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Real Madrid: Showing Offensive Excellence, but Struggling to Defend

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 02: Karim Benzema (L) of Real Madrid CF competes for the ball with Roberto Tashorras (R) of Rayo Vallecano de Madrid during the La Liga match between Rayo Vallecano de Madrid and Real Madrid CF  at Estadio de Vallecas on November 2, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Tre' AtkinsonFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2013

Real Madrid was able to put three goals past Rayo Vallecano on Saturday night with Cristiano Ronaldo leading the way. The Portuguese winger has now scored five goals in the last two games with Real Madrid netting 10 in total.

Gareth Bale has also been on display in the last two matches, scoring two goals and giving four assists. The duo is beginning to work beautifully together and is showing just how deadly they can be.

But the rise in form of Ronaldo and Bale is not the only thing going well at the moment.

With the incredible form showed by the Real Madrid duo, others have stepped up as well. Karim Benzema has scored three goals and given two assists over the last two matches while Angel di Maria, Luka Modric and Isco have all been performing wonderfully.

For manager Carlo Ancelotti, everything is going beautifully offensively.

Real Madrid is scoring goals in bulk and is showing that, at their best, no one is able to defend their offensive onslaught.

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 02:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF celebrates scoring his team's third goal with team mate Gareth Bale during the La Liga match between Rayo Vallecano de Madrid and Real Madrid CF  at Estadio de Vallecas on November 2, 2013
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

It would seem that all is well in Madrid. Ronaldo and Bale are on form, are getting help and opponents cannot seem to stop them. Yet, there is still one issue that has yet to be addressed.

Despite Real Madrid scoring 10 goals in their last two matches, they have also conceded five times. It isn’t just the numbers of goals that are worrying, but the poor display in front of the keeper.

There seems to be a bit of complacency. With the offense scoring so much, the defense appears to be more relaxed, as conceding goals hasn’t actually hurt the team’s results. But where there is complacency, there is also danger.

Though Real Madrid continues to prove just how strong they are going forward, their defense could be their downfall this year.

Dani Carvajal has yet to regain the form he showed in Germany last season while Alvaro Arbeloa is still a weak point in the back line. Marcelo has been bright going forward this season, but his defensive contributions have not been impressive.

Sergio Ramos continues to be the most relied upon center-back, but has not showed his best this season. Ancelotti has yet to find the right partner for Sergio Ramos as Pepe and Raphael Varane have not been at their finest to this point.

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 02: Cristiano Ronaldo (R) of Real Madrid CF competes for the ball with Roberto Roman (2L) of Rayo Vallecano de Madrid and his team mate Roberto Tashorras (L) during the La Liga match between Rayo Vallecano de Madrid and Real Madri
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

The problem is that the Real Madrid defense will hold up to most competition in Spain right now, but will not do so as the season wears on.

The complacency that the defense has showed against smaller clubs is not healthy and could creep into bigger matches when the team cannot afford to concede easy goals.

On top of the defense problems is the issue of focus and control.

The defense has committed far too many errors this season and is making silly fouls. For a team that struggles against set pieces, Real Madrid has given opponents far too many chances.

In the last two matches, Real Madrid has seen four penalties given against them. That is a major problem and very indicative of the lack of composure for the back line.

The midfield must also contribute defensively to give Real Madrid more control. Against Rayo Vallecano, things were going very well until Xabi Alonso was subbed out. Once that happened, the flood gates were open for the defense to be attacked in numbers.

Though the offense continues to blow opponents out of the water, it may not be enough. With La Decima the ultimate goal this year, Real Madrid’s defense must improve or the problems could come back to seriously hurt the Spanish giants.

Real Madrid has everything to make this a successful season. La Decima has never been closer, but Ancelotti must work out the wrinkles if Los Blancos are to achieve what they should this year.

*All statistics courtesy of


What do you make of Real Madrid’s defensive issues? Will those problems hurt the club in the long run? Leave your thoughts and comments below!


Tre’ Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on Real Madrid and La Liga!

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