The production of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo has dropped off significantly since the start of the season. If the forwards’ current form continues, it will undoubtedly effect any chance Real Madrid has of winning the La Liga title this year.
Following yesterday’s 6-1 win over Rayo Vallecano, Barcelona leapfrogged Real Madrid in the La Liga table for the first time since Matchweek 10.
Madrid were by far the best team on the planet during the first half of the season as they went on a record breaking 22-match winning streak in all competitions. That run culminated in late December with the Spanish side being crowned FIFA Club World Cup champions.
But Madrid have not been the same team since the start of the New Year. Simply looking at the results doesn’t explain the issues at the club. Since returning from the winter break, their record is eight wins, 2 draws and four losses in all competitions. However, the production of their front three – specifically Cristiano Ronaldo – has noticeably dropped off.
From the start of the season until late December, Bale, Ronaldo and Benzema scored 39 goals in 15 league matches: Ronaldo-24, Benzema-8 and Bale-7; an average of 2.6 goals per game. But since the beginning of January, the attacking trio have only combined for 13 goals in ten La Liga games: Ronaldo-5, Benzema-5 and Bale-3; an average of 1.3 goals per game.
Ronaldo’s production has noticeably dropped off since taking home his third Ballon d’Or award. The Portuguese forward failed to score during the Club World Cup and has not managed a shot on target in four league matches since January. His average shots on target has fallen from 3.7 per game before Christmas, to 1.4 since the start of the New Year.
Head Coach Carlo Ancelotti has acknowledged the fact that his team’s dip in form is a result of its faltering attack. However, the Italian boss is finding it hard to explain why his players are underperforming.
“I think the problem we are having at the moment is quite clear,” Ancelotti said following this weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao. “It is not a defensive problem, it’s an offensive problem. We are not finding a way through like we did in the games before.
“We’ve only scored one goal from a penalty in two games. That is the problem we have to fix. We lack efficiency up front.
“There is no connection; there is too much individual play, we are looking for individual solutions. We need another way of attacking, more combinations between players, to try to play quicker and with fewer touches.
“It is quite confusing what we are doing when we are attacking at the moment.”