Real Madrid started their Champions League campaign with a slender 1-0 victory over Inter Milan at San Siro. It took them 89 minutes to secure the winner and they were not quite convincing in their stride throughout the match. Inter Milan came close four times to scoring a goal but Thibaut Courtois’ brilliant performance kept them at bay.
Madrid were unable to create many goalscoring chances and had just two shots on target. On the other hand, with their last night victory over Valencia at Mestalla, they have climbed on top of the La Liga table.
Karim Benzema like the past two seasons has been still their best performer this season as well with 11 direct goal contributions: six goals and five assists.
Benzema was not on his best against Inter and Real Madrid struggled to score goals. We look at a few stats to analyse his performance from last week’s UCL clash.
Karim Benzema failed to get himself in good goalscoring positions yielding an xG as low as 0.09 in the match. He managed to take just two shots in the match but none of them were on target.
He had only 4.787 touches in the opposition box which is extremely less for a number nine. His 100% successful dribbling rate was the only positive to take away from his game.
Benzema could not position himself in the high xG zones while taking shots inside the box. Both of his shots came from the edge of the penalty area and outside the box and he could not manage to score.
It is clear from above that Benzema had to drop deep into the midfield and sometimes even in the defensive third to get the ball. He mostly found himself playing on the left side of midfield which is certainly not natural for a centre forward. The supply of balls had not been great to him and he had to constantly drop.
Karim Benzema is not just a mere goal scorer but an elite creator as well but we can see how most of his passes have been lateral and mostly around the midfield having a low xT. He tried quite a few through balls but no one was there at the receiving end to finish it off.
Inter Milan really defended well against Benzema and stopped him to get inside the box. Karim Benzema surely is the focal point of Real Madrid’s attacks and it is quite visible in the league. However, if Real Madrid want to compete against better teams in the Champions League they need to stop over-relying on Benzema. Otherwise, if he shuts off for one day it is going to be a concern for Carlo Ancelotti’s men.