Real Madrid avoided a second consecutive away derby defeat to maintain 1977 as the last time that happened thanks to a 2-1 victory at the Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano which left Los Blancos in complete superiority over Atlético Madrid.
First half strikes from Rodrygo Goes and Fede Valverde gave the visitors sufficient margin to ease back into first gear in the second period, against the usual trend, until Mario Hermoso’s late consolation goal led to a rather chaotic final 10 minutes.
Here are three stats that help us to understand the game:
1.9x: Real Madrid’s xG per shot was 1.9x higher than that of Atlético’s
If you’d only had one eye on this game, flicking your attention in and out, you could easily have been forgiven for thinking that it was Atlético Madrid who had been on top and dominating. That’s because, to a certain extent, they were. Real Madrid had allowed them to. There was no problem with them having possession in the middle and then slowly advancing forward.
That was because when Real Madrid had chances, they were high quality and they made them count. Real Madrid’s xG per shot came in at 0.13 xG, with the two goals accounting for 75% of total xG. The first in particular came at a time when Atleti had registered four shots while Real Madrid had yet to even collect a touch in the box. A smart dink from Aurélien Tchouaméni and Rodrygo Goes was wheeling away to dance.
This is why Real Madrid’s performance looked quite so dominant. Atlético had just one shot with an xG value higher than 0.05 xG before the ball deflected fortunately off Mario Hermoso’s head and into the goal after a rare goalkeeping error. One shot with even a small chance of scoring, from 11 attempts. Overall, Atleti’s xG per shot was just 0.7 xG as they were frustrated by a solid Real Madrid defensive unit which could not be broken down, forcing Atleti into taking shots from distance and wide angles.
Tribute must also be paid to Rodrygo and Fede. Yet again, they continue to put score their xG and convert chances when they matter. A week ago, Fede Valverde had never scored in consecutive games for Real Madrid. Now, he’s done it in three in a row. And he’s done it when the pressure to score, with no Karim Benzema, has been on, equalising against Mallorca, then against the best defensive record in the Bundesliga, and finally at the Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano in a derby. It’s also taken him to seven goal involvements in the last 10 games, the same as he had recorded in his previous 95.
1968: The last time Real Madrid won their first 9 games of the season
This Real Madrid team are going places. The last time Real Madrid won nine games in a row to start a season was in the 1968/69 campaign (when they would go on to win LaLiga by nine points at a time when it was two points per win). This is only the third time it has ever happened, the other being only seven years earlier in 1961/62 (when Real Madrid won LaLiga and the Copa del Generalísimo and lost the European Cup final to Benfica). On both occasions, the run extended to 11 games.
Osasuna and Shakhtar Donetsk stand in the way of Carlo Ancelotti’s men matching that record, both at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, while history could be made if Real Madrid make it 12 against Getafe. With the way this team is playing, even lacking it’s talisman Benzema, few would rule out that prospect.
The team’s confidence is sky high and they are playing like a side who believe that they will win every time that they go out onto the field. With sufficient experience and strong enough leadership to keep youngsters grounded, almost nobody would have expected such a promising start to a season and expectations only continue to soar.
4-3: Atlético had more La Fábrica-made players in their squad than Real Madrid
Atlético had Mario Hermoso (at La Fábrica 2005-2017), Saúl Ñíguez (2005-2007), Marcos Llorente (2008-2019) and Álvaro Morata (2007-2014). Three of them ended the derby on the pitch, with the other having been sent off in injury time.
Real Madrid had Luis López, Nacho and Dani Carvajal. Of the three still with Los Blancos, only one had any part to play on Sunday night.
It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to make an argument that any single one of those now with Atleti would get into the current Real Madrid team. In a night where the quality made all the difference, it was clear that Atlético looked more like a second string team than at any other point in recent years.
It only takes a look at the two defences to see the difference. A back line including Mario Hermoso and an out of position Marcos Llorente sounds so horrific that on paper Real Madrid might feel that the winning margin should have been more.