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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Why Ten Hag is living on borrowed time

After an encouraging first season, Manchester United...

​Will Real Madrid bounce back against Malaga?

Real Madrid were en route to achieving an invincible season in the league at least and remained on course until the 93rd minute at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán stadium when Sevilla new boy Stevan Jovetic popped up and scored the winner to condemn Zinedine Zidane to his first defeat at the helm this season.

The loss allowed Sevilla to close the gap on Los Blancos to one point. However, Madrid do have a game in hand and a chance to make the gap four points rather than a minuscule one point.

With the defeat to Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey coming only a few days after their loss to Sevilla, are Real Madrid about to implode?

The warning signs are flashing at Madrid, but it is not meltdown time just yet. Having gone an impressive 40 games unbeaten in all competitions to a two-game losing streak, Madrid are still a tough pill to swallow.

Against Sevilla, Madrid were lacklustre, lethargic and mindless towards the end.

Considering this is a side who pride themselves on their intensity from start to finish, Madrid failed to play to the final whistle, conceding two goals after the 85th minute against a side who have struggled in the latter stages of games this season.

The league leaders were also incredibly disappointing in the Copa del Rey against Celta Vigo as they were caught napping in a frantic six minutes.

Celta Vigo took the lead through former Liverpool man Iago Aspas, Los Blancos levelled through Marcelo but were caught on a devastating counter attack as Castro Otto regained the lead; just one minute after Marcelo had scored.

Zidane’s side lacked a certain cutting edge in both games, and none of this will have helped having lost Gareth Bale in December, but it will certainly not be made any easier with the reduced form Cristiano Ronaldo has had recently.

Since being crowned “The Best” at Gianni Infantino’s “Oscars,” Ronaldo has been far from his best. Despite, scoring against Sevilla from the penalty spot, Ronaldo has not influenced the proceedings in the way he would have liked and regularly does for his club.

With the former Manchester United man approaching 32 in February some believe that he is past his best and that the Real Madrid side can no longer be focused solely on him.

Ronaldo will not necessarily have to find the goals again, as he has 12 in La Liga this season, but he will have to rediscover his intensity and determination as the fixture list piles up for Los Blancos.

With the fixtures piling up in La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League in the coming weeks, circumstances have not been made easier with the loss of right back Dani Carvajal; who has been ruled out for at least a month with a hamstring injury.

The right back is very much a modern full back as he is explosive in attack and likes to dribble past his opponents.

Similar to Marcelo at left back, Los Blancos rely on their fullbacks to do a lot of work, and with Carvajal missing four La Liga games, the 2nd leg of the Copa del Rey and being a major doubt for the Champions League first leg clash, the selection headache will be annoying Zidane immensely.

The game against Malaga on Saturday is crucial for Madrid now. In case they lose, it will be their third on the bounce and rumours calling for Zidane’s head will surely gain momentum despite the astounding run of Madrid have had.

Considering Malaga have not won since 26th November, it would be surprising if Madrid lost their 2nd league game in a row.

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