A draw which tastes like a defeat was very much the feeling at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu as Real Madrid drew 1-1 with Osasuna to miss the opportunity to make it nine wins in a row to start the campaign, instead settling for a point.
Vinicius Junior’s cross ended up in the back of the net in the first half before Kike García looped a header over Andriy Lunin between the sticks. The chance to win did come, but Karim Benzema then missed yet another penalty against Sergio Herrera and Osasuna and it was that miss which would prove so costly.
Here are three stats that help to tell the tale of the game.
137 - Matches since a man other than Thibaut Courtois kept a clean sheet for Real Madrid
Standing in for Thibaut Courtois after the Belgian picked up a lower back injury, Andriy Lunin is still waiting for his first clean sheet in Real Madrid colours thanks to Kike García’s header. This was the Ukranian’s seventh appearance for the club and he is yet to keep a shut-out, extending the run of matches in which Real Madrid have conceded when Courtois has been absent to nine games.
The last goalkeeper not named Thibaut to keep a clean sheet for Los Blancos was Alphonse Areola, on loan from París Saint-Germain, who kept a shut-out in a 4-0 Copa del Rey win over Real Zaragoza in January 2020. He would make two further appearances for the club, conceding in games against Leganés and Real Sociedad, before Lunin took up the mantle of being the second choice goalkeeper between the sticks.
Real Madrid have now conceded seven goals in seven games in LaLiga, more than any other side in the top six, and it could be a concern for Carlo Ancelotti. Courtois’ issue is not expected to keep him out for long, but the Italian is yet to settle on a clear first choice back four and the unsettled nature of Real Madrid’s defence hasn’t helped them. This was the third league game at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu this season, and fans are still waiting to see a clean sheet. That’s the longest run without a home clean sheet to a season since 2017.
0/3 - Karim Benzema’s penalty record against Osasuna
Karim Benzema’s overall penalty conversion rate is 79.5%, yet when it comes to his record against Osasuna, it plummets to 0. This was the third time that the French forward has had a spot kick against Osasuna this year, having been given two penalties in the 3-1 win at El Sadar in April. Having seen Sergio Herrera save both of those attempts, this time it was the forward who hit the ball too high as he hit the crossbar.
In both of the occasions in April, Benzema went low to his left and Herrera’s sprawling arms reached down to get to the ball and turn it around the post. This time, it appeared to be playing on Benzema’s mind as he unusually went for a high penalty, using power rather than placing, and it ended up going wrong for the French forward. Critics will question the wisdom of Benzema stepping up for the spot kick given the circumstances, but this bizarre run of three misses in six months against Herrera accounts for 37.5% of all of his penalty misses.
On the other hand, we must take a look at Real Madrid’s other goalscorer. As Vinícius’ cross curled in at the far post, nobody seemed to see it coming, least of all Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera. And he can be forgiven for that too, given that this was Vinícius’ lowest xG for a goal scored in LaLiga since he joined the club at 0.02. In fact, it was only his fourth goal from outside the box in the competition. Bizarrely, of his four goals outside the box in LaLiga, two have come at the Bernabéu against Osasuna.
2010 - The last time LaLiga had Real Madrid top and Barcelona second after seven games
The Clásico rivalry is alive and well. This is the first time that Real Madrid and Barcelona have been LaLiga’s top two after seven games since 2018. With the Clásico coming up in a fortnight, this duo have resumed their domination of the domestic league competition and look to be stronger combined than at almost any time over the last decade.
What may concern Real Madrid is that by dropping points against Osasuna, they have missed out on the opportunity to stay top. That robs Real Madrid of the chance to end a 12-year spell without being top while Barcelona were second after seven games. Since then, the Catalan side have always been bossing the table when the duo have been in competition for top spot in the opening stages of the campaign.
Even this season, when Real Madrid’s 19 points from 21 available has given the club their best start since 2007, it has not been enough to topple Xavi’s team at this stage. That season, 2007/08, had Barcelona just two points behind after seven games, and it was Bernd Schuster’s side who would go on to win LaLiga.