Real Madrid’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday night was a continuation of poor home form for Zinedine Zidane’s side this season. So far in La Liga, they have drawn two, lost one and won one against opposition that they should really be beating if they want to defend their League title successfully. But should Los Blancos be worried about this run of form – or is it a mere blip in a long and arduous campaign?
Firstly, the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo was suspended for the early stages of the season and did not immediately start scoring, as would probably be expected of him, has not helped. He has been scoring for fun in the Champions League, with five goals in three games, but he only scored his first League goal of the season in last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Getafe.
A lot of chances have been missed by other players as well, particularly by Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, or goalkeepers have been in fine form when they have visited the Bernabeu, as was the case with Hugo Lloris on Tuesday. The Frenchman pulled off some superb stops and was easily Spurs’ best player on the night.
On the other hand, teams have been coming to Madrid and fancying themselves in systems where they can absorb pressure and then play brilliantly on the break. Valencia and Real Betis are examples of this, and perhaps if Spurs had a bit more pace going forward, they could have enjoyed more success when countering too.
Another important point to make is that perhaps Zidane cannot count as much quality in his second string this season. Last time around, he was known to make a lot of changes against the lesser teams in La Liga and it worked to great effect, but after the sales of Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez, two players who consistently performed well when called upon, the squad is clearly not as strong as it once was.
As usual, the Frenchman is a cool customer and is very much looking forward to the next game.
“We played against a great team, they also played well,” Zidane said after the draw with Spurs. “We could’ve scored more, but so could they. It’s a normal result. It was a good match and we have the match in London next. We have to try to win at Wembley.
“They scored when we were the better team and that’s tougher to accept, but it’s no big deal. Now we’re thinking about our next game. It’s another Final for the group and we’ll be playing at Wembley. It’s not Tottenham’s stadium, but it’s the Champions League.
Right now, Madrid are in a good position, even if they would prefer to not have a five-point gap on Barcelona. They have suffered from a lot of injuries and various suspensions, but their immense quality will shine through. There is no reason to panic, even if replicating last season’s success is going to be very tough.