This Real Madrid team are like a tango, an Argentinian friend said to me: “Today, a promise; tomorrow, a betrayal.” Just days after their colossal display at San Siro, Los Blancos lost to Alavés on Saturday, having taken too long to get the measure of the Basques - if, indeed, we can say they got it at all. Cádiz, Shakhtar Donetsk and now Alavés have won at the Di Stéfano in a short space of time. It feels like there are games where, because of who they’re playing, Madrid just don’t take their opposition seriously enough, and when they wake up to their error it’s too late. For example, with just 20 minutes on the clock Alavés had already won six corners, one of which led to the penalty from which they opened the scoring.
Real Madrid took Alavés' attacking threat too lightly
Alavés have three ferocious forwards in Joselu, Lucas Pérez and Luis Rioja, something Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane seemed to overlook. Restoring Lucas Vázquez to right-back was a risk against Rioja, all the more so given he wasn’t afforded the right protection. In general, Madrid were not alive to the pace and power of Alavés’ attackers, leaving them acres of space to run into. When they beat the first line of the press, the visitors surged forward dangerously and with joyous abandon - and not only scored twice, but also missed some gilt-edged chances. Madrid ended both halves decently enough - in the second, it was a case of desperately throwing themselves at a knackered Alavés - but they lacked penetration.
Madrid are six points off the top - and that's not all
Madrid are falling apart in LaLiga. They’re six points adrift of top spot, and that’s not the only bad news: Eden Hazard picked up another injury; Marcelo doesn't even offer anything in attack now; Marco Asensio’s form refuses to return; Vinicius Junior looks disillusioned - not without justification, I’d say; and Los Merengues have stopped getting the rub of the green when it comes to VAR. On Saturday, there was a tug on Marcelo’s hair in the box that was filmed by a Movistar+ TV camera whose images are not sent to the video assistant. However, Madrid can complain about that all they want, but it doesn’t change the harsh reality that their problem comes down to a simple saying: you snooze, you lose.