The Celebration was Short-Lived

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Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Since their 2-0 El Clasico victory over Barcelona, Real Madrid has been favored to win its first title in three years according to this source. Even though Barcelona is currently ahead by 2 points, Real’s 2/3 odds give them a 60% chance to win the league, well ahead of Barca at 6/5 (45.5% chance).

The Clasico victory celebration has been short-lived, nevertheless, after a poor display culminating into a loss to Betis. Real is struggling to keep the lead in the title race and no matter what the oddsmakers say, many doubt that Madrid can make it over the finish line.

Zidane continues to rotate the squad every match. Valverde came off the bench late into the second half while Lucas started on the wing, covered by Militao, in place of Carvajal.

After an exciting win against the eternal rival and returning to top spot Madrid was expected to come out with ambition, yet on the contrary they appeared lackluster and conservative, until the final minutes, after Real Betis scored the go-ahead goal. It was actually the home side that appeared to have more ball possession and more interest in attacking for most of the match.

Although Betis had been the better side it was a huge error from Benzema that supplied the winning goal for the home side.  Tello picked up a poor pass in the middle of the field and scored an easy goal, one on one against the goalkeeper.

After several solid defensive performances Madrid has become weak in defense again. Add this to an inability to score many goals since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and you have a recipe for disaster.

It’s not a good sign when Zidane begins to rely heavily on its young playmaker, Vinicius. The 19 year old should not carry the burden for the squad. He should be an added component, to a well oiled machine. For the moment, he’s carrying the load, while almost everything else is in questionable shape.

What was especially alarming about this match was how many times Madrid misplaced passes and kicked long balls into the opposing area instead of holding possession and probing for openings and making plays. The team looked frankly unrecognizable.

Certain players like Marcelo, Modric and Bale are aging and just don’t play like they used to. Madrid’s star signing Eden Hazard has been injured most of the year and the big striker signing of Jovic has produced only 2 goals.

Real Madrid is fortunate that Barcelona is also struggling in form and results. The winner of this year’s title will be light years from previous winners. What happened to the days of Mourinho, when losses and even ties were rare and Real Madrid won the league with 100 points!

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