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Three stats from Real Madrid 2-0 Las Palmas

There was action at both ends of the pitch

Real Madrid CF v UD Las Palmas - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid returned to winning ways at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu as they welcomed Las Palmas back to the Spanish capital for the first time since their promotion. However, the Canary Islanders didn’t enjoy it as they fell to a 2-0 defeat.

That came courtesy of a strike from Brahim Díaz in the third minute of injury time in the first half, with Joselu adding a second early on in the second half to double Real Madrid’s lead.

Here are three stats that help to explain and understand the game.

1,344: Days since Brahim Díaz’s last Real Madrid goal

At many times over the last 1,344 days, Brahim Díaz likely thought that he might not score another goal for Real Madrid. As he played only 84 minutes across five matches so far this season, he may still have had his concerns even in recent weeks. But against Las Palmas, where he played a full 60 minutes, he excelled and got back on the scoresheet.

Last time he did so, it came against Unionistas de Salamanca on January 22nd, 2020, in the Copa del Rey. Three years, eight months and six days later, he scored again, although it was even longer since his last LaLiga goal, which came against Real Sociedad in May 2019.

His strike came on the stroke of half-time, three minutes into injury time, and saw him fire a right-footed blast into the roof of the net to break the deadlock and give Real Madrid the lead. It was a strong finish from an excellent position, worth 0.2 xG, with an xGoT of 0.8.

It was a worthy follow-up to a strike just minutes earlier from 25 yards which was a much more difficult area to attempt to score from, worth 0.02 xG but 0.31 xGoT when taking into account the placement and speed of his shot which was ultimately denied.

If he’s looking for advice on how to make an impact when returning to the club after a spell away, he can turn to his team-mate Joselu. The striker got his fourth goal in a home game in a row, becoming the first player to do so in his first four home games for the club this century.

32: Shots since Rodrygo’s last goal for Real Madrid

In contrast to the cutting edge of Brahim Díaz on a rare chance to shine, Rodrygo Goes had another frustrating and bizarre night in front of goal. In doing so, he recorded three shots, again without a goal, to take his tally up to 32 shots without a goal for Real Madrid. Across that run, the Brazilian has built up an accumulated 2.8 of expected goals without scoring.

This tendency is not new to the young forward’s record after his up and down form in recent years. While he has had scoring streaks, he is also no stranger to droughts. Now on seven games without a goal, this is not even his longest drought in 2023. In February to March, he went nine appearances without scoring.

At the time, his poor form in front of goal went unnoticed a lot more, with his team-mates making up for his misfiring efforts. Without Karim Benzema leading the attack and with Vinícius Júnior out injured recently, he hasn’t had the luxury of being able to go under the radar.

It is worth noting that the forward scored a brace for Brazil while on international duty in the middle of this run. His two games in the international break saw him score two goals from five shots and 1.22 xG. It’s a different result to what he’s had in Spain.

Post match, Ancelotti was asked about his form in his press conference, as he discussed what has been a hot topic in recent weeks. “These are moments that strikers go through,” the coach responded. “When they don’t score they have a bit of anxiety. The best thing we can do is to keep giving him confidence. He gave a fantastic assist to Joselu. The goal is very important for him, but it will come at the moment when he doesn’t think about scoring.”

44: Matches since an away team had more shots at the Bernabéu than Las Palmas’ 16

16 shots on the Real Madrid goal showed that Las Palmas did have chances, although it must also be recognised that only two of those were on target and forced a save from Kepa. Of the total of 16, six were blocked, with eight off target.

That meant that despite having a high number of shots and attempts on goal, Las Palmas only racked up 0.72 xG on the night. It continued a trend seen throughout this season, with the newly-promoted team only having scored two goals to date.

It is still worth recognising that no away team has had more shots at the Bernabéu than Las Palmas on Wednesday night. With 16 attempts, you’d have to go back to Chelsea’s visit to the Bernabéu in 2022 for the Champions League quarter-final to find a team that recorded more shots.

Injuries to Real Madrid’s defence, with David Alaba forced off and Antonio Rüdiger also out, meant that this was a disrupted defensive performance. Ferland Mendy and Nacho also came into the team on the flanks, but they failed to help shut down the Las Palmas attack.

Carlo Ancelotti has clearly felt the need to rotate, and he may be forced to do so even more due to injuries, but he may be concerned about how they may fare against stronger opposition after this game.

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