Real Madrid has not won a single home game this season. Draws with Valencia and Levante, along with a shock defeat to Real Betis has ensured that Real Madrid is now 7 points off Barcelona.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Real Madrid is returning from a superb 2016/2017 season winning the Champion’s League and La Liga. In addition to this, they collected the European Super Cup and the Spanish Super Cup after dominating performances against Manchester United and Barcelona respectively.
However, since the start of the 2017/2018 season, Real Madrid has been struggling in the scoring department. Benzema has been inconsistent (and injured), Bale has been lacking confidence, Ronaldo was banned for the first 4 league games of the season, and Borja Mayoral is … well … Borja Mayoral.
Ronaldo’s return for the game against Real Betis was suppose to quell all fears in the scoring department, but instead Real Madrid failed to score. . . for the first time in over 73 games, according to Yahoo sports. In this game, it seemed like Madrid ran out of ideas. With no incisiveness centrally, Madrid resorted to crosses-hoping for something special from one of their stars.
Real Madrid had similar games last season, when it seemed they were about to drop points, but Zidane was able to introduce quality from his bench in the form of Alvaro Morata. Morata scored 20 goals for Real Madrid last season, many of which were in substitute appearances late in the game. Chelsea subsequently paid in the region of 80 million euros for the services of Morata, but Madrid failed to secure his replacement. Thus, leaving Zidane with limited options up front.
Had Zidane still have the services of Morata, one could easily argue that Madrid would not have dropped this many points so early in the season. In fact, these are exactly the types of games Morata normally flourishes in. Ones in which the opponent defends deep in their own area and Zidane switches the tactics to a barrage of crosses/wing play that allows Morata’s movement and aerial ability to be decisive.
To add to Zidane’s list of worries is Madrid’s growing injury list. Marcelo hobbled off the field in the 72nd minute against Betis, seemingly with a hamstring injury. Theo Hernandez picked up a shoulder knock in the game against Real Sociedad, while Benzema, Mateo Kovacic, and Jesus Vallejo are all dealing with long term muscle injuries.
With all that said, It shouldn’t be all gloom and doom for Madridistas. There is a very long season ahead and Zidane steered this team through a more difficult patch at the start of the 2016/2017 season. During that time, Real Madrid suffered four straight draws against Villarreal, Las Palmas, Eibar, and Dortmund (in the Champion’s League). The rest is history, as Real Madrid was able to recover and win both the Champion’s League and La-Liga.
Zidane will look to correct the team’s issues quickly, with the first order of business being developing tactics to address the hole left by Morata’s exit. This needs to be done before Florentino Perez begins to ask questions.