January 2015 has been the worst start to a calendar year for Real Madrid in the past five years.
Multiple things should be taken into consideration before coming to the conclusion that Real haven’t been upto their best – more games, less time to rejuvenate, Carlo Ancelotti’s reluctance to rotate and this being a post World Cup season so batteries are expected to be charged down.
Upon returning from minting money trip to the Middle East to face Milan in a friendly after the winter break, Madrid had a difficult task of facing Valencia in-order to keep our 22-game winning run going. But despite the lead, Real didn’t make most of the chances and lost 2-1. If that wasn’t a miserable start enough, there was a loss to Atletico Madrid to content with. Again. This time in the Copa by a 2-0 margin at the Estadio Vicente Calderon. If 1-0 seemed like a do-able task to overturn, Los Rojiblancos added the second late on to make it a tough ask to progress in the competition.
3-0 win over Espanyol did provide some respite, plus the fact that Real played at home. Atletico were up next and much show was made of the spirit of Juanito and AS journalists claiming there would be a 3-0 win for the home side. But Fernando Torres had other ideas. El Niño scored two early goals on either side of the half to make it a mountain to climb.
Then on, Real have posted three wins – Getafe and Cordoba (both away) and Real Sociedad (at home). But for thumping Real Sociedad 4-1, the other two weren’t easy wins. The 3-0 scoreline over Getafe suggests otherwise but Madrid struggled for an hour or more to get a breakthrough. Cordoba was another case of preposterous attacking play. So much so that a frustrated Cristiano Ronaldo kicked out at an opponent which deservedly saw him get a red card and a two-game suspension.
Upon comparing the starts of the past five years, 2015 has produced the worst win percentage for the club – 57.14%. 2013 (62.50%) and 2011 (66.67%) were slightly better.
In comparison, 2014 was a splendid start to the year. The club played eight games and won them all. To add to the euphoria, the Whites scored 20 goals (@2.5 goals per game) and conceded none. And they weren’t easy games either. Two were Atletico Madrid in the Copa and one an away trip to the always difficult Reyno de Navarra (or El Sadar Stadium) to face Osasuna.
Also worth noting is that this time around, Real have played seven games in January as against a high of nine games in 2011.
In terms of goals scored, Madrid have scored at a decent more than two goals a game – much better than a 1.5 a game of 2011 which saw three games being won by a 1-0 margin. As far as goals conceded is concerned, Real have been pretty careful with that too – eight goals (1.14 goals a game). 2012 saw marginally more being conceded.
You can download the entire number crunching from below.