Real Madrid have enjoyed a great start to their 2021-22 La Liga campaign. They lead second-placed Sevilla, who have a game in hand, by eight points after 19 games. They have also impressed in the UEFA Champions League, winning five of their six group games.
La Liga has been one of the most entertaining leagues since the turn of the century. That is thanks to the long list of superstars who've featured in the competition over the years.
However, the league hasn't been very competitive, as traditional heavyweights Real Madrid and Barcelona have dominated the competition in recent years. In the 21st century, only four different teams have lifted the league title. Barcelona (10) and Real Madrid have accounted for 17 of the 21 wins; Atletico Madrid and Valencia, with two apiece have accounted for the other four.
Real Madrid have won the league just three times in the last ten years. However, under the returning Carlo Ancelotti, they have looked sharp this term. As they head into 2022 at the top of the league standings, here's a look at five reasons why Los Blancos could win the 2021-22 La Liga title:
#5 Title rivals have been inconsistent thus far
Lady luck seems to be smiling on Real Madrid this season, as they have enjoyed a great campaign in La Liga thus far. More importantly, their title charge has also been aided by poor performances by other contenders like Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
Atletico, the reigning champions, have not been able to replicate their title-winning form from the last campaign. Most notably, their robust defence has suffered this season owing to persistent injuries to key first-team players.
Their season took a turn for the worse last month when Diego Simeone's men lost all of their league games in December. They are a whopping 17 points behind leaders Real Madrid, with 20 games to go.
Meanwhile, Barcelona are a point behind Atletico, and have also been unconvincing in their outings thus far. To illustrate their struggles this term, Lionel Messi, who left them in the summer for PSG, was the club's top scorer in 2021.
#4 Real Madrid's transition play has been outstanding this season
Real Madrid's stats speak for themselves, as they finished 2021 as the top-scoring side in the Spanish top flight with 41 goals.
They also boast the second-best defensive record, conceding only 16 times in 19 games. Only Sevilla (13) have conceded fewer goals than the record La Liga winners this campaign.
One of the standout factors this season has been Real Madrid's effectiveness on the counter-attack. David Alaba's arrival in the backline and the presence of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos has allowed for accurate passes into the final third from defensive positions.
Vinicius Junior has linked up well in the final third, where his pace has allowed him to chase down through-balls. Karim Benzema's goals in the Madrid derby was an example of how Real Madrid can create goalscoring chances in an instant.
Marco Asensio released Vinicius on the flanks, and the Brazilian delivered an accurate cross to the Frenchman, who made no mistake with his finish.
#3 Real Madrid have delivered strong performances against their title rivals
Real Madrid have lost just once in the league this season. Apart from second-placed Sevilla, every other team has lost at least four games in the Spanish top flight.
The logic is simple: if you keep winning games while your opponents drop points, the league title is invariably yours. While each win adds three points to a team's tally, some wins matter more than others.
In their ongoing La Liga campaign thus far, Real Madrid have won their games against eight of the nine teams in the upper half of the table, with Villarreal holding them to a goalless draw in September.
Their wins include a 2-0 triumph in the Madrid derby, a 2-1 win in El Clasico and also success against in-form Sevilla and Real Betis. Performances in key fixtures like these have allowed Real Madrid to stay well ahead of their title contenders.
#2 Real Madrid's success has been built upon many on-pitch partnerships
The exploits of Benzema and Vinicius in front of goal have ensured that Real Madrid have the most in-form attacking duo in the league at the moment. Luckily, they can also count upon fruitful partnerships in every part of the pitch this term.
Eder Militao and David Alaba's partnership has been a fruitful one at the heart of defence. That has ensured that the departures of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane have not left a huge void in the defensive third.
Militao and Alaba have complemented each other well, with Alaba being the more productive one. He often launches long balls forward while Militao operates as the defensive rock, anticipating and thwarting opponent moves and passes.
In midfield, they have had a formidable partnership between Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos once again. This is the seventh season the trio has played together, and have continued to impress.
Casemiro is third in successful tackles in the league (2.9 per 90), while Kroos leads the league in average passes per game (85) and passing accuracy (94.2). Modric can still pull the strings from the middle of the park, also registered four league assists for the team this campaign.
#1 Real Madrid's attack has impressed this season
Carlo Ancelotti's biggest achievement this season has been getting the best out of the young players at the club who were sidelined in the last few seasons. Vinicius Jr's incredible form this campaign is a testament to the Italian's positive impact in the team.
Ancelotti has also allowed Marco Asensio to flourish. He has scored five goals in the league this season, and is just one goal away from his best-ever outing in a Spanish top-flight campaign.
When a team regularly outscores their opponents, it's often enough to rack up wins, something Real Madrid have managed consistently this season. They have averaged over two goals per game in the league. More importantly, they have not been overly dependent on Benzema in the final third, as Vinicius has also emerged as a viable option.
Real Madrid are on track to beat their tally of 67 goals from the last campaign. They have managed 41 in 19 games thus far. Their prowess in the final third could well lead them to their second league title in three years this summer.