Barely three month ago, Real Madrid basked in the euphoria of their glory as they were crowned both La liga champions and European champions.
It was a record breaking season for the club as they won La Liga after five years and won the champions league in succession becoming the only club to have done so since the competition’s present set up. The news of their dominance in Europe was announced.
This season they have won the UEFA Super cup, and the Spanish Super cup, they have got the football world talking with the way they dispatched the mighty Barcelona in both legs of the Spanish super cup. Punters tag them favorites to lift La liga and Champions league and rightly so, who wouldn’t? Dispatching Europe’s biggest sides with aplomb over the course of the past 18 months.
But is it all safe to make these predictions, will this dominance last long enough for the club and the football fans to remember? There are facts we need to quickly look at and then take a stand amidst these so called dominance.
Real Madrid at present boasts of a lot of young players with incredible talent such as Rapheal Varane, Isco, Nacho, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vasquez, Mateo Kovacic, Dani Carvajal, Theo Hernandez and so much more.
Their arch-rival Barcelona, is very unsettled amidst various power and leadership tussle, coupled with the demand of the Catalans to separate from the rest of Spain, let’s come back to football.
Barca dominated Europe by possessing unarguably the strongest midfield trio of that era before age set in. With that, came the transition to an ultra attacking and full flair frontline. Again, albeit unpredictably, Neymar left, and they are gradually loosing grip on dominance both in the domestic league and in Europe or so we think. Prompting many to believe that Real Madrid are set for dominance. But looking closely it suggests otherwise.
Critically, this is an equally weakened Real Madrid side.
Keylor Navas’s position has consistently been called into question as the club is still being linked with David De Gea; Kiko Casilla, despite his first team experience at Espanyol has not be trusted to produce the top level performances required at such a club.
The defence can only boast of three natural world class centre backs in Sergio Ramos, Varane and the underappreciated Nacho. Injuries or suspensions to two of these defenders, the club will be left to bare bones in that department like we experienced recently in the 2-2 draw at home to Valencia where Casemiro had to step in at centre back.
Players such as Pepe, Danilo, Llorente and Coentrao all left during the summer while only Hernandez, Achraf Hakimi and returning from loan Vallejo are the only recruitments made in that area of the team. Real Madrid, a very attacking side with a knack for conceding a lot of goals, cannot be proud to have a very young and hugely inexperienced defensive cover.
The midfield is well stocked with the arrival of Dani Ceballos and Marcos Llorente as backups for Casemiro and the ageing Modric (32).
The frontline is also a concern with the departure of Alvaro Morata, James Rodriguez, Mariano Diaz with whose presence the coach was able to rest Crisitiano Ronaldo in some matches and still got the needed points. Meanwhile, there was no replacement for either Morata or James Rodriguez and and it became even more surprising that Mariano Daiz was allowed to leave the club for Lyon.
Benzema is not consistent, Ronaldo is ageing and can no longer be expected to play 50 games a season and still produce the top level performances in all the matches. Bale has struggled with injuries and consistency since his move to the club and cannot be relied upon as there is no sign of optimism from him.
In the aftermath of the 1-1 draw against Levante, Zidane admitted a striker was badly needed, that is a pointer, a late pointer to the lack of fire power upfront. Healthy competition for places in a team helps the team perform better as every player will want to impress with every opportunity but that is no longer in place in the team like last season.
In contrast to the other clubs vying for glory in Europe this season, Madrid is a bit short in depth to compete this season. The Premier league clubs this season is gearing to lay a strong stake for glory in Europe this season. Will you take notice of the fact that majority of world class coaches are in the Premier league now and have settled down with their various clubs after adjustments and adapting in their first season?
Both Manchester clubs have had a great summer and they are well equipped in all areas of their teams. Chelsea are also on the run and of course Tottenham and Liverpool should not be underrated. The present squad that Pep has at his disposal at Manchester City boasts more depth right now than what they have at Real Madrid and Manchester United.
Betis were the first team to stop Real Madrid scoring in a long, long time ⚪ pic.twitter.com/g4BG4UfPp6
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 21, 2017
Whereas PSG has made the biggest investment to their squad this summer all for one reason: the Champions league glory. The wealth of attacking options present at PSG is no longer present – like last season – at Real Madrid.
One or two slip ups may not be too detrimental, perhaps we are all worked up on things that may eventually turn out to be “just one of those results”; after all, this side were wingless in four games at about this time last season, yet ended up doing the double. The difference, however, is that, this is Real Madrid’s worst start to a season in 20 years.
Unlike last season Los Blancos are already seven points Barca, who haven’t dropped a single point in La Liga just yet. Perhaps, it is just one of those results.
Article is written by Amos Onujabe