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Real Madrid derby defeat to Atlético Madrid causing unrest within the club

The form of some players is causing concern at the Santiago Bernabéu, as well as the alarming deficiencies within the squad.

The form of some players is causing concern at the Santiago Bernabéu, as well as the alarming deficiencies within the squad.

There is a strange sense of silence at Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground, covered up by the tickle of the sprinklers and the whirr of the electric carts that shuttle the workers around. And the likelihood is that the word ‘derby’ is being avoided as the sound with which to fill the air: after such a result, it’s probably the only place on earth where nobody is talking about it.

Nobody wants to bring up the topic of last weekend, and there is no need. The thrashing Real Madrid received on a silver plate at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano at the hands of their city rivals speaks for itself. This version of Real Madrid is Superman in a world where Kryptonite exists and everyone knows: they are a team with obvious holes despite the world class level of the players.

The weaknesses have not been corrected and as such, a cloud of worry and doubt has settled over the corridors of those who wear the badge. The yellow warning light is flashing and nobody quite yet wants to turn the dial and change the colour to red.

Atletico Madrid forward Álvaro Morata scored twice against his former club.
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Atletico Madrid forward Álvaro Morata scored twice against his former club.OSCAR DEL POZOAFP

Why did Real Madrid lose against Atlético Madrid?

Five of the six goals Real Madrid have conceded this season have come in the opening 20 minutes of their games. Against Almería, they conceded after 3 minutes, against Getafe it took 11, Real Sociedad scored after 6 and Atlético did so in the 4th and 18th minutes. That is times where they have been easily exposed: “it’s something that we have talked about and we will continue to do so. A lot of the time the opposition get ahead early and we can only come back in some of the games”, said Ancelotti. It’s a question of mentality, one that is difficult for a coach to train.

What can he do? Motivate the players? They already should be: it’s a hugely serious point that has fingers over buttons ready to press down.

Real Madrid players out of form

The fact of the matter is that there are too many players in the Real Madrid team who are far away from their form that makes them unstoppable in a white shirt: Fede Valverde, known for his ability to find the net from anywhere, has not scored in 25 games after getting 12 goals last season.

But the main man in the dip in form is David Alaba, who was unrecognisable in the Derbi, beaten for both goals. There are players who have shown to possess such higher ceilings - Camavinga and Rodrygo to name two - and that is why the demands are so high.

Real Madrid are going through a period of uncertainty.
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Real Madrid are going through a period of uncertainty.OSCAR DEL POZOAFP

What style of play do Real Madrid have?

Looking towards the collective reasons, the midfield diamond simply does not convince. It leaves too many holes on the wings and it is exactly where Atlético hit them hard: three crosses and three goals. Ancelotti made the decision of a leader (which is not the same as a boss) to blame himself for the damning defeat. It was a brave gesture which, if not soon accompanied by results, looks useless.

The 4-3-2-1 looks weak and easily beatable right now, blown over like a house of straw. And the 4-3-1-2 version is not much tighter either: Rodrygo can’t find the spaces and the huge dependence on Jude Bellingham is already a worry. When the Englishman does not grab the game by the scruff of the neck, nobody else does either. He is Superman and teams know that a dash of kryptonite, blocking his powers, is all that they need to get their plan rolling into action. Ancelotti, for his part, knows the doubts that exists but refuses to change the plan.

Real Madrid’s goal scoring problems

Here the issue is divided into two: on one hand there is the absence of a number ‘9′, a key part of Real Madrid’s old system (Ancelotti asked for Kane in the summer and Joselu isn’t enough) and on the other, the fact that goalscoring boot laces are not being tied properly. Madrid are scoring only once every 11 shots, a hugely inflated number as last season they only needed 6. Against Union Berlin, for example, they needed 32 efforts before a last-gasp Bellingham effort was tipped over the line. And when it comes with a sleepy defence, it’s a mixture of madness.

It has been a strange 24 hours at the club, with a bad feeling that has lingered as though it comes with a certain smell. There is a sense of uncertainty after the failure at the first hurdle of the season-long project. Madrid are a team with plenty of weak points and a lot of cracks creeping in under the surface, one that makes too many errors. And those cracks might be the most worrying things of all.