Real Madrid were held to a first 0-0 draw of the season as they took on Real Sociedad in a top-three battle in LaLiga on Sunday night. Having had chances to win the tie, Los Blancos couldn’t kill off their Basque opponents.
Neither team found a breakthrough in a game which drew controversy as Nacho avoided a potential second yellow card, while the best chances fell to Vinícius Júnior, who could not beat Álex Remiro.
Here are three stats that help to explain the game.
1: The first time Real Madrid have failed to score this season
The last time was May 20th 2022, when Real Betis turned up at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and held out for another 0-0 draw on the final day, though at that time the LaLiga title had already been sealed.
Real Madrid did create chances, as is touched upon within the next stat, but did only generate 1.28 xG. That came across 20 shots in total, with 13 outside the box and seven inside the 18-yard box.
Overall, though, that works out at 0.064 xG per shot, less than half of the season average of 0.129 xG per shot. That shows that the chances generated weren’t of the highest quality, and as much as Real Madrid’s forward players were involved, they struggled to break down the Real Sociedad defence.
Since the World Cup break, the visitors had only conceded one goal and they maintained that firm defensive line in Chamartín. Igor Zubeldia in particular stood out in his battles with Karim Benzema, winning seven out of his nine ground duels and recovering possession on 13 occasions.
7: Saves by Álex Remiro, the most he’s ever recorded in a LaLiga match
While there was a blank from Real Madrid, it most certainly was not for want of trying. In total, they forced Real Sociedad goalkeeper Álex Remiro into seven saves, producing a display which the shotstopper won’t forget any time soon.
That’s the highest figure he has recorded in any game since February 2020, in the 3-4 Copa del Rey win for the Basque team at the Bernabéu. He’s a busy man when it comes to visits to take on Real Madrid.
It’s the highest he has ever recorded in a LaLiga match, and his highest in a league match since 2017, when he made eight saves for Huesca against Albacete in a 0-0 draw in Segunda.
The 0.47 xG stat does not give sufficient credit to Remiro, who denied 0.92 xGoT, the expected goals rate for shots on target predicting the likelihood of a goal given the placement of a shot. That’s the highest figure he’s denied to keep a clean sheet in a match since a game against Getafe in January 2022.
7/8: Rodrygo’s success rate taking on Aihen Muñoz
If there was to be a spark to ignite Real Madrid’s fire, it looked like it would come from Brazilian boots. Rodrygo Goes was the man leading the charge down Real Madrid’s right and it came up against Aihen Muñoz, who may still be having nightmares about Rodrygo’s footwork coming towards him at breakneck speed.
The 25-year-old full-back couldn’t handle Rodrygo, and it led to the Real Madrid man creating two chances by attacking down that wing.
At the break, Diego Rico came on to replace Muñoz. Imanol Alguacil clearly wasn’t enjoying watching his player suffer and leave his team so exposed down their left flank. In the second period, Rodrygo was less active, but he maintained that success rate as he beat Rico on both of the two occasions that they came face to face.
The biggest disappointment for Rodrygo may be that he failed to turn that domination in his one-on-one battle into anything substantial. Both of his two shots came after Aihen had been withdrawn and were blocked by Real Sociedad defenders.
This was a promising display by the 22-year-old attacker, but it also showed that he still has room to improve if he is to truly make the difference in the final third for Carlo Ancelotti’s team.