While Zinedine Zidane is continuing to insist on the signing of Paul Pogba on the final day of this transfer window, his Real Madrid side are still showing the same defects as last season. From the nine points available he’s already dropped four.
The Frenchman’s arrival wouldn’t solve all of the shortcomings of the team. They’re flat, slow and boring. They don’t exercise control over their games, they don’t play football, they lack visor and physical output.
They’re also lacking a coordinate system with planned pressure, something more than just running towards the opponent in possession like headless chickens with no structure. They’re lacking a method and they’re missing goals.
But, above all, they need to defend. A lot. They need their defenders to be focused, to be aggressive and to play with a plan and in an orderly fashion.
It’s a problem that’s existed for years, but now they’ve nobody who can score 50 goals so keeping clean sheets is essential. It’s significant that the best defender against Villarreal was Ferland Mendy.
There have been 21 games since Zidane returned. Of those, they’ve won eight, drawn six and lost seven. The balance of goals for and against is devastating: 36 scored to 35 conceded, and they’ve kept just five clean sheets.
On Sunday, Villarreal scored twice against Thibaut Courtois and it was too easy for them. This team is missing a lot more than Pogba.