Real Madrid vs Athletic Club: What Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior and teammates can expect from Marcelino’s men

Real Madrid in Spanish Super Cup final 2021-22 are strong contenders against Athletic Club, and it’s easy to see why. Los Blancos are leading La Liga, they are playing as Champions League contenders, and on the other side are club Bilbao drifting around mid-table in the Spanish top flight looking for a stable performance. But it would not have been an easy task for Carlo Ancelotti’s men if Marcelino had prepared his team and equipped it.

While Marcelino may have made a name for himself at Villarreal, one title has left him out. But he eventually broke through and won his first major silver trophy, taking home the Copa del Rey with Valencia in 2019, beating Lionel Messi and Barcelona.

Since then, that national cup final experience has continued, losing the Copa del Rey final in 2020, losing again in 2021 (somewhat confusingly, those two defeats came in a two-week span). thanks to the complexity of the COVID-19 schedule) before bringing home the Spaniard. Super Cup last season.

With a 2-2 record in finals, Marcelino always keeps his teammates competitive and can be hard to break.

Here’s what Real Madrid needs to prepare:

1) Possession is not important to them

Marcelino is not worried about having the ball. In the last two wins in La Liga, against Osasuna and Real Betis, they lost 43% and 43.9% of the passes respectively but won the points. Similar to the semi-final victory over Atletico. In fact, they only won both the hold and the game twice during the whole season. Keeping the ball away from Real is almost impossible, unless you are Bayern Munich or Manchester City. Real have had more possession in 14 of their last 15 games, and Marcelino will tell his team to prioritize defense over aiming for possession.

2) Counterattack to be their man’s choice

The ruling means that Athletic will mostly be on the bench, and their main attack path will be the counterattack. With fast players like Inaki Williams and his brother Nico, Athletic will aim to get the ball out of the back quickly and up or above the ground down the flanks. Switching from defense to attack is something this team usually does well, and with Real often pushing too many players forward, that’s where they may have their best chance. Maintaining defensive form for Real will be the key. Athletic tries to move the ball into the box with single focus. In fact, 69.6% of their shots came from inside the box, the second-highest total in La Liga, ahead of Real Madrid, who scored just 61.6%.

3) Be careful on the set pieces

Real Madrid will feel confident in defending any part, especially with towering goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. But here’s a backline that’s not as big as it was in the past, swapping the heights of Sergio Ramos (6 foot-0) and especially Raphael Varane (6 foot-3) for Nacho (5 foot-11) and Eder Militao (6-foot-1). All Real needed to do was aim for Athletic’s semi-final victory over Atleti, where they came in from behind and scored from two corners. Real not only needed to be sharp in the early stages of the ball, but also had to avoid Atleti’s mistake of failing to close a second chance. Athletic average 4.1 shots per game for deadball situations (free kicks, corners and throw-ins), the most in La Liga. But, it’s important for Real to realize, it’s not all about getting it into the mixer and hitting the thunder head. Athletic created a lot of shots from innings but only 36.8% of them were headers. There are 11 other teams in Spain that have a higher percentage of head pieces. When it comes to set-pieces, Athletic has the ability to deftly use their feet and beat you that way.

Kick-off is set for 1:30 p.m. ET. You can watch the match live on fuboTV (Try free).

https://www.cbssports.com/soccer/news/real-madrid-vs-athletic-club-what-karim-benzema-vinicius-junior-and-company-can-expect-from-marcelinos-men/ Real Madrid vs Athletic Club: What Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior and teammates can expect from Marcelino’s men

James Brien

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