El Centrocampista

KINGS OF THE ROAD – The Real Madrid juggernaut rolls on

Photograph: Getty Images

Another weekend, another away win for Real Madrid. The ‘merengues’ 1-0 win at Getafe on Saturday night was their eighth consecutive league success on their travels, just one short of the record established during the solitary season which Manuel Pelligrini spent at the helm.

Their total of 27 away points is the best in Europe, and they have actually conceded half as many goals in those eleven games as in their encounters at the Bernabeu.

The most significant statistic in the context of the title race is how this record compares to that of Barcelona. The ‘azulgrana’ have dropped thirteen points away from the Camp Nou, as opposed to the six which the league leaders have failed to collect. In November when Pep’s men visited the Coliseum, Getafe’s high energy approach proved so effective that they ran out of ideas long before the end of a 1-0 defeat.

On Saturday, although they hardly the set the world alight, Madrid got the job done thanks to a Sergio Ramos header, and managed to stop their opponents from registering a single shot on target. Ronaldo had a quiet night, maybe distracted by thoughts of what presents he was going to get for his 27th birthday yesterday.

Xabi Alonso was also unusually subdued, but this season there has almost always been someone to grasp the mettle when the big players have an off day, and on Saturday Mesut Ozil picked the perfect occasion to have his best game of the season. The 1-0 defeat at Levante which was followed by a goalless stalemate at Racing seem like a very long while ago now.

As with all successful sides, Mourinho’s men also had a couple of lucky breaks along the way. Only referee Ayza Gamez knows why he did not give the home side a penalty when Pepe’s hand stopped Diego Castro’s shot from giving Iker Casillas his only meaningful action of the encounter, whilst the injury to home full back Masilela with all three substitutes already used meant that Getafe played the closing stages of the match with ten men.

There was also a distinctly underwhelming feel to the whole occasion which can only have helped the visitors. The Coliseum is not a ground which lends itself well to creating a hostile atmosphere, but it was certainly noisy enough when Messi and co rolled up before Christmas.

However with the cheapest ticket costing 60 euros and the temperature below zero by the time the game kicked off at 10pm local time, it would seem that many of the casual supporters who might have been tempted to turn up instead opted for warmer and considerably cheaper locations to watch the game.

Those 13,000 hardy souls who did brave the cold were given little reason to get animated thanks to a rather timid approach by their side. It will certainly be a very different story in Madrid’s next game away from the Bernabeu, another short trip to the decidedly more raucous environs of the compact Estadio de Vallecas.

However despite this it would take a brave man to bet against the record being equalled in a fortnight, and Madrid fans will be confident of it being eclipsed when their team heads south to Seville to face Real Betis at the beginning of March. Two of the remaining six journeys after that will take them to Villarreal and Bilbao, grounds where Barcelona have already dropped four points in total.

If they can do better than that, it may well be that the result of the second ‘Clásico’ at the Camp Nou on the weekend of April 22nd will be irrelevant to the eventual outcome of the title race.


  1. madridista91

    6 February, 2012 at 20:30

    We will win the league this season. There is a mental strength now that has been lacking in the past few seasons. I agree that they weren’t spectacular at the weekend but as you said, we got the job done.

  2. Roberto C

    10 February, 2012 at 19:58

    Thanks for a great website.

    One thing though, if Real Madrid loose one and draw one one the road, that will mean they dropped 5 points, right? And not six?

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