Real Madrid and Barcelona in great distress


LaLiga has a fresh look in 2016/17; Sevilla are riding high in the top-three, Eibar and Leganes sit comfortably in the top-half, and Atletico Madrid lead the way after seven games.The notable absentees from the top are no doubt Real Madrid and Barcelona, the latter of which have laboured to fourth spot, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar floudering under the weight of early expectation.Not since 2005/06, 11 seasons ago, have the supposed Spanish duopoly started so poorly in the league, that year Los Blancos were already on the end of two defeats by this stage, Barcelona themselves only managing two wins.Key men are having a great impact on Madrid via their absence, as Casemiro, Luka Modric, and even Marcelo’s boots have been nigh-on impossible to fill for the likes of Isco, Mateo Kovacic, and Nacho Fernandez.Unquestionably, the Blaugrana are worse off without Lionel Messi, who’s been battling fitness concerns all season, but Sunday’s 4-3 loss to Celta Vigo opened up their threadbare defence when Samuel Umtiti and Javier Mascherano are out the side.Much, much more football is to be played in the months ahead, yet few could have predicted such a predicament that Spain’s two giant clubs find themselves in ahead of the second international break.


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