Real Madrid sent the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu wild with chants of “olé” as they destroyed Valencia with a 5-1 thrashing of the visitors. It was the biggest win over Valencia at the Bernabéu since a 4-0 win with the same goal difference some 32 years ago, coming back in April 1991.
The game got off to a dream start for the hosts as Dani Carvajal opened the scoring with a shot from outside the box (and you can read more about why that was so special shortly). The Brazilians then got in on the act as Rodrygo assisted Vinícius Júnior to make it 2-0, before Vini added a third in the second half and Rodrygo got himself a double too as a worthy reward for an excellent performance. The visitors would claim one back with a late consolation goal for Hugo Duro with a header inside the box.
Here are three stats that help to tell the tale of the game.
14: Years since a Real Madrid defender scored from outside the box from open play for Real Madrid at the Bernabéu
Dani Carvajal opened the scoring early on with a fine effort from the edge of the box, converting a 0.04 xG chance with a powerful shot on his weaker left foot from distance to give the home team the lead.
In doing so, he became the first defender to score from open play for Real Madrid from outside the box at the Bernabéu in over a decade. The last time it happened was Marcelo, scoring against Real Valladolid in October 2009, while others such as Nacho have done so, but only from set pieces.
It was also the first time since 2013/14 that Carvajal has scored two goals in the same LaLiga season, with that previous occasion being the only time he’s managed it as a professional. He also previously recorded two goals in the 2011/12 campaign while playing for Castilla in Segunda B.
Beyond just himself and Real Madrid, it also became the fastest goal to be scored in LaLiga this season. Crossing the line on 2 minutes and 10 seconds makes it the fastest goal to be scored in the current campaign, and may take some beating to be surpassed.
75%: Of Rodrygo Goes’ goal involvements this season have come when Jude Bellingham is not on the field
Rodrygo Goes’ bizarre 2023/24 form seems to be slowly improving as he has now taken his number of goals and assists this season to seven by adding a third assist and fourth and fifth goals of the season. Five of those have come in the past four days, setting up Brahim Díaz against Braga in midweek before scoring himself, then providing the pass for Vinícius to score on Saturday night and adding two goals himself.
What is perhaps intriguing is that six of those goal involvements (fouls goals and two assists) have come without Jude Bellingham on the field. Those include his four this week, plus a goal against Las Palmas in late September when Carlo Ancelotti opted to rest Bellingham and instead fielded Brahim in the number 10 role.
Now, defining cause or correlation is always a tricky task and it could be there there is no connection between the two in any way shape or form. Without Bellingham, it does appear that Rodrygo has a little more freedom to drift in and out of the central areas as he has done when playing as a makeshift centre-forward in the past.
Equally, the forward looks a far more confident player. After breaking his goal drought,
It’s an intriguing factor which will certainly be giving Carlo Ancelotti food for thought for the international break, with Bellingham expected to return after the break. Strong performances from his front three both against Braga and Valencia, mean that they may have earned a spot again for the visit to Cádiz at the end of the month.
1.81-1.89: Valencia had more xG than Real Madrid
It may seem bizarre to read that a team who won 5-1 actually lost in terms of expected goals, but that was the case on Saturday night as Valencia had a series of clear cut chances in the first half which should have seen them get on the scoresheet if it wasn’t for a combination of strong goalkeeping and poor finishing.
In defence, Ancelotti would be right to be worried. It’s true that the presence of Andriy Lunin and Nacho is enforced by the injury to Kepa and suspension of Antonio Rüdiger, but neither Nacho nor Ferland Mendy looked all that comfortable in defence with the pace of the Valencia counter, such as that which led to the consolation goal, though Nacho was at least quiet with only one duel all night, even if it did end in defeat.
Lunin should be applauded for another impressive display, adding to that which he produced against Braga in midweek, as he denied 1.55 xGOT before being beaten by Hugo Duro. It’s true that the Ukrainian could perhaps have had a stronger wrist to deny the header, but it did come flying at him from point blank range.
Ancelotti, too, deserves credit for the changes which he made at the break. While Valencia had registered 1.58 xG in the first half from six shots, they recorded only four attempts in the second half, Duro’s header, and two shots from distance worth 0.02 xG each, before Diego López tried his luck in injury time with a chance worth 0.05 xG.