Improvements needed going into Leipzig

Image Credit: REUTERS

In my opinion, these are the improvements needed going into Leipzig.

Sloppy Passing

“An intelligent pass is just as important as a flashy dribble”

Marco Verratti

Though we finished the match against Mallorca with a 91% passing accuracy, our passing on the night sometimes lacked conviction. We have to take care of the ball better because the opposition players will be up for it. Their pressing scheme is very effective and they have intelligent players, like Werner and Nkunku, who run into space well.

Marking on set-pieces

Image Credit: Helios de la Rubia

Leipzig will most likely be playing on the counter attack on Wednesday. They’ll stay compact and disciplined and break with speed once they have the opportunity. Therefore, set-pieces will be vital to them and their chances of scoring and winning the match.

Zonal marking is a very effective way of defending set pieces. Your players occupy the danger zones so it should always be covered and the opposition shouldn’t be able to exploit the space. However, there’s one glaring problem with zonal marking; zones don’t score goals, players do. 

We’ve conceded two goals this season through zonal marking. The most recent one being against Mallorca.

Video Credit: La Liga Santander’s YouTube Channel

Here we see the Madrid players occupying zones rather than marking players. Mendy and Kroos were at the back post and neither of them were able to get to the ball which gave Muriqi a free header.

Even on throw ins we get cut open. Real Betis’ goal came from a throw in and Mallorca created a clear cut opportunity from a throw in.

In my opinion, we should go back to basics and man mark as Leipzig are very good at set pieces. They have great crossers of the ball and players who are good aerially. 

Effort to get back on defensive transitions

As previously stated, Leipzig will most likely play on the counter attack. They’re coming into this game on the back of a 3-0 thrashing of Borussia Dortmund. Which means they’re high on confidence and momentum.

They have Dominik Szoboszlai. Give him space, and he’ll undeniably test the keeper’s ability. His ball striking ability is second to none and he showed that against Dortmund.

Our midfielders and wing backs must show desire to track the runners and win the ball back to limit the chances of conceding long range shots or crosses into our box.

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