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Zinedine Zidane must fix Real Madrid fast, but he's not solely to blame

The FC crew break down Real Madrid's latest setback, a home loss to Villarreal, and examine the persisting struggles of Cristiano Ronaldo.
After Real Madrid's first-ever home defeat to Villarreal in La Liga, Craig Burley questions whether Zinedine Zidane can turn the ship around.
Real Madrid's Zinedine Zidane cannot explain his team's struggles in front of goal following their shock defeat to Villarreal.

It's fair to say that Zinedine Zidane is currently under the most personal and professional pressure he's suffered since being sent off in the 2006 World Cup Final for head-butting Marco Materazzi.

From historically good: Eight trophies in his first two years at the helm of Real Madrid, the first man to win consecutive Champions Leagues and the author of Los Blancos status as Spanish and European champions for the first time since 1958, his team has nosedived.

Madrid languish in fourth, 19 points...

Suarez sparks Barcelona comeback win at Real Sociedad with brace, assist

Barcelona stormed back in the second half to end a seven-match league winless run at Real Sociedad's Anoeta Stadium with a 4-2 win.

Barcelona produced a stunning second-half performance to come from two goals down to beat Real Sociedad 4-2 on Sunday, ending a 10-year wait for a win at Anoeta in La Liga.

Barca's last win in the league in San Sebastian came in 2007, and they looked set for another defeat when Willian Jose and Juanmi gave the hosts a deserved two-goal advantage in the first half.

Paulinho pulled one back before the break, though, and Ernesto Valverde's side took over in the second half. Luis Suarez scored...

 By Matt McGinn

Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid wasteful again in defeat to Villarreal

After Real Madrid's first-ever home defeat to Villarreal in La Liga, Craig Burley questions whether Zinedine Zidane can turn the ship around.
Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score for the third match in a row as a late goal lifted Villarreal past Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid's chances of winning La Liga shrink even more after conceding a late winner to Villarreal's Pablo Fornals.
Real Madrid's chances of winning La Liga shrink even more after conceding a late winner to Villarreal's Pablo Fornals.

Real Madrid sunk deeper into depression as Pablo Fornals' late winner secured a first Liga victory for Villarreal at the Bernabeu. If Barcelona beat Real Sociedad on Sunday evening, Real Madrid will be closer to the relegation zone than first place.

Real MadridReal Madrid
VillarrealVillarreal
0
1
FT
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Positives

Statisticians will maintain that Madrid are creating enough chances to win matches, and at some point, their results will start to reflect that. They finished the match with an "expected goals" (xG) figure of 2.50.

Negatives

Villarreal...

Is Zinedine Zidane in danger of Real Madrid exit after Villarreal defeat?

After Real Madrid's first-ever home defeat to Villarreal in La Liga, Craig Burley questions whether Zinedine Zidane can turn the ship around.
Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score for the third match in a row as a late goal lifted Villarreal past Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid's Zinedine Zidane cannot explain his team's struggles in front of goal following their shock defeat to Villarreal.

MADRID, Spain -- Real Madrid are officially in crisis after Saturday afternoon's 0-1 La Liga defeat at home to Villarreal, and coach Zinedine Zidane is now in serious danger of losing his job, with his inability to even explain what is going wrong testing the nerves of everyone around the club.

Such a situation seemed almost impossible just last August, when Madrid were reigning Spanish and European champions, and Zidane looked to be the perfect manager for the Bernabeu dressing room's mix of...

 By Sid Lowe

After flopping at Atletico Madrid, future's bright for Vietto at Valencia

Vietto's hat-trick in his second game for Valencia speaks to his abundant talent.

Valencia manager Marcelino Garcia Toral turned to the bench at Mestalla, where his subs and his staff were sitting happily, and a grin shot across his face. "You see what a capricious son of a b---- football is?" he said.

To his left, Ezequiel Garay looked a little bemused, which they all were. But while the rest were bemused by what they had just seen, Garay was momentarily bemused by what he had just heard. "Why?" he asked.

Why?! Marcelino pointed towards the pitch, where Luciano Vietto had...

 By Rob Train

Real Madrid beating Villarreal a bad bet even with someone else's money

ESPN FC's Sid Lowe believes Real Madrid's inability to achieve results in La Liga is taking a mental toll on the players.

When Real Madrid host Villarreal on Saturday, one fortunate spectator will be treated to the VIP box and handed a free €10,000 bet as the winner of a competition organised by a Spanish betting company.

The bookmakers in question did not specify whether -- the winner was announced on Thursday -- gets to keep the stake but it's safe to assume he doesn't. Still, it's a free hit and he will pocket any winnings. Which raises the question: would you bet €10,000, even of somebody else's money,...