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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Real Madrid
Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP) (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images) /

Statistically, Real Madrid has made significant improvement on defense this season.

The most significant change that Los Blancos have made on the pitch this campaign has been on defense. Last year, Real was seventh in goals against and tenth in expected goals against in La Liga.

This season they are the best in both categories.Barcelona was fourth in goals against and fifth in expected goals against last season. This season they are sixth and third, respectively.

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Real Madrid holds significant advantages over Barça in multiple defensive categories. Most notably, they are the best in the Spanish top division in tackles won, second in tackles in the attacking third, and seventh in overall tackles.

Barcelona is in the bottom half of La Liga in tackles, dribblers tackled, successful pressures, and blocks though this may be more of a result of having substantial possession advantages.

The most important stat that favors Los Merengues moving forward is their ability to stop opponents from converting their goal opportunities. Real Madrid has a defensive goal conversion rate of +5.43 overall and +3.95 in open play.

Barcelona has a defensive goal against conversion rate of -1.13 and -4.85 overall and in open play, respectively. Real’s goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is tied in the league in clean sheets and is sixth in save percentage. Barcelona’s Marc-André ter Stegen is tenth in save percentage.

Casemiro is a defensive force as he is in the top ten in La Liga in successful pressure percentage, interceptions, and blocks. Sergio Ramos (successful pressure percentage) and Dani Carvajal (blocks) are also posting high numbers.

I have been critical of Zinedine Zidane in the past. I called him over-rated. However, this season, regardless of the result, maybe his best managerial performance. His man-management skills and tactical tinkering have been outstanding.

Next. 4 talking points from Barcelona’s disappointing draw at Sevilla. dark

Barcelona is in deep trouble in their quest for another La Liga title, and Real Madrid holds most of the statistical advantages.