Benzema is currently a perfect foil for Ronaldo. Karim doesn’t want to score goals and doesn’t care if he wins the Ballon D’or, which isn’t far from becoming a complete piece of buffoonery, and continues to set up the likes of Bale and Ronaldo for chances on goal.
Regrettably, against PSG, Real Madrid will be without the services of Karim who has been on a purple patch this season, especially in La Liga games,
Now PSG is anything but a mere pushover. Over the past several seasons, the additions of players like:
- Di Maria (former Real Madrid man who formed a devastating pair with Ronaldo)
- Thiago Silva
- David Luiz
- And Marquinhos
has made PSG one of the elite teams in European football.
They can score against anyone, on any given day. Last year, they gave Barcelona a pretty tough time but the brilliance of Messi and Suarez proved to be too much for them to handle.
Consistency, can be considered to be PSG’s main concern. They do give chances to visiting teams to score goals and take hold of the match.
Real Madrid, already without injured Bale, and a less than optimal Ronaldo, will struggle to score goals against PSG without Benzema for the following reasons:
- With Benzema scoring in each of his six appearances for Real Madrid this season, he was on the best goal scoring streak of his life.
Till he went on international duty for France and got himself wounded. Playing against PSG, Karim’s confidence would have been sky high and he would have made the extra effort to squeeze out a goal away from home just to keep his streak alive.
Without Benzema, the likes of Ronaldo and Jese would have a herculean task ahead of them in opening up PSG and creating chances for a strike.
Benzema would also have been a super important forward for Real Madrid against PSG because he has had the french league experience from his days with Lyon early in his career.
Even without that experience, Benzema would have been vital for Real Madrid since he is the only genuine striker in this Real Madrid squad.
Ronaldo and Jese, do have pace and purpose behind their every touch but the one thing where both lack is positioning on the pitch.
Ronaldo is marked too heavily in most games and his mind doesn’t really work like his namesake Ronaldo of the old and hence can’t get space to do magic in every game.
Jese on the other hand is too young and inexperienced to play well on a hard away game.
Benzema on the other hand is so often so fearless with his ability on the ball that playing away or at home, seems to have no adverse affects on his performance no the pitch.
Benitez’s efforts to replace Benzema for games like this is going to be one arduous journey.
- Benzema tends to score in difficult matches.
That is probably his biggest edge over the likes of Jese, James, Isco or even the mighty Ronaldo himself.
Benzema scored against Athletic Bilbao which is counted amongst the most difficult away game for Real Madrid after Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. And Benzema’s dexterity inside the penalty box was duly rewarded with a brace. Real Madrid got the three points, not because of Ronaldo, but because of Karim.
His towering header vs Atletico Madrid also, should have clinched another away win for Real Madrid were not for some awful defending by Arbeloa.
And let’s not forget his winning goal vs a resolute Granada. Benitez can thank Benzema for single handedly winning nine points for Real Madrid at such an early stage in La Liga season.
- It would have been the ideal time to translate domestic prowess to Champions League success for Benzema.
Benzema’s impeccable form in La Liga would have stood him in good stead in the initial stages of the Champions League. All the while, it would have been Real Madrid that would have benefitted the most from Karim’s golden touch this season.
Something also points to Benzema looking forward to a duel with Di Maria even. Benzema’s competitive nature would have all but assured a battle with Di Maria for influence on the pitch.
Both are extremely gifted and both work exceptionally hard to track back and help out the defense. It would have been delightful for the crowd to see Benzema chasing down Di Maria on the wing or vice versa.
Di Maria has asserted that he would not celebrate his goal against Real Madrid but Benitez can rest easy knowing that Di Maria is amongst the most fierce competitors on the pitch.
His work rate is beyond compare and he can whip in some electric crosses for Ibrahimovic and Cavani to take advantage of inside the danger area. And Navas isn’t the best when it comes to collecting air balls.
Without Benzema, Real Madrid would have little presence upfront since all of PSG’s defensive focus will be on Ronaldo.
Normally, with Ronaldo marked heavily, Benzema is able to exploit teams by creating space with his dribbling skills and his ability to pick out the teammates who has the best possibility of scoring.
Tonight, that won’t be the case.
There is little that can be done about the fact that Real Madrid would be without Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema for the PSG clash tonight.
On a hunch, Benitez might go with Kovacic,Kroos,Casemiro,Isco and one between Lucas and Jese to start in the midfield, while leaving Ronaldo alone upfront.
None of the media reports have suggested that Sergio Ramos will play for certain but if he had, I think Benitez would have played him in five man midfield with Nacho and Varane at the back.
That would have at least given Real Madrid some extra cushioning at the back incase of an attack from PSG plus Ramos would have been able to win some crucial aerial battles in the midfield.
If Sergio Ramos doesn’t play at all, which is the likeliest scenario, then Benitez is going to have to go with either Lucas or Jese.
Jese is a tremendous team player but after a long injury lay off, might not have the belief in his ability to go past players on his own, without the help of support runs against a PSG side that is filled with awesome individual talent.
Hope Real Madrid can put up a solid performance tonight.