As you may have noticed, we've been looking at the statistics and numbers Real Madrid has accumulated as they march towards their first league title in four years. As EIC Gabe Lezra and others have noted, numbers in football are complex and don't always tell the entire tale. Even so, sometimes the sheer of volume of numerical evidence does provide a solid, objective measurement of just how good los blancos have been this season. So continuing on that theme, Opta has some interesting data that I'd like to share ahead of Saturday's away match in Betis.
Madrid have averaged four goals per match over their last three league meetings with Betis, including a 4-1 victory at the Bernabeu in October. Interestingly, Real Madrid have scored at least once in their last 12 appearances at the Benito Villamarin, according to Opta, but have only gone on to win four of those matches, losing four and drawing the difference.
If we know anything about Pepe Mel's Betis side, it's that they will attack, so I'm glad that Pepe will available to provide strength and stability to Madrid's backline. I'll also be very curious to see if Jose Mourinho gives Raphael Varane any minutes in this match. Another thing to consider about Betis's attack is that it's heavily imbalanced, as Ruben Castro and Jorge Molina have scored five of the squad's last six league goals. Castro leads Betis with nine goals which is 31% of their 29 total league goals scored. Betis are also extremely unlucky offensively, and just slightly off target with their shooting, hitting the woodwork a total of 17 times this season. That's a considerable number of shots; had even half of them found the net, who knows where Betis would be in the table.
Madrid have no such nagging questions surrounding them as they have scored a staggering 85 goals and are on pace to net an amazing 129, according to Opta. This would shatter the Liga record for goals in a season. I expect to see virtually the same offensive line-up with fluid combinations of Kaka, Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain featuring up front. I wish we could see a little more of Esteban Granero, but it's hard to imagine where he would slot in with everyone in the midfield currently playing at a considerably high level.
Finally, Goal.com reports that Mourinho has become the most successful manager in Spanish football history over the span of his first one hundred matches in charge. Real Madrid have won 76 of the first 99 matches of his tenure. They've only lost 10 of the remaining 23 matches. Let that sink in.
What do you think, madridistas? I'd be curious to know your thoughts on the line-up, Betis, stats et.al.