Nineteen match-days, half the season whereby each team has played against one another and time to take stock of the situation. In Real Madrid's case there is one alarming statistic that is revealing: the team fall off the pace in the second half of games. The drop-off is so dramatic that if the table were based alone on first half results Zidane's'men would be leaders with a hypothetical four point lead over Barça. If the same criteria were applied to second half results the Bernabeu side would drop to eleventh place some 26 points behind leaders FC Barcelona and just seven points above the relegation zone. A +17 goals for in the first 45' of each game contrasts drastically with a -2 balance from second half performances.
Game of two halves
Most teams deviate little from their current league placing when the same criteria is applied with the exceptions being Girona, Málaga and Real Betis, who see their fortunes greatly improved through strong second half displays. So why does the opposite happen to Real Madrid, a side known over the years for their ability to dig deep and produce last minute winning goals. The first conclusion is an obvious lack of physical stamina. This prompts more questions as with Antono Pintus as first team physical trainer they have one of the best in the business.
Maybe it's just as simple as it's the same faces over and over again...there is an unwritten rule in the game stating that every team needs rejuvenation from time-to-time irrespective of how many trophies that side has claimed. Former Real Madrid coach Luis Molowny used to claim: “After every fertile period, it's time to cultivate the land”. Zidane remains blindly faithful with the Cardiff Champions League side and we only saw him deviate with his use of Asensio who has now disappeared from the radar. He has a squad of defined first team players and well defined substitutes, with each player acutely aware of his place in the pecking order. But what could this have to do with poor second half performances? Routine could mean that for many players, games seem longer ar maybe it is a physical thing? Mysteries of the game...