Real Madrid have endured a poor start to the season in La Liga. Here, Guillem Balague takes a look at the reasons why.
Real Madrid are the talk of La Liga after their dismal start to the campaign. Zinedine Zidane’s side looked in perfect shape when they thrashed Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup in August, but they now sit seven points behind their rivals after just six league games
What’s interesting is that Real Madrid are still creating plenty of scoring chances. According to Opta, they have created 24 clear-cut opportunities so far – more than any other side in La Liga, including Barcelona.
It’s no good creating chances, however, if you can’t finish them off!
The stats show they have missed 23 clear-cut opportunities so far this season – 10 more than any of their rivals and more than twice as many as Barcelona.
They struggled badly during Cristiano Ronaldo’s suspension. Karim Benzema was guilty of missing six big chances in the 2-2 draw with Valencia. Gareth Bale then wasted three in the 1-1 draw with Levante.
Ronaldo’s return to the team was supposed to signal the end of that wastefulness, but Madrid drew a blank against Real Betis and the Portuguese superstar failed to find the net against Alaves, too.
The defeat to Betis ended their incredible run of 73 games without failing to score, and this is now the first season since 1995/96 in which Madrid have failed to win any of their first three home games.
Their struggles at the Bernabeu are alarming when you compare their record to last season, when they won 14 out of 19 La Liga home games and only lost once.
My understanding is that Real Madrid had never trained in that formation, so it was hardly surprising that they looked lost in the closing stages.
The general sense of mismanagement was summed up by a bizarre moment in the second half when confusion on the bench left Real Madrid with 12 players on the pitch before the referee intervened.
All in all, Zidane and Real Madrid have plenty to work on. And with the gap to Barcelona already at seven points, they cannot afford many more slip-ups.