Real Madrid’s disappointing 1-1 draw against Elche could cost the team down the road. Elche have been struggling all season long yet Madrid found a way to complete a mediocre performance and break their six-game winning streak. Here are three takeaways from the game.
- Real Madrid need to show up and play with better energy against smaller teams. Cadiz —at home—, Valencia or Elche have been three teams Madrid should’ve beaten this season. In those three games, Los Blancos lacked the intensity and focus to compete the right way and ended up losing 8 of 9 of those available points. There’s a pattern right there. On the other hand, Zidane’s men seem to make a statement when they face quality teams like Barcelona, Atletico de Madrid, Sevilla or even Inter Milan in the Champions League, but they simply need to find a way to be reliable and consistent when they face smaller opposition. They just can’t take those games for granted.
- Zidane’s substitutions were not what the team needed. Kroos was playing really well and Elche were already sitting back and not even threatening with counterattacks, so why not take Casemiro out and let Kroos distribute the ball from the back as Madrid tried to score the game winning-goal? To trust Vinicius’ spark off the bench was the rigt call, but definitely not on the right wing, where he’s just not comfortable. Plus, Mariano and Jovic are now available and could’ve been a good asset to have if the plan was to cross the ball for the last five minutes of the game. Coach Zidane probably just doesn’t trust his second unit very much, but can’t they even make an impact for five or ten minutes?
- Madrid’s deficit to Atletico will be very, very hard to overcome. Atleti have a three-point lead and two games at hand, meaning that they could be nine points ahead if they take care of business. Simeone has built a very consistent and reliable team this season, and while there are many games left to be played, this Real Madrid side have shown that they will likely drop some points here and there as well. All in all, the quest for this 2020-2021 Liga title has become a very tough one for Madrid.