How Ferland Mendy’s timely return will strengthen Real Madrid’s leaky defence

(Football news) On Tuesday, Real Madrid won 5-0 away at Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League. Scoring 5 goals is a good achievement for any team but what was more important for Carlo Ancelotti's men was that they didn't concede any. Before the game Real Madrid this season had conceded 11 goals in 10 games this season keeping only 3 clean sheets which was majorly because of the brilliance of Thibaut Courtois.

Real Madrid have had a very leaky defence this season. One of the reasons might be the absence of first choice right back Dani Carvajal which leads to Nacho or Lucas Vazquez playing out of position. Ancelotti's tactics of attacking and Real Madrid not pressing well enough are also partly to be blamed for it.

Another reason and the big one was the absence of Ferland Mendy. Both Mendy and Marcelo have missed the start of the season. Ancelotti has tried using Miguel Gutierrez, David Alaba, Nacho and Eduardo Camavinga at left back. None managed to bring the balance that a natural left back like Marcelo or Mendy would. 

After arriving in 2019, Mendy made his place in the team under Zinedine Zidane. The Frenchman became first choice left back ahead of Los Blancos legend Marcelo. His pace and defensive instinct was so important for the 2019/20 Real Madrid team that won the league. Although his attacking was always inferior to Marcelo or even Miguel Gutierrez for that matter, his contribution in defence was second to none.

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Mendy suffered an injury in April 2021 which kept him out for a couple of weeks. According to reports the full back was rushed back to play the UCL semi final against Chelsea which worsened his injury. He was ruled out for the entire season and was set to be ready to play from the beginning of the 2021/22 season, but another relapse meant that he had to wait a little longer. The French full back played 69 minutes against Shakhtar Donetsk. He created a chance and had a passing accuracy of 94%. 

Having Mendy play on the left gives Vinicius the freedom of staying up top and getting in behind the defence to use his pace. Mendy also provides adequate cover for David Alaba who plays at left center back. Alaba likes to venture forward by carrying the ball into the opposition half to try and whip a cross or create a chance. Mendy's return has come at the perfect time just after the international break and right before the El Clasico.


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