Real Betis rocked up in Madrid with the record of being the only team to prevent Real Madrid from scoring in a league fixture at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu for five consecutive games, but an early Vinícius strike made sure that run came to an end. Ex-Real Madrid player Sergio Canales cancelled it out shortly afterwards but Rodrygo’s strike would be enough to seal the win.
The victory was Real Madrid’s first home league win over Real Betis since 2016/17 and puts the team in top spot early doors with 12 points from 12 available after playing Almería, Celta Vigo, Espanyol and now Real Betis.
Here are three stats that help us to understand the game:
3: Vinícius has scored 3 games in a row for the first time
With his early strike, Vinícius Júnior scored the first goal for Real Madrid against Real Betis at the Bernabéu since Sergio Ramos in March 2017, and he also set an impressive personal record as he made it three consecutive games with a goal for the first time in his career.
His perfectly timed run, making the most of his lightning pace, and the deft finish to chip over the head of Rui Silva show quite how far the Brazilian has come. With such composure and confidence in his game, Vini is taking up an increasingly important offensive role in the Real Madrid attacking set-up and he continued to prove why on Saturday afternoon. With 16 goal involvements in the 2022 calendar year, only Karim Benzema and Iago Aspas have more in LaLiga.
With Benzema seemingly not quite in the best form of his career, it has never been more important for Carlo Ancelotti to have a man like Vinícius to fall back on. His involvement in the first goal and movement for a golden chance set up by Rodrygo Goes shortly afterwards show that Vinícius is moving into more central areas and operating more like a centre-forward at times, unlike his previous roles as a touchline-hugging winger when he first broke into the team. That could be an intriguing shift to monitor throughout this season as he seeks to add to his three consecutive goalscoring games.
8: Years since a higher duel success rate with 19 duels than Aurelién Tchouaméni’s performance
Not since Sergio Ramos against Valencia in May 2014 has a single player achieved a higher success rate than Aurelién Tchouaméni with 84.2% by winning 16 of his 19 duels. On that occasion, Ramos won 18 out of 20 as the central defensive rock at the peak of his career eight years ago, whereas Tchouaméni did this on his debut at the Bernabéu.
He also led the Real Madrid team for completed passes with 56 (89%) and looked at home yet again in the midfield. His link-up with Modrić in particular looked to dictate the tempo and progress the ball well, and belied the fact that this was the first time the pairing had played together in the Spanish capital. He has dominated and stepped up to the plate since replacing Casemiro and his all-action performances are establishing him as a respected figure already.
Against Betis, alongside Eduardo Camavinga and Modrić, he showed that he is up to the big occasions. Covering for Camavinga at times and without an easy task to shut down Sergio Canales in central roles, Tchouaméni did not have an easy task. Injury to Nabil Fekir early on undoubtedly helped make that easier, but Tchouaméni was dominant nevertheless.
71.4%: How often Real Madrid have won LaLiga after winning their first four league games
Only on seven occasions have Real Madrid won all of their first four games in LaLiga, and on five of those occasions, the team have gone on to lift the LaLiga trophy come the end of the campaign.
By winning against Betis, who had won their first three games of the season and came to the tie with an impressive recent record against Los Blancos, Real Madrid also moved into the position of sole leaders of LaLiga on matchday four. Last season, Real Madrid kept hold of the lead from matchday 13 to the end of the season, and Ancelotti will now be looking to do so from even earlier in 2022/23.
Should Real Madrid be successful, they would join 1961/62, 1962/63, 1968/69, 1987/88 and 2016/17 as the campaigns in which four straight wins to start the season eventually led to the title. It is a feat which has only been achieved once in the past 30 years, and Ancelotti’s side could enter the history books again. There is also a tale of caution though, as one of the three failed attempts was in 2009/10 with Saturday’s opponent, Manuel Pellegrini, in the dugout as Real Madrid coach and five wins to start the campaign was not enough as the team finished second.