Real Madrid’s goalless run has extended to four games. As Lopetegui faces a tough situation, the question arises: What’s wrong at Real Madrid?
An unfamiliar goal-drought has hit Real Madrid this season. When Real Madrid failed to score against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League last week, their goalless run extended to three matches. The last time it happened was in 2005-06. However, when they lost 1-0 to Deportivo Alaves, they witnessed a goal drought which was last experienced a whopping three decades ago.
Things were always going to be difficult for Real Madrid after Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure. However, they didn’t expect the fall to be this bad.
It was almost as if goals went away with Ronaldo. But is that it? Does the bad start to Real Madrid’s season solely rests on the fact that the Portuguese star left the club?
What’s wrong at Real Madrid?
Ronaldo’s absence might be an easy excuse to distance from bigger issues at the club. Julen Lopetegui is, for the moment, facing the brunt of his side’s underwhelming performance. However, it has to be noted that Real Madrid is suffering through a serious injury crisis.
Their two mainstays in the frontline, both of whom were tipped to supply Real Madrid with goals in the absence of Ronaldo, are out with injury. But then, perhaps, given Gareth Bale’s injury record, it might be argued that the hierarchy misplaced their faith. Regardless, Bale is a proven goalscorer when he’s fit, and he’s proved time and again with his impressive performances for the club.
Real Madrid have failed to score in four consecutive games across all competitions for the first time in the 21st century.
Sevilla 3-0 Real
Real 0-0 Atletico
CSKA 1-0 Real
Alavés 1-0 Real
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 6, 2018
Karim Benzema found his goalscoring boots early into the season but has long lost his prolific instincts in front of the goal. It helped little that Benzema was also substituted at half-time during the match against Alaves with an injury.
The problems don’t end for Real Madrid at the offense. The absence of Dani Carvajal and Marcelo in defence has also led to a massive loss in stability in pressure situations at the back. At the same time, Real Madrid has missed the two figures on the wings while on the attack.
Real Madrid’s goalless run:
Real Madrid is playing a brand of football which was seldom used by Zinedine Zidane last season. However, the stats don’t completely out-favor Julen Lopetegui.
Real Madrid only trail Barcelona in terms of chance creation (92) in La Liga. However, their shot conversion rate is a dismal 9.2%, which puts them at 10th in the league. Levante, who are 11th on the points table, have a better conversion rate than Real Madrid, and they only have five lesser shots on target.
📊 | CSKA Moscow are the first team to stop Real Madrid’s 30-game scoring run in the Champions League since Manchester City in 2016. [Squawka] pic.twitter.com/PbOvJt47rB
— Spectating Madrid (@spectatemadrid) October 3, 2018
Real Madrid has performed decently, even in the absence of their star players. In the La Liga, and even in the Champions League, the side has created loads of chances. However, their performance in the final-third is devastating, to say the least.
Lopetegui’s football revolves significantly around the idea of counter-pressing, and Real Madrid has the players with the skill set to efficiently execute the tactics. The problem lies, however, in the sloppiness of their defence. Sergio Ramos has been underwhelming this season so far, and the absence of their two first-choice fullbacks has further deepened the issues for the manager.
Of course, the absence of Ronaldo has been a major blow to Real Madrid. Keylor Navas, the Real Madrid goalkeeper admitted after the defeat against CSKA Moscow that the void of Ronaldo’s absence is too big to fill. The fault also lies in the club’s transfer policy. In the last few years, Real Madrid has overseen the departures of Danilo, James Rodriguez, Alvaro Morata, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mateo Kovacic. On the other hand, there had been a distinct lack of activity for the inbound transfers. The club bought Thibaut Courtois, Alvaro Odriozola, Vinicius Jr. and Mariano, which leaves Lopetegui with lack of options.
With the list of injuries, it is a little too harsh on Julen Lopetegui that speculations over his job have already begun.