6 months ago the current real Madrid squad was touted as the best ever, breaking Barcelona’s strangle hold over the la liga in a record breaking fashion. Despite the heartbreaking loss to Bayern Munich on penalties there was much to look forward to the next season, having already won the league and the copa del rey.Madrid fans finally deemed the team ready to lift La Decima.Fast forward 6 months Madrid find themselves 16 points off the pace, marred with injuries and squad friction in third place behind their most fierce rivals. Lets analyse the reasons for this fall from grace and the various solutions
Real Madrids transfers this season were underwhelming at best. The purchase of modric was questionable given he hardly was the best in his own team, now given his performances even more so. Granted he still needs time it can be argued that midfield was hardly the greatest necessity. Furthermore the sale of Dani Carvajal to Bayern Leverkusen left the right back position depleted in depth eliminating much necessary completion and back up for arbeloa.Who though consistent depends heavily on dimaria and offers virtually no offensive contribution. The sale of hamit altintop given the number of injuries is also seeming more like a bad decision
Madrid have conceded an alarming no of goals from, set pieces this season to be exact 12 of 20 goals conceded this season have been from set pieces.This can be attributed to casillas’s lack of aerial ability coupled with lapses in concentration on the part of Sergio Ramos and Pepe.This is proving to be a lacuna for real Madrids usually resolute defence. This further more forces mourinho to instruct ronaldo to help with set pieces more often eliminating the oppurtunities to get ronaldo consistently at the end of counter attacks in these situations
Despite the defensive woes its intresting to note that real Madrid have conceded 2 goals more than athletico Madrid and 1 more than Barcelona.So the defense isn’t entirely to blame.
A major attribute of real madrids title win last year was the ability to consistently outscore opposition despite conceding first.Another common characteristic was scoring first sitting back and hitting the opposition with devastating counter attacks.Our offence this season lacks the cohesiveness and fluidity of last season despite maintaining more or less the same personnel.
The reasons for this would be
Di Marias decline since his return from injury
Di Maria prior to his last season’s injury was driving force in the real Madrid offence.
Seeming tearing up defences at will and racking up the assists, he was easily real madrids most creative player. But since his return his dribbles lack the former end product, passes aren’t on target ,and put simply the player is trying to do too much resulting in increased turnovers, and a predictable right hand side.
Ozils poor form
Despite ozil not being "essential " to mourinhos game plan of long balls and counter attacks.
His presence last season provided an infallible plan B if teams do as the now park the bus.Ozil was vital in unlocking stubborn defences and providing that killer pass that allowed ronaldo the real Madrid offence to score.But following a lacklustre euros ozil has failed so far to display the form that saw him rival Andres iniesta and Xavi.
Attacking Set plays
One charactheristic of the real Madrid of last season was their ability to score from all means possible in a match.But their offensive corners much like their defensive corners have disappointed.
Mourinho’s 4-2-3-1 utilizing two inverted winger supplied by long balls from a deep lying play maker to facilitate lightning quick counter attacks have been a huge sensation the previous year enabling the team to win the league in a record breaking fashion. But having played Real Madrid for two years teams have learned the antidote. Fight fire with fire gift real Madrid possession sit back and hit them on the counter. Real Madrid when faced with such a situation lack ideas going forward especially due to the relative poor form of Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria
Much like rest of the team the manager should also shoulder part of the blame .
Mourinho this season has failed to select a consistent defense and midfield this season,although injuries are the plausible reason for the former.Mourinho has failed to give mesut ozil the teams most creative outlet consistent playing time often subbing him out at half time and failing to give him consistent minutes over modric.This has significantly affected the teams chemistry and the team is looking the worse for it.
Despite di maria s relatively poor form mourinho has kept the faith to the detriment of the squad,by failing to utilize a fully fit Kaka despite encouraging performances.It is intresting to note that ozil was at his most productive last season when Kaka played along side him.
For all his charisma mourinho has failed to use the media to the advantage of his team.By constantly declaring his plans for a premier league return and stating the obvious that the league is lost,Mourinho has done very little to improve a Madrid side on the verge of imploding
Media reports if they can be trusted indicate all is not well in the Madrid camp,with reports of conflicts between the Spanish and the Portugese.Mourinhos rift with Iker Casillas being made public.Such an atmosphere is detrimental to the success of a team