Let’s analyze how the absence of Vinícius affects Ancelotti’s diamond. Celta-Real Madrid, during the first minutes Vinícius playing as a forward drifting wide, dragging defenders creating spaces for Bellingham.

On the left wing, trying to create superiority, attacking space and overloading the flank, freeing the other side.

With Vinícius, Real Madrid plays most of its attacks on the left, as well as being the main weapon in attacking transitions.

With the Brazilian’s injury, Joselu replaced him and there were several changes in the way Celta defended Real Madrid. Joselu with less mobility so the center-backs no longer have to get out of position and superiority isn’t generated on the left.

We see in this graphic how Real Madrid without Vinícius attacks through the center and the right side, forgetting about the left, pushing Camavinga forward into the free space.

Joselu’s lesser mobility means that fewer players appear between the lines, the attack is more predictable, defending Celta more passive.

We can see it in this play. Joselu drifts to the right and Bellingham tries to attack space. The problem is in the pace of the attack, which is much slower and Joselu isn’t a threat running behind the defense, so the center-backs can play the 2v1 aerial duel against Bellingham.

The only play in which the diamond worked without Vinícius was this one in which Bellingham escaped the press of 3 players with a great pass to Rodrygo who attacked space, making a good movement off the ball Joselu dragging his defender, allowing Rodrygo to run free.

The main strength that Joselu brings to the team compared to Vinícius are headers. Poor crossing by Real Madrid during the game as they aren’t use to play with a target man. The goal came from this set piece, Joselu free, Bellingham at the far post with 2 Celta players but Starfelt jumped on to try to defend the cross, he didn’t and Joselu’s header goes to Bellingham who scores.

We’ll see how Ancelotti evolves the diamond without Vinícius in the next game.

Other Analysis