Are Real Madrid a dark horse in the title race?
Real Madrid have had quite a turbulent season and at one point they were sitting in 9th position after not winning in 5 La Liga matches. However, after that they fired their manager Lopetegui and placed the under 21 coach, Solari in charge until the end of the season. Since then the results and the style of play has changed. There have still been some shaky moments, such as their home loss to Real Sociedad last month but things are still better than they were at the beginning of the season.
Currently Madrid are 8 points behind Barcelona in first. Although this is still quite a big gap, Barcelona have also looked shaky this season and just drew at home to Valencia last weekend. Barcelona currently have a big reliance on Messi who has contributed to 48% of their goals. So, if he gets injured or loses form then Barcelona would be in trouble and Madrid could be there ready to pounce.
Madrid have definitely felt the effect of losing Ronaldo over the summer and their big names have not really stepped up. Benzema started the season slowly, however, he is been scoring goals more recently. Bale was the one who was supposed to fill the big shoes that was left by Ronaldo, but he has struggled with injuries and goals. There are rumors that the club are unhappy with Bale’s performances and that he could be sold in the summer. He needs to fight to keep his place in the starting 11 because Vazquez and Vinicius Jr. have been in good form. Vinicius has performed particularly well since Solari has taken over and looks like he could be a star for Madrid in the years to come.
This weekend Real face Atletico which will be a big game for both teams in their hunt for the title. If Real win it will put pressure on Barcelona and give the team lots of confidence, but if they lose then that could be the final straw and end their hopes of winning the league. This is why this match will be their biggest of the season and is a must win.