’t been that helpful either as many questions remain unanswered.

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But one rather peculiar statistic might suggest that there’s a different cause to Zidane’s mishaps so far in the new campaign. Marca outlined that Zidane still hasn’t repeated a starting lineup just yet, and that he deployed 17 different players from the start in the three matches the Galacticos played so far.

Another thing to notice here are the formations that were used. Their standard 4-3-3 was only used in the opening game of the campaign against Celta Vigo and then, after that, Zidane opted for 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2 against Real Valladolid and Villarreal respectively. And what was the only win out of the three? The first one.

There just might be a moral in that story for Los Blancos.

Back to basics

The 4-3-3 system is very much Real Madrid’s bread and butter. It was their most-used formation last season and is also Zidane’s favourite as well. Even though this is a rather small sample, it does suggest that the Frenchman is very much still experimenting with his team and is searching for the right formula.

But if there’s anything that he could take away from the first three fixtures, it’s that the original blueprint just might be the one to go with until everyone settles and he gets the team ticking the way he wants them to.

They showed some signs of life in that opening victory against Celta Vigo, and then an abrupt change in formation and personnel suddenly threw them off the tracks again and they ended up drawing the next two games.

It would, however, be too big of a stretch to say that a simple switch back to 4-3-3 would magically solve everything but, for the time being, going with what’s familiar and proven is not such a bad idea for the Galacticos.

It will be interesting to see what kind of a formation he uses once the team gets back from the international break.

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