Zidane finally showing weaknesses as Real Madrid are in the middle of a crisis
Zidane has been in a honeymoon since he took the job at Madrid, winning back to back Champions Leagues and bringing the La Liga title back to the Spanish Capital. Yet, on Thursday if you saw this team it would have been hard to believe they were the two-time defending champions. The Spanish side got completely outplayed and looked unorganized and undisciplined in the 3-1 drumming they suffered at the hands of Tottenham.
Tottenham came into the game fighting the Wembley curse and the best team in Europe, and they left looking like the best that can actually challenge for the whole thing. They were able to outplay a process the ball in long stretches of time, create football but at the same time attack Madrid in their counter attacks
Now Madrid sits second in the group and will probably face a tough opponent to start the knockout round. Plus they currently sit an eight point hole in La Liga. It still early in the year but Madrid will have to make drastic changes or their season will be done by Christmas.
What we learned from the game
They Miss Pepe
Madrid actually misses Pepe. They are a loose team at the back and while Ramos is good he can be very undisciplined going forward and that was evident on Thursday. Nacho is not good or quick enough to be the last man in the defense, but with Madrid having so many defenders adding to the attack they leave massive holes. They are missing a stable guy at the back that is willing to foul and play dirty to defend Ramos and Marcelo’s constant push forward.
These defensive issues weren’t a thing last year, but Varane is injured and Nacho is simply not a Champions League elite-level player. They let Pepe go for nothing in the offseason and got no one to replace him.
They are not as deep as we thought
This team is not a deep as people were claiming it to be at the beginning of the year. They got youngsters in the summer, but not really anybody to push the starting 11. Now Benzema turned old fast creating only two shots on Thursday and has only scored a goal this year. That, compiled with Bale’s injury and Morata being sold, they lack a true option to replace him. Zidane had to put in Mayoral to try to make a difference.
Madrid should have a team that is deep in every position and that is what many people thought coming into the season. Yet, we are three months into the season and we have found out that narrative was completely wrong.
The midfield can be outplayed
Yet the most surprising factors on Thursday and honestly bigger than the result is Moussa Sissoko, Harry Winks, Christian Ericksen and Dele Ali outplayed the great Madrid midfield. The one that Mourinho said after the European league was the best in the world and had no one near their level in the premier league. They stop every dribble Madrid mad from the midfield, They had Isco in their back pocket. The Spaniard could never find the space to create any plays and felt lost in the game just running around. He played right in front of the other midfielders which is a formation made to allow him the liberty to dribble with no fear. Yet he only had a single dribble in the game.
Then comes the factor that they left Casemiro alone to clean up all the work from the team losing possession. In the game, he had ten tackles, while Nordic had one and Kross had none. If Madrid wants to be back to their elite level then Madrid and Kross need to help with ball recovery and defensively especially when Marcelo and Ramos are so involved in the build-up so high up the field.
Zidane will have his first opportunity to show he is an elite coach, if he can get Isco and Benzema going again and this defense back in line. The next stretch of games will show what Zidane is really made off. It’s the first time he has to dig himself out of results instead of being in the lead for most of the year.