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Why Zidane should consider ending rotation policy

Real Madrid's draws dilemma: Zidane must drop stubborn rotation policy

October 5, 2016 By Oscar Rojas
Will the French manager change his policy in order to guarantee wins for Los Blancos as soon as possible? Here's what we believe he needs to do.

The start of the 2016-2017 season for Real Madrid has been met with mixed reviews. While Zinedine Zidane's men are yet to lose their first game this season, the team is not playing the best of football, raising questions about whether Zizou's success last season was just a matter of luck. 

A rather strange transfer policy and a very questionable method of rotating players has taken a toll on the team, which has lacked consistency throughout the season. Furthermore, Zidane's calls haven't been as spot on as you would expect from a Real Madrid boss.

Decisions such as sending Kiko Casilla to the bench in order to have the not-so fit Keylor Navas have been reflected on the score sheets recently. The isolation of midfielders James Rodriguez and Isco has baffled both domestic and international press, considering that both players have answered with quality outings when required.

Let's go a bit deeper into the elements that have raised doubts about Zidane's coaching capabilities with Real Madrid.

Zidane's rotation policy

When Zidane took over as Real Madrid's tactician in January, the team managed to achieve consistency by repeating the same starting lineup over and over. While some players were left out, like James Rodriguez, this approach was successful, since Los Blancos managed to win the UEFA Champions League with hardly any changes to their lineup.

Nevertheless, "Zizou" chose not to follow the same pattern, and it surely has backfired. According to the French boss, the goal is to prevent his players from burning out during crunch time, but out of their four game drawing streak, the team hasn't been able to hold on to their lead in three of those games. So, what's the point of resting players if they're not fully focused until the final minute?

Cristiano Ronaldo has left the pitch three times this season, with a record of 1 win and two draws during those games.

Is CR7 still Real Madrid's top gun?

The Portuguese ace doesn't seem to be in the best shape of his career after the injury that forced him out of the UEFA Euro final. Cristiano Ronaldo has scored three goals since his return to the lineup, but his performances against Las Palmas and Eibar have fans around the world wondering: Is Cristiano Ronaldo's time with Real Madrid coming to a close? Should he step down and take a secondary role behind Gareth Bale?

Here are a couple of stats to support that thought.

"Cristiano Ronaldo has scored only one goal in his first 4 games. It's his lowest tally in four games since the 2010-11 season."

Casemiro & Modric: Can Los Blancos survive without them?

Zidane spoke about the relevance of Casemiro hours after the team's most recent draw against Eibar, stating that he has two players available for every position, with the only exception of the holding midfielder's spot: "Casemiro is irreplaceable," the French boss stated. When you look at Real Madrid's numbers with and without the Brazilian, you can understand why Zidane feels that way.

Spanish TV show "El Chiringuito" showed the team's numbers with Casemiro on the pitch: 19 wins out of 21 matches speak for themselves.

But when the South American is not available, Zidane's crew suffers a bit more, dropping at least eleven points without the midfielder.

If Real Madrid wants to end their current slump, Zidane must find a suitable replacement in a team that dismissed the thought of hiring another holding midfielder. To make matters worse, the man who "could" replace him is out due to injury.

Croatian midfielder Luka Modric has been injury-prone throughout his career with Real Madrid, and his absence has taken a toll on the team recently. Modric has missed three games so far this season, with the team winning one (3-0 vs Real Sociedad) and drawing against Villarreal and Eibar. Now, with both players out for at least a month due to injuries, things don't seem to be too promising.

James Rodriguez's never-ending saga

Whether it's because he feels overlooked by Zidane, or if he doesn't show the leadership he displays with Colombia, James Rodriguez is always among the topics to discuss for Spanish media. The South American ace has played consistent football when Zidane wants him to play, but he hasn't earned his full trust due to some incidents away from the pitch. Added to what some say are "disciplinary problems", Rodriguez's chances of earning a starting spot in the lineup seem to be slim, even if he delivers when given the chance to shine.

Rodriguez's stats with Los Blancos show that, maybe this time, Zidane should reconsider his stance when it comes to the South American player. Have a look at the team's numbers when the Colombian is on and off the pitch.

Rodriguez will most likely miss the upcoming matches for Real Madrid after coming down with a groin injury, but the real test will come when he's fit, as Zidane can't afford losing more ground in La Liga's title race. Things can always change on and off the pitch, but will Zidane and his staff go back to the basics of the game and save a season that hasn't started as most fans and experts hoped for? Only time will tell.

 

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