Comparing Real Madrid’s options at left-back: Eduardo Camavinga, Ferland Mendy and Nacho Fernandez

Real Madrid face three matches in their next four fixtures that could well define their season. Ahead of the international break, Los Blancos must avoid disaster against Liverpool in the Champions League, before facing Barcelona in the league. A home fixture against Elche follows, before another El Clasico in the Copa del Rey.

One of the key questions for Carlo Ancelotti is the left-back position. Ferland Mendy, just back from injury, was the regular starter this season, but has come in for criticism, and his injuries have allowed Nacho Fernandez and Eduardo Camavinga to make their case for the spot.

According to Marca, Mendy still has the defensive numbers in his favour, winning 75% of his battles against dribblers, while only losing 0.27 duels per game. Camavinga’s numbers drop to 42% and 1.49 duels lost, while Nacho tackles 44% of dribblers and loses 0.81 duels per game.

In the air, Camavinga’s numbers outstrip those of Mendy, lying at 1.41 won aerial duels won per game, a 65% success rate compared to 0.51 and 54% for Mendy. Nacho wins 1.75 duels per game, but like Mendy his success rate is just 54%. In terms of interceptions, Nacho records 1.62 per game, compared to 0.95 of Camavinga and 1.10 of Mendy.

The heat maps for Camavinga and Mendy differ greatly. The young midfielder tends to player higher up the field, and more inside, as he presses more aggressively, and plays more as a midfielder. Meanwhile Mendy’s is much wider but also deeper, showing that he tends to be more conservative. Nacho, as a natural central defender, is closer to Mendy in profile, although provides less width.

As Camavinga showed at the weekend, he still has flaws in his defensive positioning, but his physique allows him and Real Madrid to play higher up the pitch. Mendy is probably the most defensive option, but generally the most reliable in terms of shutting down a specific attacker. Nacho is not a particular asset going forward, but does organise the defence and provide leadership to the team.



Tags Eduardo Camavinga Ferland Mendy Real Madrid
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