Dour Madrid derby sums up struggles of LaLiga's slow-starting Big Three

The 0-0 draw between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid in El Derbi was indicative of the starts each of LaLiga's Big Three has endured.

There was frustration on both sides as El Derbi ended in a draw.   -  Getty Images

Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid laboured to an uninspiring goalless draw in El Derbi on Saturday, the city rivals failing to live up to the Wanda Metropolitano stage as each of LaLiga's big hitters continues to stumble over the early season obstacles in the race for the title.

Light on incident but filled with frustrated faces on both sides, the 165th league meeting between Madrid and Atletico was not one that will live long in the memory.

It was, however, indicative of the starts both capital clubs, and indeed defending champion Barcelona, have endured to this point.

While Madrid leads the way and Atletico and Barca are each well positioned to mount a title challenge, by the lofty standards it has each struggled to find top form and all appear gripped by a malaise that will take some time to be lifted.

Seven games into the new season, the comparative records of Madrid, Atletico and Barcelona suggest this is a title race nobody wants to take control of.

Real Madrid: 1st (W4, D3, L0)

Unbeaten but unconvincing, Zinedine Zidane remains a man under pressure at the Santiago Bernabeu and a point away to its neighbour is unlikely to change that.

Held to draws by Real Valladolid and Villarreal, having to come from behind twice in the latter game, Madrid can consider itself fortunate to have not suffered defeat in the league. Its 3-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League produced significant cause for concern that has yet to be assuaged.

Atletico Madrid: 3rd (W4, D2, L1)

Though it lost Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona in the transfer window, the frustration for Atletico boss Diego Simeone will be that this is the second successive season in which it has failed to take advantage of underwhelming starts from the Blaugrana and Madrid. Its performance at the Metropolitano was a far cry from the 7-3 hammering it dished out to Los Blancos in the International Champions Cup, with this display another case of Atletico not producing when it counts.

Simeone's men beat Madrid 4-2 in the UEFA Super Cup last season only to fall flat in the league, and it has now not beaten its arch-rival in seven LaLiga derbies. The hope will be that Atletico's form will improve as star signing Joao Felix grows more comfortable in Spanish football.

Barcelona: 4th (W4, D1, L2)

With Lionel Messi blighted by fitness problems, Barca has looked a long way from its best, and the result has been increased scrutiny on coach Ernesto Valverde. The warning signs were there from the off as Barca was beaten 1-0 by Athletic Bilbao on the first day of the season and it has continued to look vulnerable since.

Osasuna held it to a 2-2 draw while surprise package Granada claimed a shock 2-0 win over the champion last week. Saturday's 2-0 defeat of Getafe marked the first time it has kept a clean sheet in the league this season, with the emergence of teenager Ansu Fati the primary bright spot from a start that was been well below par.

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