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Do Real Madrid Have What it Takes to Win La Liga?

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The road is long. Can this squad take home the trophy?

Real Madrid v Manchester City FC - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second Leg Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Six matches into another La Liga. Real Madrid have a one point lead over Barcelona and are 2 points ahead of Atleti.

Many will say the season is too young to accurately judge, but does Real Madrid have what it takes to win their first league title in 5 years?

Real Madrid Squad Capacity

Depth - Much has already been discussed this season on this blog regarding the current depth of this squad. We are almost two-deep across the board, and if not, have some pretty amazingly flexible back-ups in Danilo and Nacho to cover multiple positions. We have enough midfield depth to field two full all-star teams (I refuse to ignite the Casemiro debate), and with Morata's return and Asensio's promise, have up-front support as well.

The season is long, and depth is crucial. We certainly have what we need as injuries, form and tiredness take their toll.

Defense - To win games over the long-haul, you need to concede as few goals as possible. Our defense is an odd one. On one hand, we have legitimate world-class players who put in some great performances. On the other hand, for some reason, they can't seem to get in sync or stop from making dunder-headed mistakes.

We can't blame this entirely on Zidane, as this has been the condition of our defense for quite a few years. And I think we all know just how instrumental Keylor Navas has been in the last year or so in making the defense appear much more solid than it is.

The point is that we can't rely on the "we'll always score more goals" mentality in the tough games that make or break a season. We much get better defensively.

Offense - I wish I was a fraction the tactical analyst that Om is, but my view is that Zizou has the makings of being quite a bit more willing to be tactically flexible than Ancelotti. We've seen fluctuations in formation, mid-game changes in approach, and at least what looks to be movement toward finding ways to build up play to the final third.

This certainly has been chucked right out the window like in matches against Villareal where we resorted to Ancelotti-esque non-stop crosses from the wings, but I at least get the sense of calculated attempts at offensive cohesion.

Still, with the varied opponents we will face, we will need solid and well-rehearsed game-plans to overcome each situation.

Tactics

As mentioned above, I think that Zidane is actively attempting to find himself as a tactician, and learning how best to get execution from the squad. Some of his substitutions make no sense (Morata 88th minute against Dortmund) and some of the starting line-ups given our opposition leave us scratching our heads. I do think that we are still in the fledgling phase of his development though. And we really can't even begin to complain given his incredible results so early in. If he is able to get his tactical nous even close to his man-management and results, we are in for something spectacular.

I do think that with confidence the propensity to drop back after a one goal lead will change, which is a much-needed thing. Our squad is crazy voracious when scoring goals. It's almost like the more we score, the more blood-thirsty we get for more. With few things more dangerous than a one goal lead, it’s vital for Zidane to keep up the pressure.

We also need to work on an organized mechanism of pressing. If we're going to do it, we need to be smart about how we do it and when. Right now, any attempts at a consistent, orchestrated press have been pretty messy.

The season is full of varied opponents and we need to be able to adjust and execute accordingly

Motivation

The conclusion of last season and 16 game win streak into this, is a pretty declarative statement on what Zidane is able to motivate this squad to accomplish. Somehow ZZ has managed to get the most out of this star-studded group. He's even somehow got Isco and James fine with and performing well as substitutes. I am not at all worried about his ability to motivate.

However, I am concerned with what appears to be a lackadaisical attitude from the team at times. We occasionally go into games against opponents who we think won't present a challenge only to be outclassed or at the very least out-hustled.

I know the team has the capacity to step up when needed as in the much higher overall team effort against Dortmund, but if we are going to bring home a league title, it's going to require the team to have the right attitude and maintain the necessary motivation against all opponents

Luck

Let's face it, in a game like this a few shots unluckily clanging off the post is all it takes to prevent a draw or even a loss. One nasty deflection, one lucky blocked shot right onto the foot for a followup - these bits of luck can make or break a season.

The same goes for injury. A thick or loose piece of turf, a sloppy but accidental tackle - we pray to lady luck or our deity of choice to keep these things from impacting our players and potentially our entire season.

I hate to throw so much weight to something so out of our control, but luck plays a massive factor over the long-haul. Luck certainly favors the prepared, but its impact is more than enough to sway the changes at a league title.

Will Real Madrid Win La Liga 2016/2017?

I’m 50/50 this early in the season on whether or not it will come together for us. While depth and talent and managing charisma would indicate a decent probability, there aren't any clear signs of consistent dominance yet. The season is young, and we're in a good spot, but dropping a six point lead to 1 over Barca is not something we can afford to repeat.

Do we have what it takes to put together a winning season? We certainly have the depth to cover injury, and Zidane appears to have the capacity to man-mange even better than Ancelotti, while possessing and even sometimes demonstrating the ability to grow tactically. It will probably come down to the same recipe required for any league title - dogged determination which we haven't seen consistently and a whole lot of luck at the most needed of times