Real Madrid missing killer instinct as another opportunity slips away

The champions were held to a 0-0 by Athletic Club despite dominating in Bilbao and failed to capitalise on Barcelona's draw against Celta Vigo.    It seemed as if Real Madrid's title hopes were alive again. Barcelona's second successive draw in the Primera Division meant Los Blancos could close the gap to six points by beating Athletic Club at San Mames on Saturday. But it was another opportunity missed in the end.

Zinedine Zidane's side were without Gareth Bale, rested as a precaution after returning from injury impressively against Fuenlabrada in the Copa del Rey on Tuesday night - and how he was missed in the Basque Country.

Isco is a fantastic footballer, but Madrid's attack lacks dynamism and pace in his presence. Particularly away from home, Bale's running can help to stretch rival defences and provide space for Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. Instead, it was all too predictable.

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