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Three stats from Almería 1-3 Real Madrid

Including Jude Bellingham’s impressive xG stats

UD Almeria v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Real Madrid had to come from behind to beat Almería away from home on a hot August evening, as has now become an annual tradition. This time, it was a less arduous task than last season’s visit to the Power Horse Stadium.

It was only three minutes before Sergio Arribas, against his former club, opened the scoring by beating Andriy Lunin in goal, but Real Madrid reacted with Jude Bellingham levelling the scoreline before half-time. In the second half, he would give Los Blancos the lead and then set up Vinícius Júnior to make it 3-1.

Here are three stats to help us understand the tie.

+2.10: Jude Bellingham is outperforming his expected goals by 2.1

LaLiga’s Pichichi is Real Madrid’s number five and Jude Bellingham’s brace against Almería added to his strike against Athletic Club last weekend to make him the only player to have scored more than one goal and the only man to score in both match days so far.

What’s more than that is that his statistics are incredible. Against Almería we saw him a more advanced role, and as such we saw his total number of shots skyrocket. Against Athletic he recorded two attempts on goal, positioned slightly deeper, but this time around he had six shots against the Andalusian side.

His two goals both came in central positions on the edge of the six-yard box, almost more like a Karim Benzema-style poacher than what many were expecting to see from the offensive midfielder. His first, aided by a deflection in the build-up, came in at 0.18 xG, with the second ranking at 0.33 xG.

Over his first two appearances for the club, Bellingham has recorded a total of 0.9 xG, while scoring three goals. That puts him way above what would be expected with a significant over performance, firmly helping to impress the fans who are yet to see him in action at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.

And what’s more, he also claimed the assist for Vinícius Júnior’s goal to make it 3-1 to Real Madrid. The Brazilian scored with his fifth shot of the season, though it’s worth pointing out that his xG remains at 0.39. He has not been prolific yet, but he hasn’t had high-quality chances either.

Finding the source of these goals is essential for Real Madrid following the departure of Benzema, and Bellingham is proving a more than capable substitute for the time being.

1 out of 8: Clean sheets from visits to Almería

Real Madrid have travelled down south through Andalusia to take on Almería eight times since making their first visit in 2008, when Almería recorded their only ever win against Los Blancos in a 2-0 victory. What is curious is that Real Madrid have kept just one clean sheet from those eight visits.

That clean sheet came in November 2013, also under Carlo Ancelotti’s leadership, when Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Isco, Álvaro Morata and Karim Benzema were on the scoresheet in a 5-0 win.

Other than that, Real Madrid have conceded on each of their seven other visits over the years. Iker Casillas was in goal for six of those matches, conceding six in five visits, while Thibaut Courtois conceded one last season, and Andriy Lunin now joins the club.

With six saves made, denying 1.90 of expected goals on target, it would be fair to say that it was a harsh night for Lunin. After a nervy start, with Almería testing him at any possible opportunity, he settled and looked reliable.

The other curiosity was the timing of the club. While Largie Ramazini stunned Real Madrid with a goal after six minutes on match day one in 2022/23, this time it was ex-Castilla player Sergio Arribas on three minutes in match day two.

Arribas played 184 minutes across 14 matches for the Real Madrid first team, finding the back of the net once, in addition to 92 appearances for Castilla and a further 10 in the UEFA Youth League, scoring 42 goals. It was only less than two weeks ago that he departed the club after a 10-year stint to join Almería.

77: Touches from Toni Kroos, the second-highest number despite coming off on 72 minutes

Carlo Ancelotti’s only change for this tie from the side which beat Athletic Club was to include Toni Kroos in place of Eduardo Camavinga after the Frenchman picked up a knock in training this week and did not train on Friday. The German took his chance with both hands.

Despite going off on 72 minutes to be replaced by Luka Modrić, he still recorded as many touches as any other Real Madrid midfielder with 77. Fede Valverde, who started alongside Kroos, also finished on 77 touches with the Uruguayan playing 18 minutes more. The only man to have more touches was Aurélien Tchouameni, who played 27 additional minutes to record 81 touches, only four more than Kroos.

The veteran claimed an impressive 94% passing accuracy, misplacing only four of his 63 attempted passes, including three corners and 12 passes into the final third which helped the team to cut through the Almería midfield and defence.

His assist for Bellingham showed the kind of quality that Kroos is capable of producing with his vision and distribution able to pick out Bellingham’s run and give Real Madrid the lead.

In fact, Kroos was quite unfortunate not to leave with a goal as well. A foul by Dani Carvajal in the build-up saw his powerful volley in the first half crossed off, but the strike would have been vintage Toni Kroos.

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