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Real Madrid struggle at the beginning of the year on the road

The alarm bells are ringing for Real Madrid who face Villarreal in their first game of 2019 having won just eight of their 41 games played on the road at the start of a new year.

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Their form at home is contrasting, though, with Madrid winning all but one of their year-opening games at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.Santiago Solari has had his eyes on this game for some time now and not only because of their start-of-year struggles, but also because of the hangover that comes with playing in the Club World Cup.

Three without winningReal Madrid have had three consecutive starts to the year without a win, which suggests a correlation with coming into the new year after competing in the Club World Cup.

Far from greatEight wins from 41 is a poor return, paling in comparison to Barcelona winning 42.5 per cent of such matches while Atletico Madrid have been victorious 32 per cent of the time.

Madrid, meanwhile, only win 19 per cent of their annual debuts on the road.Curiously, both Barcelona and Atletico also play their first games of 2019 on the road with Los Rojiblancos at Sevilla while the Catalans take on Getafe.Barcelona have struggled latelyThe Blaugrana's numbers look better than Madrid's but in recent years they are not as good as they have previously been having not won any of their last four.

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It is in their favour, though, that Getafe tend to struggle to open a year at home, winning just one of their seven.Atletico remain reliableDiego Simeone's side have won their last two year openers on the road, in both 2014 and 2017 over Malaga and Eibar respectively.

The Sanchez Pizjuan will not be an easy place to go, however, and before last year's 5-3 derby defeat to Real Betis, Sevilla had not lost in 19 year openers at home.New Years change fortunesCelta Vigo do not like the turning of years, winning just 14 of their 52 first games (27 per cent), while Valladolid enjoy it even less with just nine wins from 42 (21 per cent).

Eibar present a curious case, losing their only home opener while winning the three they have played on the road. Levante are unbeaten at home while Rayo Vallecano have as many wins at home as they do away, which is similar to Villarreal.

Espanyol are the side to have lost the most (42), though they are unbeaten in three while Valencia and Real Madrid are kings of the draw with 21 each.

Credit: Marca.com

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