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The Struggles of Real Madrid
29 October 2018, 18:22
The Struggles of Real Madrid

El Clasico is always a big game, whatever the situation of the two teams involved but on Sunday it had huge ramifications for Julen Lopetegui.

Having left the Spanish World Cup squad to take over at the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer, things could not have gone worse for the Real Madrid manager. It has been a dreadful start to the 2018/19 season and to add to what was already a dire situation, Real Madrid lost 5-1 to Barcelona on the weekend.

You must only go back 8 years to find a worse defeat for Real Madrid against Barcelona but this seems much worse due to their overall form and position in the table.  Having lost the match heavily in the Camp Nou, Real Madrid find themselves down in 9th place in La Liga, which is astonishing considering their status in European football.

This is a club which is defending their Champions League title this season, having won it for a third successive season in May this year.  However, Los Blancos have only won La Liga once in the past seven seasons and did not come close last season, finishing 17 points adrift of Barcelona in third place.

Not winning La Liga has been the norm for Real Madrid fans over the past several years but they have always had a team capable of winning big games and most importantly, the Champions League.

Two of the men involved in the three successive Champions League wins left the club and that’s where the problems began.  Zinedine Zidane led Real Madrid to all three of those Champions League victories and in each campaign, Cristiano Ronaldo finished as the top goal scorer.

Any club in the world would struggle to come to terms with losing two greats of the game together.  The goals of Ronaldo have been a huge miss and Real Madrid went five games without a win prior to the Champions League win over Viktoria Plzen, which was far from convincing.  They have scored 3 goals in their last seven games, a statistic which seems remarkable considering Real Madrid’s recent goal scoring exploits.

Defensively Real Madrid have been just as bad and the 5 goals conceded against Barcelona means they have kept just a single clean sheet in their last seven games across all competitions.

So, is this the managers fault?

Several key Real Madrid players are out of form. Whatever the reason, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Thibaut Courtois, Nacho and Gareth Bale have been below their best this season.  Florentino Pérez is not afraid to sack his manager mid-way through a season and the odds suggest Lopetegui is going to be shown the door this week.  The Spaniard is clearly not getting the best out of his players or his methods are simply not working.

However, there was no plan in place to adequately replace Zidane and Ronaldo in the summer and there appears to be no long term plan in place.  Could we be about to see Real Madrid drop out of the reckoning at the top of La Liga and European football?

Predictions for La Liga

Home team - Away team Forebet
flag_5 Es1
SD HuescaAtlético Madrid
19/01/2019 17:30
2
flag_5 Es1
Celta de VigoValencia CF
19/01/2019 19:45
X
flag_5 Es1
Real BetisGirona FC
20/01/2019 11:00
1
flag_5 Es1
Villarreal CFAthletic Bilbao
20/01/2019 15:15
X

Spain La Liga - predictions, tips, statistics
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. FC Barcelona 43 19 13 4 2 53 20 33
2. Atlético Madrid 38 19 10 8 1 27 13 14
3. Real Madrid 36 20 11 3 6 30 24 6
4. Sevilla FC 33 20 9 6 5 31 22 9
5. Deportivo Alavés 32 20 9 5 6 22 23 -1
6. Getafe CF 31 20 8 7 5 25 16 9
7. Real Betis 26 19 7 5 7 22 23 -1
8. Real Sociedad 25 19 7 4 8 23 22 1
9. Girona FC 24 19 5 9 5 21 23 -2
10. RCD Espanyol 24 19 7 3 9 21 27 -6
11. Valencia CF 23 19 4 11 4 17 17 0
12. Levante UD 23 19 6 5 8 30 35 -5
13. SD Eibar 22 19 5 7 7 21 28 -7
14. Athletic Bilbao 22 19 4 10 5 20 25 -5
15. CD Leganes 22 19 5 7 7 17 21 -4
16. Real Valladolid 22 19 5 7 7 17 21 -4
17. Celta de Vigo 21 19 5 6 8 31 32 -1
18. Rayo Vallecano 19 19 5 4 10 22 34 -12
19. Villarreal CF 17 19 3 8 8 20 25 -5
20. SD Huesca 11 19 2 5 12 17 36 -19

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