After two impressive victories got their La Liga campaign off to a dream start, Real Madrid’s 4-1 win over Leganes continued the good form under Julen Lopetegui which has taken them into the international break with confidence flying. Here, our match analysis will use statistics to show just how impressive Real Madrid were in their win, with Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos all on the scoresheet.
Building blocks are already in place
Real Madrid’s change in style was already evident in just his second fixture in charge at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, even to the extent that Julen Lopetegui’s team were setting new records. One of those was for the number of passes, which at 799 completed out of 870 was more than the team have ever managed in 90 minutes before, surpassing any figure set during the era of Zinedine Zidane.
Developing a style which many have likened to Barcelona‘s approach, particularly under Pep Guardiola, Los Blancos were incisive in their approach with the trident front three looking deadly cutting inside with short and quick passing moves and linking with overlapping full-backs.
It remains early days, but Real Madrid’s domination of possession and command of the ball with their free-flowing passing is already becoming a joy to watch and producing some high-quality football with impressive results to match.
Benzema will be more important than Bale
With Cristiano Ronaldo still without a goal in Turin, many eyes have been on whether Karim Benzema or Gareth Bale will be the man to step up in his absence. Early on, both have been prolific, but a closer look shows why it is the Frenchman who will carry the greater weight and responsibility of replacing his goal tally.
Bale’s contribution was vastly different, despite contributing an impressive opening goal inside the box with a smart volley which left Ivan Cuellar with no chance. Other than that and one other attempt, much of Bale’s influence came from out wide. Benzema was the man in the middle looking to finish off chances and produce the final touch, whilst it was the former Tottenham man drifting wide and delivering balls into the box.
If this is to be the case week in and week out, then it is clear who Lopetegui sees as the main man in attack when it comes to providing the goals. Both have looked liberated and contributed plenty in terms of goals and more already this season, but it is Benzema who will likely lead the race for the Pichichi.
What happened to the summer signings?
Neither Vinicius Junior nor Alvaro Odriozola made the bench for Los Blancos, whilst perhaps less surprisingly, Mariano Diaz failed to get off the bench. With none of the trio having made their debuts for the club since joining, in any competition, let alone La Liga, there may be increasing concern that time is passing by and Julen Lopetegui is still yet to turn to his new recruits.
Thibaut Courtois did have his first appearance in the club shirt, taking Keylor Navas’ spot despite showing off his award as UEFA’s Goalkeeper of the Year before kick-off. The Belgian looked calm and assured throughout, though there was little he could do about the fact that he conceded the first shot he faced as Guido Carrillo converted from the penalty spot.
Defence is the major concern
If there is a chink in Real Madrid’s armour to date, it will be the fact that goals are being conceded. To date, only two. But, to date, Real Madrid have only faced Getafe, Girona and Leganes in La Liga.
It was a clumsy challenge from Casemiro which allowed Leganes to equalise in the first half from the penalty spot and Lopetegui would expect more from his key and experienced players than to allow such basic errors to cost his team so dearly.