Let’s take a look at the stand out statistical nuggets from the latest round of matches in La Liga. The obvious place to start is:
Espanyol 4 Las Palmas 3
Where no other match this weekend saw more than three goals, the first game of matchweek twenty-seven saw seven on Friday night. The two ‘keepers only saved four of the total of eleven shots on target between them (with two each), though this is the not the first time this has happened; there were four shots saved in Real Betis 1 Real Madrid 6, and Malaga 4 Deportivo La Coruna 3 earlier the season. A combined three clear-cut chances (with the hosts coming out on top by 2-1 in this metric) is the fewest of any of the eight games to see at least seven goals this season too. Finishing from twelve yards or further seemed to generally be the order of the day here.
Valencia 1 Sporting Gijon 1
After Parejo missed a penalty for the home side, the visitors took the lead for just the eighth time in the league this season; only Granada, Malaga and Osasuna have done so fewer times in 2016/17. Gijon also hit double figures for shots for only the fourth time on the road this season. Sadly for them, in the half hour following their goal, Valencia had eleven shots, including five on target, and took a share of the points thanks to El Haddadi’s goal with five minutes to go.
An onslaught following the home side going behind followed as expected.
Sevilla 1 Leganes 1
Having dropped two points at Alaves the week before, Sevilla would’ve wanted to dismiss lowly Leganes in order to keep track with the big two at the top of the table, but conceding in the third minute was always going to make that an uphill battle. They equalised before half time through Jovetic, but had just one shot in the box after the break and the visitors left with a deserved draw. The sides were equal on total shots and shots on target, so a point apiece was probably about right.
Decent chances were in short supply in the second half
Malaga 1 Alaves 2
This match shows the value of taking your chances. The visitors had just four shots in total, but scored both of their efforts that were on target, whereas the home side had fifteen attempts at goal, with nine on target, but scored only once. Fernando Pacheco, the visiting goalkeeper, made eight saves and it’s interesting to note that of the five occasions that a ‘keeper has made more saves than that this season Pacheco was in goal for two of them. The twenty-four year old Spaniard made ten stops at both Sevilla and Villarreal, with the latter particularly valuable as his team won 2-0.
A lesson in the value of taking your chances.
Granada 0 Atletico Madrid 1
After a low key first half, in which each side had three shots each, the game came to life a little more after the break. It took until the 84th minute for Atleti to make the breakthrough though, when Koke assisted Griezmann for the third time this season (and only six combinations have linked up more than three times in La Liga in 2016/17). Thereafter Granada received more red cards (one, for Mubarak Wakaso) than they had unblocked shots (zero) and the visitors from Madrid took home all three points.
Not much goalmouth action in the first half; all of the efforts in either box were headers.
Real Sociedad 0 Athletic Club 2
Sunday’s matches kicked off in San Sebastian with a match between the sides who were placed fifth and seventh in the league table at the start of play respectively, and the visitors’ triumph ensured they finished the weekend just four points behind the home side. Sociedad may have won the shot count by 16-9, but it was Bilbao’s three big chances to their hosts’ nil which made the difference in this one. A big chance score of 3-0 is also Athletic’s best performance on this front away from home in the league this season.
Deportivo La Coruna 2 Barcelona 1
No doubt about the surprise result of the weekend. Deportivo, who had previously won just four home league games this season (and two of those were against teams who are in the bottom three), brought Barca back down to earth after their remarkable victory over PSG in midweek. As with Bilbao’s victory over Sociedad, big chances held the key to this result, with German Lux, the Deportivo goalkeeper, saving golden opportunities from Luis Suárez at both 0-0 and 2-1 to ensure his side won the day.
Suárez may have scored for Barcelona, but these two misses proved costly.
Celta Vigo 0 Villarreal 1
The bad marksmanship award this week goes to Celta Vigo, who had twelve shots but only tested the visiting goalkeeper once. The only home side to have more shots and fewer on target in La Liga this season were Real Sociedad, who posted none on target from sixteen attempts in a match last month. Their opponents that day? Villarreal, and the Yellow Submarine took all three points in both matches.
Villarreal have blocked more shots than any other team in La Liga this season, and the grey shot lines here show plenty of examples of that in the two matches mentioned.
Real Madrid 2 Real Betis 1
Barcelona’s defeat on Sunday afternoon meant that Real Madrid had the chance to go two points clear of their great rivals (with a game in hand to boot) in the evening kick off. That looked a little less likely when Sanabria gave Betis the lead in the first half, but headed goals from Ronaldo and Ramos ensured that Madrid won the match. Their record with headed goals this season is simply remarkable; they have twenty in La Liga when no other side has more than thirteen, and they have twenty-four assists from crosses when no other side in Europe’s big five leagues can better eighteen.
Headed chances paint a picture here; two goals for Madrid and two saved for Betis
Osasuna 1 Eibar 1
For the second away match in a row, Eibar put seven shots on target, and they finally made the breakthrough with their seventh in this match. There were still twenty-two minutes to be played thereafter though, and they didn’t have a single shot in that period, be it on target or otherwise. The home side were level seven minutes later, and had two further headed chances to win the match after that, but the contest ended in a stalemate.
The shots taken after the opening goal show why a draw was a fair result.
Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed the round up of this week’s action, and please feel free to leave feedback below.