Real Madrid are the most successful club in the history of the UEFA Champions League. But they have had a mixed start to this season, with a win over Inter Milan in the first match but losing to debutants Sheriff quite shockingly at home.
The Los Blancos have been a cruising form in the La Liga sitting at the top of the league and have scored the most number of goals with Karim Benzema in the form of his life. However, in addition to that Carlo Ancelotti has given special attention to the defence as well with the departures of big names like Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane both from the team.
David Alaba has been in the midst of this defensive re-build since his arrival from Bayern Munich this summer and has settled himself in the team quite comfortably. The 29-year-old has been a constant starter in both league and UCL.
We look at his UCL stats from this season.
Alaba has slotted himself as the left-sided centre-back in the back four of Ancelotti’s 4-3-3 system where he has been comfortable playing since his Bayern Munich days, though being originally a left-back. The Austrian has got an extremely high work rate with constantly covering a huge amount of area on the pitch. He has spent the majority of his time on the left side of the pitch in the defensive third relatively higher up the pitch closer to the centre – the red and orange areas in the above viz. However, he has a considerable amount of time in the opposition half as well constantly carrying the ball from the defence. The defender has also taken spaces near the left touch-line to provide the necessary width required by the team at times.
The Austrian is really calm and comfortable on the ball which is pretty much evident from his ball-carrying capabilities while being really hard to dispossess. In the two matches, he has attempted a total of 166 passes and completed them with 92% accuracy and utmost precision, averaging 83 passes per 90 with 97 touches on the ball. The majority of his passes have been played near the left side of the pitch including both the halves on the pitch. He has played more forward progressive passes than lateral passes while constantly trying to find the full-back pushing forward on the left flank. Alaba has also attempted cross-field balls to find the opposite full-back as well at certain times. The 29 year old himself has also delivered a few crosses himself with xT of 0.1250 at times.
He has engaged in a total of 11 duels in two matches coming out only 36% of the time. Most of his successful duels have in the defensive third, while he has not been very impressive in aerial duels with a success rate of 20% only. Alaba however, has recorded four clearances so far.
The 29-year-old has had only a few interceptions, the majority of them being inside the penalty box. He has not thrown away any penalties or silly fouls yet but has already got himself into the referee’s book once committing two fouls so far.
David Alaba has been a very reliable presence for Real Madrid in defence in terms of keeping possession or carrying the ball out of danger, but he has failed to replicate his league form in the UCL while it comes to defensive duties. He has been rather dull and it is pretty visible from Los Blancos’ performances. For a successful European campaign, Alaba has to get back to his best and show his experience when it is required the most.