Real Madrid’s chance creation problem surfaces in Ronaldo’s absence

Julen Lopetegui is not a enviable man. Of course, most people would not think twice when they get the chance to become manager of Real Madrid. But Lopetegui got his chance in very special circumstances. He doesn’t just have to deal with the usual over-the-top expectations that come with this job. He has to do so without superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. And to make things more complicated, Real decided not to attract a replacement striker, but expected to fill the void by having other players step up in Ronaldo’s absence.

Fast forward to October 2018 and it seems fair to say things haven’t exactly gone according to plan. Getting early results under a new manager is crucial to establish faith, and create a building platform for the squad to learn the patterns of - in this case - Lopetegui’s philosophy of possession play and pressing. Exactly those early results have been problematic for Real, who lost the UEFA Super Cup to rivals Atlético Madrid in Lopetegui’s first competitive match in charge, and more recently suffered the ignominy of the longest goal drought in their 116 year history.

To make things worse, this Sunday Real will face the harshest test of their young season against arch-rivals Barcelona, who despite the absence of Messi are finally finding some solid tactical footing. A loss at Camp Nou and the gap to Barcelona will grow to a near insurmountable seven points.

As a preview of sorts to El Clásico, Between the Posts will look at Real’s LaLiga numbers, discuss their tactical issues, and propose some alternative solutions.

Real Madrid have a chance creation problem

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Jose Perez (27) writes and talks about anything football-related: players, tactics, analytics, the relationship between football and society. Whenever he is not working on high-power lasers, he tries to keep up with all big five European leagues, but focuses particularly on La Liga. Outside of Between the Posts, you can find him arguing with people and posting analyses on Twitter or answering questions on Quora. [ View all posts ]


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