The win streak under Zidane didn’t last too long as Real Madrid suffer a 2-1 loss to Valencia. The main theme that stuck out with this road match was the general apathy in Real’s attack and defending.
There really was not many dangerous chances from Real Madrid that suggested they would score or win this match, despite how much percentage of possession they held. There was just zero creativity between the midfield three and the forwards.
It seemed like much of Real’s offense at the Mestalla tonight was lazy cross passing that never properly found their targets. Odriozola was able to make some good runs, but even he too was subject to redundant crosses.
There’s a huge problem when you hold such a large chunk of the possession but do nothing with it to create dangerous scoring chances, as was the case with Real Madrid tonight.
Aside from the inefficient attack, the defense also struggled maintaining the counter attack of Valencia. Real often left huge holes in the backline where they had to track back and stop Valencia from getting a free shot on goal.
As seen below, there were several times where Real left Valencia unchecked and would only have one defender back to cover.
How Valencia didn't score from this.... pic.twitter.com/iAlJE90vsk— M•A•J (@Ultra_Suristic) April 3, 2019
Marcelo was one of the biggest problems tonight. While he often leaves his defensive side exposed in favor of offense, it was particularly glaring in this match that Valencia was able to exploit and create that dangerous counter attack. There just seems to be a regression in form for Marcelo this season.
Marcelo took his fifth yellow card, so he will miss next match, meaning we’ll likely see Reguilon for the first time under Zidane. Varane and Ramos also looked pretty poor as well in their own defending.
The two goals that Real Madrid conceded were also due largely to poor coverage and defending as well. The first goal from Gonçalo Guedes was one that Keylor Navas is going to want back as it beats him near post. The other problem here was Ramos not blocking the shot properly as it seems he believed it was going the other way.
The second goal was also result of poor coverage. Mariano lost his man, Ezequiel Garay, and Casemiro was unable to get high enough in time to cover for the header. Just another breakdown in the box that directly led to a goal concession.
This heatmap shows that much of the time was spent heavy in the midfield and passing out to the wings. There was a lot of possession held, but not a lot to show for it. Marcelo and Ramos had the most attempted shots on goal for Real, that says everything right there about the anemic attack.
While the score ended 2-1, this was not that close of a match. Benzema was able to get the bounce from the header in stoppage time to pull one back, but this was just not a convincing performance from the club.
The club will move on to Saturday to take on Eibar, where they can hopefully get the attack going a bit more and clean up the defending to try and get back in the win column over the weekend.