There is a sense of déjà-vu with this Real Madrid side
We have an excellent team but can't seem to win a game, stated Zinedine Zidane after losing to Tottenham in the semi-final of the 2019 Audi Cup. The first affirmation could be questioned but the second comment is crystal clear. Yesterday, Madrid finally won a game to Zidane's relief, albeit against the side who finished sixth in the Turkish SuperLig last season. The 2019-20 squad is certainly a 'work-in-progress' and yesterday the key player in securing the victory was Karim Benzema who bagged a hat-trick. The French striker was the club's top scorer last season (in the first of the post CR7 campaigns) and looks to be the most likely outlet for goals as we head towards the new campaign. The whole thing feels just a little too much like last season.
Three defeats, one draw and just one win is a poor overall balance from the five games played to date with games against Salzburg and AS Roma to come. We're not seeing anything new...Hazard looks unfit and has been relatively ineffective but has offered nothing that we haven´t seen before from Isco. We know that the Belgian player is talented but we've yet to see this talent explode in a Real Madrid shirt where all he seems to have done is ousted Vinicius from his natural position. Jovic sustained an injury in the third game after being a relative spectator in the first two outings. Mendy has offered little with Militao picking up his fitness level after participating at the 2019 Copa América. Zidane has been anxious to give limited playing time to both Rodrygo and Kubo and we're seeing more of the same type of unconvincing performances that the team delivered in the final stretch of the 2018-19 season.
Many players seem to have forgotten how to defend with the finger pointing at both Kroos and Marcelo with the team shipping 16 goals in the five pre-season games of particular concern. If it hand't been for Keylor Navas in inspired form, then the goals against tally could have been even higher and the fall-out from the seven goals conceded against city rivals Atleti at the Met Life Stadium in New Jersey will linger like a foul stench for some time to come. Now the hope lies in the arrival and energy that Paul Pogba can offer with supporters anxious to see a more streamlined version of Hazard doing what he does best... taking players on and causing danger for the opposition and essentially justifying his price-tag. At least Zidane's men have chalked up a win and that may be the kick-start needed to propel the pre-season activity forward.
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