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UEFA Champions League

Home form a concern for Zinedine Zidane ahead of clash with Manchester City

04:25 EAT 26/02/2020
Santiago Bernabeu Real Madrid PSG Champions League 14022018
Real Madrid have slacked off in front of their home fans which should worry Zidane...

The prospect of facing Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu would send shivers down the spine of even the European elites.

Juanito, former Real Madrid forward, after a first leg 2-0 defeat to Inter Milan in the 1984/85 European Cup had warned, "90 minutes at the Bernabeu is a very long time." In the return leg, Madrid decimated Inter 3-0 and progressed to the final. 

Although Juanito and his phrase still echoes around the streets of the Spanish capital, the gates of the fortress have become vulnerable in the last couple of seasons. In 2019, Los Blancos lost six games and drew on four occassions at home, which is a damning statistic for a club of Madrid's stature. 

The record European champions were brought down on their knees when they were thrashed 4-1 by Ajax in Champions League, 3-0 by arch-rivals Barcelona in Copa Del Rey and even sides like Real Sociedad, Girona, and Real Betis walked away with a win.

In this season, Belgium's Club Brugge could have also pocketed the three points if they had not squandered away a 2-0 lead. 

Although Zinedine Zidane has seen an upturn in the club's form, the Frenchman is yet to improve their home form. In the domestic league, his men have already dropped eight points at the Chamartin, and were recently knocked out from the Copa by Sociedad which further emphasizes the need to improve. 

What is more concerning that they have dropped all the points against teams from the bottom half of the table. The intensity seems to drop off at crucial junctures which allows the opposition to make a comeback. 

Against Manchester City, Madrid can hardly afford to lose concentration. They must remain on their toes for the entire 90 minutes as the likes of Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne do not need a second-invitation to punish even the slightest errors. 

Sergio Ramos looked helplessly from the presidential suite as Ajax tore apart the Merengues and dumped them out of the competition last time out at the same stage. This time the onus will be on the skipper to marshall his defense with all his experience if Madrid need to keep a clean sheet against one of the fiercest attacks in Europe.

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