Graham Hunter explains why Real Madrid have made such a slow start

Our European football correspondent picks out the issues that have left them seven points down on Barca already

BY Raf Diallo 15:01 Friday 22 September 2017, 15:01 22 Sep 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo (forward; Real Madrid) in action during La Liga match between Real Madrid and Real Betis Balompie at Santiago Bernabeu on September 20, 2017 in Madrid (© Jack Abuin via ZUMA Wire)

When the new season began, the expectation was that La Liga and Champions League holders Real Madrid would blaze a trail this season and leave Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and co trailing in their wake. 

However, the way that this La Liga season has started has shredded any such notions with Barcelona winning five from five and Real still without a home win this season.

Indeed, after two draws at home, Zinedine Zidane's side suffered a 1-0 defeat to Real Betis thanks to a last minute Antonio Sanabria header, the first time the Sevillan side had won at the Santiago Bernabeu for 19 years. 

But for Real, it leaves them seven points shy of Barcelona, albeit at this early point of the season.

Our European football correspondent Graham Hunter joined us to discuss some of the issues of the week including the Neymar vs Cavani fallout at Paris Saint-Germain and the political situation in Catalonia, but also explained the La Liga sitation.

Real have had to deal with numerous suspensions during the start of the season including Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"These things are self inflicted," said Graham of the suspensions.

"They haven't helped. The injuries have been piled one injury on top of another and the crucial thing is there's not a whole lot wrong. You saw that when they started by winning two trophies season.

"They beat Manchester United and deserved to win the European Super Cup. They beat Barcelona by 5-1 [on aggregate] and hugely deserved to win the Spanish Super Cup. There has been a millimeter of relaxation, you can see, but no more than a millimeter. 

"And the only big thing that's wrong is that they haven't been putting their chances away. They're creating chances to win. The games that have caused them the seven point deficit are the 2-2 draw against Valencia at the Bernabeu, the 1-1 draw against Levante at the Bernabeu and Tuesday night's remarkable defeat at the Bernabeu in the 94th minute because in each game they've spurned six or seven scoreable chances."  

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