Real Madrid prepared for their midweek clash against Paris Saint-Germain with a convincing performance against Real Sociedad on Saturday night, however Karim Benzema was one of the only ones who failed to impress.
He missed several good chances and even provoked some whistles from the crowd, yet Zinedine Zidane continues to trust in his compatriot.
There are reasons to believe that the No.9 will turn it on against PSG on Wednesday, while there is also a case to be made for benching him.
Reasons to bench Benzema
His mistakes in front of goal
Against Real Sociedad he had three clear scoring chances, but none of them ended up in the back of the net.
Not for the first time, Benzema fluffed his lines in front of goal.
He has gone seven rounds of league action without scoring, while he has just one goal from his past 10 outings.
The fanbase become angry with him quickly
Saturday night’s match was a cause for celebration, with Los Blancos playing some impressive football, but Benzema was so disappointing that he turned the applause into whistles.
The crowd at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu have clearly run out of patience with him and this negative atmosphere could affect other players too against PSG.
Another midfielder could take his place
Looking at Benzema’s situation from a tactical point of view, Zidane may opt to play four midfielders against PSG in order to try to win the battle in the centre of the pitch.
Benzema could, then, be dropped to allow Isco, Marco Asensio or Lucas Vazquez the chance to impress.
Reasons to start Benzema
His record in Europe
Real Madrid love the Champions League and so does Benzema.
He has an excellent goals-to-games ratio in the continental competition, with 53 goals in 98 appearances.
That is the sixth best record in history.
He is Cristiano Ronaldo’s best sidekick
If Ronaldo had to say which player he most prefers to play with then he’d probably pick Benzema, given that the Frenchman works hard and allows the No.7 to focus on scoring.
Benzema pulls defenders in his direction, opening up space for the team’s top scorer.
A moment of brilliance is always around the corner
Benzema was the subject of criticism last year too, but he pulled off one of the best and most important moments of Los Blancos’ Champions League campaign, creating the decisive away goal in the semi-final second leg away at Atletico Madrid.