Will Real be the real deal in UCL?

2014-09-18 01:26

The Champions of Europe were in action in the first match day of the UEFA Champions League against a rather smaller Basel FC side. The Champions ran out 5-1 winners in the end with goals coming from 5 different players. Could the European Champions be stretching their muscle in Europe to be the first side to defend a Champions League title? Their recent form has left a lot to be desired but in the same breath, they have a pretty group of attacking players.

The first problem you will see with Real Madrid is their lack of balance in the side.

The attack is pretty good (Understatement of the year, I know) boasting the likes of Colombian Golden boot winner, James Rodriguez, speedy Gareth Bale and the Commander and World Player of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo just to name a few. Madrid's defence is really good (on paper) but are struggling to maintain clean sheets. Iker Casillas has carried his bad World Cup form into domestic football but he is not the only player responsible. Sergio Ramos and Pepe have been cited going too far and being caught out of position. Marcelo is a winger rather than a defender. Real's issues at the back need to be sorted out. With Carvajal's injury, Sergio Ramos should move to right back while Raphael Varane moves into centre back with Pepe. A big problem in the Real Madrid line-up is the hole left by Xabi Alonso. Alonso offered protection to the back four which made a big difference in the winning side from last season. Liverpool know very well what happens when Xabi Alonso leaves a team.

Looking at the other powerhouses in Europe, there is a lot of hunger for this season's Champions League trophy. Teams like Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Barcelona and PSG are up for the challenge and will not back down. The sides mentioned have been working on getting the balance right. Barcelona have got a young exciting talent of Munir as well as the infamous-player-biting-goal-scoring machine Luis Suarez. Real Madrid's rivals, Barcelona have done well domestically and could be one of Real's thorns. Bayern boast the attack force of Muller, Thiago and Lewandowski while Chelsea and PSG have the likes of Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Edison Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovich. This is just to show that Madrid's attack is not too far from the rest of the challengers.

Madrid should win their group easily, with Liverpool being the only side who could challenge them for top spot but is highly unlikely. Real Madrid should start asking themselves questions about the overall team set up. Who can they buy as cover for the back four? Will the out of favour Sami Khedira be able to do the job? Real Madrid should answer these questions before the knock-out phase of the UCL. My prediction is that Madrid will not win the Champions League again.

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