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Alavés deepen Madrid's crisis


This time it wasn’t Sevilla or Athletic or CSKA Moscow, it was Alavés. Humble, hard-working Alavés, with their blunt style of football and an eager, collective spirit, have put Real Madrid in an uncomfortable position – so much so that the word crisis has started to be mentioned. Alavés won and they won well (you have to hand it to Abelardo who did a great job), with the winner coming from a corner in the last minute. That was enough to beat a Madrid who hardly created any danger of note. They saw more of the ball yet never took the game to their hosts. Only right at the start, during five, lively minutes did the atmosphere get going but that petered out and vanished altogether after a series of run-ins between Ramos and Calleri. What followed was a relatively sterile performance in which Madrid seemed apprehensive. Pacheco had an easy and uneventful afternoon.

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Juan Manuel Serrano ArceGetty Images

Madrid's confidence is shot

The team gave off more worrying signs than in previous games. You get the feeling that their self-confidence is shattered. Passes went astray – there was a lack of fluidity and intuition between the player passing the ball and the one who was supposed to receive it. The team looked stretched and it attacked without conviction or faith. It was as if they were in a daze, each player in a world of their own. We saw some things that were simply unacceptable - like Asensio allowing Jony to escape and head straight for goal to get in shot that flashed a whisker wide; Bale looked quiet and sluggish up until he asked to be taken off, but before leaving the pitch he insisted on taking a free-kick... Oh Gareth! What a mystery you are at times!

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Downward spiral

The poor results Madrid had suffered before this game – some they deserved more than others, have made the team enter into a free fall. And their descent has been made even worse now that the club has started making a show of Lopetegui. Meanwhile the team is downbeat, low on spirits and when that happens and you take on an opponent full of enthusiastic, you’ll probably lose. And Madrid’s poor run keeps getting worse. With every defeat we have to look further back in the history books to find something similar – not since 1985 has any Real Madrid team gone four games without scoring a single goal, and before yesterday, their last defeat in Vitoria was before the Spanish Civil War. The way things stand, that single-minded urgency to revamp the stadium ahead of bringing in decent new signings is now looking like a whim without any real sense at all.