La Liga: Barcelona Is In Trouble, Real Madrid Ready To Take Advantage

Ivan Rakitic, Barcelona (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)
Ivan Rakitic, Barcelona (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images) /
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Marco Asensio
Real Madrid’s Spanish midfielder Marco Asensio (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP) (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images) /

Real Madrid holds a few critical offensive statistical advantages over their rivals from Catalonia, giving them an edge in the title chase.

On the offensive side of the ball, Barcelona holds some statistical advantages. They lead the Spanish top flight in goals scored by a significant margin. Their goal conversion rate in open play and overall is +15.91 and +12.22, respectively, both tops in the league.

Real Madrid’s conversion rate is +4.12 in open play and -1.09 overall. These numbers suggest that the Blaugrana have done a much better job than their rivals at clinical finishing.

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However, Real has shown better technical finishing in their first three matches after the restart. Against Eibar, Valencia, and Real Sociedad they knocked in eight goals into the net. Their offensive goal conversion rate in those matches was +3.40.

Barcelona also holds the lead in goal creating actions per match and non-penalty expected goals plus expected assists per 90 minutes.

However, Real Madrid is tops in division two other significant categories: shot-creating actions per 90 minutes and key passes. The recent numbers suggest a possible trend.

If Los Blancos continue to improve their clinical finishing in front of goal and maintain their ability to create goal-scoring opportunities, then they will have better offensive results.

Meanwhile, Barça may be going in the opposite direction. As defenses continue to place a triangle formation around Lionel Messi, especially in front of the penalty area, his colleagues Saurez, Antoine Griezmann, Ansu Fati, and Martin Braithwaite have needed to step up more consistently.

So far, due to injuries (Suárez), role confusion (Griezmann), youth (Fati), and chemistry issues (Braithwaite), this has not occurred.