What started against dark horses Villarreal for Real Madrid continued against the likes of Las Palmas and Borussia Dortmund, notwithstanding the curse-of-yellows.
And though the whites stained of yellow, it never occurred the minnows, Eibar, too would take their chance to dab the crest leaving blood stains.
After clinching the famously acclaimed la undecima followed by UEFA Super Cup, the Los Blancos side went on to run a 16 match winning streak breaking Pep Guardiola’s record back during his reign at Camp Nou. But 4 draws in a row indicated Madrid’s wobbly continuity which led Coach Zinedine Zidane to speak out – “There’s something wrong” – in his last press conference before his players flew off to the international break.
And the question continues to linger, “What went wrong?”
The Real Woes of Real Madrid
From the story so far, it’s evident that the injury line-up of Real Madrid is picking up more lethality than the main team itself. The injury team does not happen to run out of positions with Karim Benzema and James Rodriguez occupying the front line followed by Brazilian and Croatian midfield powerhouses Casemiro and Luka Modric. Full backs Fabio Coentrao, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Marcelo are all set to defend the broken wall.
Injuries are the natural calamities in the football world that leave one’s calm ambiance distraught. Yet, it takes some serious planning to mend the broken and get normal service going back on track. Has Zidane failed in reconstructing the fallen?
Case of Casemiro
Stats and result say, it’s undeniable to rule out the fact that inclusion of underrated Brazilian, Casemiro, added massive credits to Zidane’s managerial role. The defensive midfielder did not live up to his expectations during his first spell at Madrid camp, but proved to be a sure-shot talent at Porto while he was on loan. Madrid made no mistake in retrieving Casemiro once his deal expired and though his intromission raised speculations, winning back to back silverwares and proving his presence as a catalyst humbly sent the critics running for life.
His absence has dearly cost Madrid points as Zidane who employed the only tactical theorem of unleashing Casemiro in to pocket the midfield counterparts which enabled fellow playmakers Luka Modric and Toni Kroos gain dominance over the midfield and fire in dangerous crosses from left and right backs, Dani Carvajal and Marcelo.
Gone are the days when fans regarded the transfer window as something of insignificance, considering the presence of too many players. Born are the times when the team couldn’t adapt itself with the enough substitutes as Zidane failed to devise an alternate algorithm.
Despite decorating the bench with stars like Isco and James Rodriguez, neither of the two could resolve the ongoing chaos raising some curious doubts: Are Isco and James unable to adapt themselves to Zidane’s tactics or has Zidane failed in allowing the million-dollar stars to their customary play?
It’s in the midfielders’ toes the game lies, for their stubborn holding and creative playmaking. Real Madrid had never run out of such creative players in the past seasons including the indispensable services of then Madrid players – Mesut Ozil and Angel di Maria. Losing both and fretting now, only Luka Modric is patently deemed to play the huge role. Now that the Croatian has been sidelined, Zidane couldn’t help himself by providing a well-grounded replacement. Fellow Croatian Mateo Kovacic, who had just 4 appearances in the league this season, same as Modric, was likely to play the role but his efforts went in vain which sent both team and fans craving for Luka’s return. If Real Madrid ever wishes to plot a galactico signing, then, given the pathetic draw against Eibar where the Whites displayed a lackluster game devoid of originative plays, such a creative playmaker is advised to be scouted.
What’s the way forward?
It is time for the youngsters to prove themselves during such a crisis, especially the attacking troop. Relying too much on Benzema had almost backfired Zidane in results as well as sending waves of frustration across Alvaro Morata, the in-form striker retrieved from Juventus. It’s time Zidane emulated the dynamic youths – Lucas Vasques and Marco Asensio – who created 20 chances and 2 goals combined with the average shot accuracy of 90% to that of Benzema’s 3 created chances with a fragile and disappointing 50%.
Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t really at his very best in recent matches but delivered a comeback scoring 4 goals against Andorra in World Cup Qualifiers.
In simple words, the impact of a weak midfield left drastic marks on results only because, here at Real Madrid, one doesn’t see the front line scooting back to defend, which leaves the midfielders and defenders with a mammoth duty and high degree pressure. Captain Sergio Ramos too picked a knock on his international duty against Albania which rules him out for a month and he is expected to return by Madrid derby in November.
Zidane couldn’t hear the alarming bells ringing, but it’s time he formulated a new thesis to prove his skills as a manager. Time is running out.