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Champions League: Real Madrid Wins But Are Still All Bark and Very Little Bite

Real Madrid beat AJ Auxerre in their Tuesday Champions League match in their now typical 2010 fashion. Lots of possession, some opportunities and very few goals.

Madrid possessed the ball for 70% of the game and had 19 shots compared to Auxerre's 9 shots. Yet anyone that watched the game could tell you that even though Madrid had a lot of possession and shots, they had very few great opportunities.

Granted, Gonzalo Higuain did have a great opportunity in the first half where his shot was blocked by a defender on the line. There were other good moments as well, but you have to expect more out of a team that possesses the ball for 70% of the game and has so many talented players.

It also wouldn't be as big of an issue if this was an isolated incident or one time event. But Real Madrid's lack of scoring production has been an issue and their main cause of concern thus far all season.

Jose Mourinho finally expressed his concerns and feelings about the lack of goals after Real Madrid was unable to score last week against lowly Levante in their La Liga match-up. In speaking about that game Mourinho said:

"We created so many chances, some very good, and obviously I'm worried because you need to score to win. Every point counts, but for us every game we play is one we have to win. So these are two points less than we could have. We're not happy about earning only one point because we must win every match.''

In preparation for the Champions League match against AJ Auxerre Mourinho tried to mix things up and went with Karim Benzema as a starter hoping that he would produce a spark.

Unfortunately for Benzema he looked somewhat lost for much of the game. Not sure if it's his youth or lack of playing time, but he's never seemed to gel or be on the same page with Higuain or the other players. He wasn't terrible last night, but didn't quite produce the spark Mourinho was probably hoping for.

Not that the other players were much better. All the players seem to struggle when they get in and around the box. There are opportunities, but most chances seem to end with a bad pass or Ronaldo getting frustrated and blasting a shot from outside the 18 yard box.

Despite the lack of scoring concerns, there are plenty of bright spots thus far for Real:

1. The defense is much better.

Probably a result of the return of Pepe and shifting Sergio Ramos to play central defense with Pepe. Last year Iker Casillas had to make 2-3 amazing saves a game to make up for Real's faulty defense. This year has been very different.

2. They have a loaded roster.

Madrid isn't like Liverpool or other teams that are struggling and don't have options or solutions. They have players, the just need to find the right combination. Kaka will return soon and he might help. Ozil, although he didn't start last night, has been amazing thus far for the team. He has created numerous opportunities for the forwards. Once he can get on the same page with Ronaldo and Higuain, the scoring flood gates could burst open.

3. They have Jose Mourinho.

He doesn't call himself The Great One for no reason. If anyone can figure out the right combination of players and control all the egos on the roster and get everyone on the same page, it's Mourinho. He's done it multiple times before, no reason to think he won't be able to do it with this talented squad.

Yet the scoring is a concern. Mainly because it needs to get resolved soon. Madrid can get by with one goal against opponents like Auxerre and it can even afford a tie to Levante only because La Liga is pretty weak this year.

But Madrid doesn't spend the money to beat Auxerre and do well in La Liga.

Madrid spends money and brings in Mourinho to win the Champions League and beat Barcelona and win La Liga.

One goal might get you a victory against Auxerre, but it likely won't be enough against Inter, Chelsea, Man U or Barcelona in the knock out stages of the Champions League or El Clasico.

Especially since none of these teams fear Madrid.

Surely they all respect Madrid and the players on the roster. But Madrid has been eliminated from the Champions League in the round of 16 five years in a row. Barcelona has won La Liga the past two years. Teams know that Madrid is a tough opponent, but not unbeatable.

Madrid been a lot of bark and hype, but no bite and results. Hopefully that changes soon. Otherwise, despite the many changes, they will be the same dog as always.

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