Misfiring strikers worry Real Madrid ahead of acid test against Manchester City

Karim Benzema Real Madrid 2019-20

Real Madrid have been handed a huge blow, in the form of an injury to Eden Hazard, ahead of a season-defining week with matches against Manchester City and FC Barcelona coming thick and fast. 

Madrid's attack has looked toothless in the last couple of matches and Hazard's absence will only further complicate matters for Zinedine Zidane. Karim Benzema started the season firing on all cylinders but since the turn of the new year, the French forward has found the net only twice across all competitions. 

Whereas, his backup Luka Jovic is yet to find to his feet at his new club and has failed to produce the returns expected from him with just two goals in the entire season. 

After the departure of Cristiano Roanldo, Real Madrid have not been at their usual as far as goal-scoring is concerned and the clamouring for a consistent goal-scorer will only grow louder if Zidane's men fail to eke out positive results in the next two matches. 

The squad has plenty of players who have the creative imagination to unlock sturdy defenses but it lacks a genuine goalscorer. Vinicius Jr. can wreak havoc at the left flank with his pace and skill but the youngster loses composure in front of goal.

His compatriot Rodrygo Goes grabbed headlines with a hat-trick against Galatasaray in the UEFA Champions League group stages but as the season progressed he has fallen down the pecking order. And perhaps the less said, the better about Gareth Bale who has been unavailable for selection for the bulk of the season with a string of injuries. Though he is available for the City game, it is highly unlikely that Zidane will start with the Welshman.

Zidane must find a solution to this conundrum and with time running out, the safest bet would be to return to a tried and tested formula. Madrid have looked far more comfortable in a 4-5-1 or a 4-4-2 rather than Zidane's preferred 4-3-3. 

Against City, a packed midfield with Isco Alarcon in a free role might provide more stability to Madrid and will also ensure that Benzema operates in areas where he can cause maximum damage. Against Levante, the striker was dropping deep to link-up play on too many occassions which left the wingers without any target man to aim at.

Moreover, two workhorses in midfield in Casemiro and Fede Valverde will also help keep a check on the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez.

In what promises to be a blockbuster of a match it remains to be seen whether Real Madrid are able to solve their attacking woes and notch a goal or two before heading to the Ethiad in March. 

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