It’s been a long, hard season for Real Madrid already, and we’re only just over the halfway stage in La Liga.

A frankly pathetic start to the campaign under Julen Lopetegui looked to have some green shoots of recovery once Santiago Solari was installed. But after an initial burst of success, he too found his players often couldn’t string two passes together.

What Next For Solari?

Though there’s been no official word on a new coach being installed at the end of the season, the manner of Real’s defeats at Eibar and against CSKA Moscow (both 3-0) won’t have gone down well with Florentino Perez and his board.

Real Madrid

Even their Club World Cup win seems to have only delayed the inevitable, whatever the official line might be.

Further under-par showings against Villarreal and Real Sociedad only served to highlight that Los Blancos got it wrong – again – when appointing a new first-team coach. However, to Solari’s credit, he’s managed to get his staff fully motivated again.

A Corner Turned?

A second leg Copa del Rey loss to Leganes aside, in a game that was already won in the first leg, Real have upped their levels significantly.

Winning away at Real Betis is no mean feat and to follow it up with a decisive 2-0 league victory against Sevilla… are we finally seeing a ‘rebirth’ of sorts at the Santiago Bernabeu?

Real Madrid

It’s true that if this is the start of one of Real’s epic unbeaten runs, it’s long overdue, but they are tucked nicely in third place and aren’t yet out of the title race.

The 10 points that they are behind current leaders Barcelona isn’t insurmountable, particularly if they get some momentum going. What’s more, the expectation levels aren’t anywhere close to normal which will benefit Real too.

Real Madrid Must Capitalise

Their next league game is against Espanyol, whom they lost against in the same fixture last season but, prior to that defeat, hadn’t been beaten by Los Periquitos since October 2007.

It would therefore be a surprise if Real didn’t take another three points, and with Barca having to negotiate a tricky match at Girona, the gap could potentially be down to seven points by the weekend.

Alaves have fallen away somewhat and Levante, with respect, shouldn’t pose too much of a threat.

With the Madrid derby and Girona as two potential ‘six pointers’ before El Clasico at the beginning of March, Solari does have his work cut out.

However, if Real apply the same energy and confidence in those performances as they did against both Betis and Sevilla, there’s no reason why they can’t head into the business end of the campaign in a healthy position.

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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