Real Madrid have to start Ferland Mendy on the weekend against Levante

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 will be hosting Levante this Saturday and Zinedine Zidane will be looking to bag his second win of the new 2019/20 La Liga season. But if he wants that to happen, he should definitely give Ferland Mendy another go at left-back.

On the chalkboard

The start of the new campaign was somewhat underwhelming for the big boys from the Spanish capital. Taking into account how their pre-season went, however, this was mostly expected and the only way Zidane could take his squad was up.

And while they certainly showed some life in those three initial games, especially in the comfortable win against Celta Vigo on the opening day, some things were simply not good enough.

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Their defensive woes continued as they conceded four goals in three games, which is not an awful record but it did cost them four points. And keeping that in mind for this weekend’s game, there is one tactical switch that Zidane should make in order to improve his chances of a better result.

One for the future

Mendy has so far only featured in one game for Los Blancos and that was in their 2-2 draw against Villarreal before the international break kicked off. By all standards, that was a brilliant maiden display from the 24-year-old French defender who was one of the standout performers on the day.

Naturally, with just one game under his belt for the Galacticos so far, it’s rather difficult to judge him and we can’t say for sure he’s going to continue the trend in the future. But Zidane has to show some faith and reward him with another start because he certainly earned it last time out.

It’s a win-win scenario: Mendy gets his motivation and his reward and Zidane gets to learn more about a defender who could potentially help him iron out the team’s defensive issues. That day, the 24-year-old registered four tackles and four interceptions and was a general improvement on the experienced Marcelo who, despite his obvious qualities, is not much of a defender.

Last season, the Brazilian averaged only 1.5 tackles and 0.7 interceptions per game in La Liga. By Real Madrid’s standards, that is simply not enough. And while Mendy also averaged 1.5 tackles in Ligue one, he had a better record in interceptions, clearances and overall defensive rating.

Maybe the path to defensive solidity for Zidane lies in replacing his tried and trusted left-back with one for the future.

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