Real Madrid’s defeat on Sunday at home to Real Sociedad was their first loss against the Basque club in the Spanish capital in 15 years. La Real ran out 4-1 victors back in April 2004 and Santiago Solari was one of the midfielders that day for the beleaguered hosts.
This time round, the Argentine was sitting in the Madrid dugout and, despite being appointed only two months ago, must already feel like he is on borrowed time in the position. It was the latest damaging result under his stewardship and leaves Los Blancos ten points adrift at the top of La Liga.
Under Solari, the club have actually won 11 of their 15 outings but this is a hugely misleading stat. Two of those victories came over lower league side Melilla in the Copa del Rey, two were achieved in the Club World Cup while league victories over lowly Real Valladolid, Rayo Vallecano and Huesca masked hugely unconvincing performances in which Madrid could easily have found themselves on the wrong side of the result.
There have been humiliations too. Sure, the 5-1 El Clasico defeat in Julen Lopetegui’s final game in charge will have hurt but the 3-0 crashes against Eibar in La Liga and CSKA Moscow in the Champions League were a huge indicator of just how deep-rooted the problems are at the club. It is also telling that Sunday was Madrid’s sixth league defeat of the campaign – that’s one more than Athletic Bilbao, who are languishing in the relegation zone.
It is obvious that the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo has made a huge impact on the club’s attacking output – with a miserly 26 goals across 18 La Liga matches – but the reality is there is a myriad of issues within the team. Lets not forget, they finished a whopping 17 points behind Barcelona in the league last time out and they have already lost the same number of league games in 18 outings as they did in the entirety of that campaign. That time round they averaged 2.5 goals per game while this time round the number is 1.4.
Madrid’s next five league games see them face up to four of their top six opponents alongside a tricky trip to Espanyol, so the situation could get worse before it gets any better. They remain just five points off Atletico Madrid in second but are just nine points off 15th, such is the congested nature of the league table. One thing is for sure, this side do not look capable of mounting a title challenge this time round.
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