Just when we thought it could not get any worse for Real Madrid, they went ahead and lost to CSKA Moscow in Russia. Suddenly, the goals have dried up, and Madrid are beginning to miss Cristiano Ronaldo.
The strong start to the season for Madrid is well and truly in the rear-view mirror as Julen Lopetegui’s team have gone three games without a victory and a goal.
It was Toni Kroos who gifted the hosts their goal in the second minute with a terrible backpass that was picked up by Nikola Vlasic, on loan from Everton, who fired past Keylor Navas from just inside the penalty area.
From then on, the Spaniards had loads of the ball, moving it from side to side and back again, dominated most of the statistics but could not trouble Igor Akinfeev in the CSKA goal.
This has become an all too familiar sight for the Spanish giants – possesion without direction. Surely, the purpose of keeping the ball is to attack and score goals, but Madrid are just lacking the penetration and precision to do that.
Karim Benzema, Casemiro and Mariano all hit the woodwork, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that Real Madrid’s previous No. 7 might well have had more success in front of goal. How they could have done with a handy hat-trick here.
Lopetegui tried to cope without most of his key men, Sergio Ramos got a rest. Dani Carvajal was forced off injured. Marcelo, Isco and Gareth Bale all missed out through injuries of their own. Luka Modric was introduced from the bench.
Any hope that Lopetegui has of keeping Real Madrid at the top level lies on keeping one man fit -Gareth Bale-
Bale is a crucial loss and the early season indications are that the Welshman will be one tasked with grabbing most of Ronaldo’s share of the goals. Without him there isn’t the same threat.
Real Madrid need to find their feet, and prepare for going some stretch of the season without Gareth Bale. They need more goals, more penetration and as quickly as possible more wins even if it’s without Bale and -of course- Ronaldo.