LaLiga with sport
Once you win the ball back, there are a number of options. You can secure possession with a safe pass, but you can also try to quickly take advantage of the spaces left open by your opponents in their attacking phase. Playing the ball forward as soon as you win it back is riskier, because it is more difficult to pick out a teammate, but it confers a clear advantage: the opposing team has less time to reorganise their defensive block. In this regard, we must stress FC Barcelona's ability to play forwards after winning the ball back: 75% of their passes after regaining possession moved towards the opposing goal on the last matchday, a figure worth noting given that they are a team who play a possession-based game, where a safe pass after winning the ball back is more common.
Regaining possession is, of course, never a bad thing, but the circumstances in which the ball is won back can vary greatly. For example, managing to turn possession over in your own box isn’t the same as pick pocketing the opposition’s last defender high up the pitch. It’s worth noting just how well CA Osasuna perform when it comes to forcing the opposition into mistakes near their own goal. The Navarran outfit’s high-intensity game and defensive efforts place them amongst the division’s top five teams in terms of recoveries in advantageous positions.
The Real Betis midfielder is proving to be one of the sensations of the season. He has the ability to make a decisive impact in every game due to his magical play, his dribbling skills and his ability to create threats in the opposition box. Despite being the Betis player who receives the most double pressure passes, Fekir is capable of shrugging off his man and sparking dangerous moves with his spellbinding footwork.
Angel Correa has been one of Los Colchoneros' most influential players this season with three goals and one assist. What's more, Correa is the player who bypasses the most rivals with his passes, among the players with more than 10 passes between the lines and bypassing an average of 3.94 opponents. Watch out for Angelito's ability to move the ball forward on the next matchday.
Watch out for Real Madrid in attack. Los Blancos have started the 2021/22 LaLiga Santander season on fire up front. In fact, they are the team with the highest percentage of dangerous possessions ending in a goal in the division. On the other hand, Alvaro Cervera's Cadiz CF have retained the identity which led them to achieve the historic feat of staying up last season: a compact, low defensive block and breakneck counterattacks. This is demonstrated by the fact that they are among the top three teams in the division with the greatest average distance gained per possession.
ElClasico brings two of Spanish football's rivals par excellence head to head. FC Barcelona host Real Madrid as the team with greatest possession ratio, initiative and attacking build-up play in the competition, or in other words, a team that attempts to control the game through possession. Ronald Koeman's charges hold the top spot when it comes to the number of passes, and are second on the percentage of possession accumulated in the opposing half. However, it is not all about keeping the ball. Once they lose it, this Barça team have shown that they work hard to win it back: they are among the top three on the percentage of recoveries in the opposing half. The effectiveness of their pressing after losing the ball reduces the need to sit back and defend, minimising the threat to their goal: they are among the top five teams who concede the fewest shots.
They take on their arch-rivals, Real Madrid, who head into the clash with their attacking effectiveness as their trump card. Los Blancos are the side who unleash the most shots in the competition, and the one who manage to place the greatest percentage of their shots on target. The outfit overseen by Carlo Ancelotti is also the one with the greatest effectiveness in all of LaLiga Santander both when it comes to building up the play and finishing: they are the team who need the fewest shots to score a goal. Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr, among others, are managing to convert the team's attacking potential into a veritable onslaught for opposing defences and goalkeepers. They are on fire up front!
The time for LaLiga's stars to do battle has arrived. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid face each other in the most eagerly awaited match of the season. Los Azulgranas stand out for their ability to gain ground in each of their attacking moves: they are the team who advance the greatest distance per possession in all of LaLiga Santander. Koeman's men are also second in the competition in terms of involving the most players in each possession, as well as the team who make the most double-pressure passes per match. All of these metrics demonstrate their intent and ability to link-up in tight spaces.
Los Blancos, meanwhile, are the team who have scored the most goals in the competition, by some margin, notching up a total of 22. Real Madrid serve up a more direct game than their opponents, showing an outstanding efficiency: they are the team with the greatest percentage of dangerous possessions ending in a goal. Their attacks are characterised by their power and explosiveness, as the team in LaLiga Santander who perform the most maximum-intensity actions; i.e., moves where they run at least 10 metres at over 28 km/h. They are also among the top three teams in the division who perform the most very high-intensity actions; i.e., who perform the most actions at over 24 km/h (covering at least 15 metres).
The French striker goes into the match against FC Barcelona as LaLiga Santander's standout player so far. Benzema is the top goalscorer and the top assist-provider in the championship, with nine goals and seven assists in just eight games, and he plays a direct role in almost 70% of his team's goals. He is also the player who fires off the most shots in the competition. As for his influence on the build-up, it is worth stressing that he makes the most passes in the attacking zone in the entire division. In this regard, he has an average of 2.3 teammates ahead of him at the moment when he releases his passes, showing that, in addition to his goalscoring, he is hugely important in the final stretch of his team’s build-up play. He also averages 2.3 opponents ahead of him at the moment of regaining possession, playing a decisive role in Real Madrid’s moves after winning the ball back. Karim Benzema is the driving force of Los Blancos' attack. He is a true leader and will try to guide his teammates to victory at the Camp Nou on Sunday.