real-madrid.jpg

Real Madrid's winless streak in La Liga is at three games after Los Blancos were stunned by Deportivo Alaves at home on Saturday, 2-1. Eden Hazard came off injured in the first half, Real went down 2-0, yet almost had another epic comeback, nearly getting an equalizer on the last kick of the game. 

Lucas Perez scored a penalty five minutes in, and Joselu made it 2-0 early in the second half as the visitors outplayed a Sergio Ramos-less Real Madrid. Isco came on as a substitute and hit the crossbar with a fantastic shot in the fifth minute of added time, nearly helping his team steal a point in what was another unconvincing performance for Real. 

Zinedine Zidane's team had a chance to pull into third place with a win but remain in fourth place with a 5-2-3 record. Alaves is now in ninth place and hasn't lost in its last five matches.

Here are three takeaways from the match.

A complete dud after Inter win

Real completely handled Inter Milan just days ago, creating chances on the attacking end but also defending quite well. This match was just littered with missed opportunities and mistakes on both ends. Whether it was Toni Kroos' two misses from inside the box or just failing to keep shape defensively, Real went from a UCL threat to an average La Liga team in just a matter of days. 

The scoreline was a fair reflection of the match. The draw was there for the rescuing as Mariano's header was hit off the line in the dying minutes, but after Thibaut Courtois did this early in the second half, and points for Madrid would have been highway robbery.

You can't expect to win when you give away a goal like that. And that mistake meant that even though Madrid outshot Alaves 20-11 it was the underdogs who had the better of the xG with 2.21 to Madrids 1.79. It was a forgettable night for Zidane and company.

Hazard injury woe once again 

Here we go again. Hazard seriously has had more injuries than goals since arriving from Chelsea in 2019. The Belgian came off 28 minutes in, 10 minutes after he received a challenge that saw him twist his ankle. It's unclear if this is exactly where the injury took place, but it seems probable. Here's a look:

His status for the Champions League match at Shakhtar Donetsk midweek is up in the air, but if he doesn't play, will it really make all that much of a difference? This is a club that seems to have gotten used to him being out. After all, he's missed 36 games for the club, so it may just be business as usual in what's been a rocky tenure in Madrid. Expect Vinicius Junior to potentially start in his place.

Alaves deserved the result

Deportivo Alaves has had trouble holding on to leads, but not here. Just a week after blowing a 2-0 lead against Valencia, they managed to hold on and deservedly so. Alaves had actually blown leads in three straight matches, all resulting in draws, but this one was different. In recent matches the defense had looked tired and reacted slowly to balls from out wide, but they were sharper, timed their challenges better and played a clean, efficient match when it mattered. Perhaps they could have closed down better on shots from range, but little Alaves went to Madrid, controlled the flow of the game and took three points they certainly deserved.