When Real Madrid completed one of the worst pre-season stages in recent history, some fans and analysts alike raised their concerns over what the club had done all throughout the summer. Selling players like Morata or James while getting rid of Pepe wasn’t all that important after the team easily dismantled both Manchester United and Barcelona in the UEFA and Spanish Super Cups. Apparently, Real Madrid’s era was just beginning and Barcelona were the ones who were going to struggle this season after Neymar decided to join Paris Saint-Germain. Things have dramatically changed in just two months, but who’s responsible for that?
- The board. One way or another, this board decided to think that Gareth Bale and Varane were going to play week in and week out all while staying healthy, refusing to sign Mbappe and letting Pepe leave as a free agent. They also probably thought that the 21-year-old Marco Asensio was going to be consistent and lead the team whenever Cristiano Ronaldo was out of rhythm. They also thought that Borja Mayoral and Lucas Vazquez were good enough to change the course of any given game off the bench. While the roster is definitely a good one, it’s definitely not as deep as it was last season and that’s hurting Real Madrid right now. The club could’ve built a squad for the ages by adding a couple of key pieces and yet the refused to use the money they now have in the bank.
- Zidane’s in-game decisions. The French coach deserves huge credit after winning two straight Champions League titles with Real Madrid, that’s clear. However, he has implemented some head-scratching tactics once the main plan wasn’t working. Lucas Vazquez is just not getting it done and choosing him ahead of Ceballos right now is simply inexcusable, especially when the main thing you need to create good chances is play good football. Dropping Casemiro to a three-man defensive line doesn’t work as it takes away whatever defensive qualities the midfield previously had. Tottenham created counterattack after counterattack when Zidane decided to change his system. The team is crossing the ball way too often and is simply not playing good football right now. Why is Theo not playing in his natural left-back spot even though Marcelo clearly isn’t ready to deliver?
- The players. They’re the same 11 men who got it done just two months ago, so why should they walk away without being mentioned? Kroos’ effort is simply not there and it looks like he’s just either way too tired or careless. Ronaldo’s form is concerning especially considering that he has no true replacement on the squad and the same can be said about Benzema. They need to prove that they care and while Tottenham were the better team on Wednesday, there’s no excuse for Madrid’s loss against Girona last Sunday. That was all on the players and their effort.