Why Real Madrid should improve their defense to win the league

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Post by Adit on Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:37 pm

The other day, Jose Mourinho made news by claiming that last season was his best ever as a coach. Truth is, he did do very well. Real came in second in La Liga, won the cup, and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League. Now, whether that's really better than any of the seasons with Porto, Chelsea, or Inter is another question. But there was one statement that got us thinking. Speaking about the La Liga campaign, Mourinho was quoted as follows: "It was the championship in which I won more points, won more games and scored more goals. It was a very, very, very good championship."

Looked at in this way, it's hard to disagree. It was a very, very, very good championship for Real - offensively speaking. While Barça is usually praised for their excellent attacking play, last season Real Madrid found the back of the net even more frequently (and lest we forget, Ronaldo won the Pichichi Trophy).

Why Real Madrid should improve their defense to win the league Realbarcaoffensivecompa

The numbers tell the story. For example, Real Madrid was superior in terms of shot production. On average, they produced 19 shots per match, compared to Barça's 15.5. Of course, the overall shot count is not entirely conclusive. It's also about the ability to fire a shot on target (and to score, obviously). For Real Madrid, shooting on target seems to be somewhat harder than for Barça. Although they take more shots, Mourinho's team managed to place about 42% of their shots between the woodwork. In contrast, Barça did slightly better, with a target/shot percentage of 46%. At the end of the day, Real scored 2.68 times per match, while Barça managed 2.5 goals. Given that Real Madrid needed seven shots on target to score once and Barça only six, the Catalans were slightly more efficient and Real compensated by shooting more frequently.

What Mourinho doesn't mention is that Barça had the superior defense.

So here's our unsolicited advice, based on a few numbers: If Real wants to win the championship this year, they have to find a way to defend more effectively. We know: it might sound a bit odd to say that Real Madrid - much criticized for Mourinho's catenaccio style of play - needs to defend better. So let's take a look at the numbers to see what they tell us.

As it turns out, defending was Real's biggest problem last season. On average, Barça allowed 7.4 shots against them on average each game in the Liga BBVA, while the Madrid defense allowed more than 30% more shots (10). Perhaps Barça's success really is based on the simple principle of their main advisor, the Dutch legend Johan Cruijff: "If we have the ball, they can't score". Barça's high levels of possession provides few openings (and less time) for opponents to produce shots. The best defense is to attack, it seems.

Why Real Madrid should improve their defense to win the league Realbarcadefensivecompa

Although possession is surely an important factor in Barça's success, it is not a completely satisfying explanation for why Barça conceded 12 fewer goals than Madrid in their 38 league matches, especially if you consider this. Looking at the shots on target instead of just the overall number of shots, we see that the difference between Barça and Real is not as big as earlier suggested. Both Casillas and Valdés, on average, had to contend with the same amount of shots on goal, roughly three in total per match.

So it's not entirely clear why Real Madrid (at 0.87 per match) conceded so many more goals than Barcelona (0.55 per match). Are the shots that Barça opponents manage to take on their goal easier to save, as the Barça defense might allow less space and time for attackers? Or might one team see more of certain kinds of shots on their goal - for example more or less shots from set pieces? Right now, this is all speculation, but it does make us wonder. At a minimum, the data show that Barça's outperformed Real on the defensive side of the ball last year. It is striking to see that a team on average needed almost 14 shots in total - or 5.5 shots on target to score against Barça. To score against Real it was sufficient to shoot 11.5 times or produce 3.5 shots on target.

So here's a way to summarize the offensive and defensive performance of La Liga teams last season. If you ever had any doubt about how different the two leading teams were from the rest of the league, take a look at this picture. But it shows how Real Madrid outscored Barcelona and how the latter outdid the former defensively.

Why Real Madrid should improve their defense to win the league Offense+defense+la+liga+2010

So the real difference last season was the beautiful art of preventing that the opponent scores. If Real keeps scoring as they have and shore up their defense, we have a hunch that this La Liga season will be closer than ever.

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Post by Guest on Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:13 pm

Great post dude. But be careful... to many fans here, statistics are irrelevant. Feelings are much more reliable.

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Post by Guest on Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:16 pm

Well when you have to rely on Albiol as much as we did last season then your going to concede alot of goals lmao

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Post by SuperMAG on Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:33 pm

If we had both Smalling and boateng. our defence would be one of the best (future defence).

With pepe as an experienced defender who knows how to shit barca all over, can teach smalling, boateng and varane.

Ahhhhhhhh i am dreaming again.

We only have one future good CB. we needed to have 3. carav and albiol are useless.

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Post by Margera on Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:41 pm

just put ramos at cb and arbeloa at rb = problem solved
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Post by Guest on Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:47 pm

@SuperMAG wrote:If we had both Smalling and boateng. our defence would be one of the best (future defence).

With pepe as an experienced defender who knows how to shit barca all over, can teach smalling, boateng and varane.

Ahhhhhhhh i am dreaming again.

We only have one future good CB. we needed to have 3. carav and albiol are useless.

We have Varane, Nacho and Mendes all very talented young CB's. We also have a very good highly rated RB coming through as well in Carvajal.

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Post by Babun on Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:49 pm

@Crimson wrote:Well when you have to rely on Albiol as much as we did last season then your going to concede alot of goals lmao
Albilol and Carvalho Very Happy

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Post by S32TABLANCA on Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:28 pm

Future defence (5 years):

Carvajal-Varane-Ramos-Marcelo

Nacho to replace Ramos if he becomes a good CB.

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Post by Adit on Sat Nov 26, 2011 7:28 pm

We concedes goals like water....

NO ramos hasnt been WC at CB,he is directly responsible for first goal of valencia,didnt marked tightly soldado in second goal,and now playing adrian onside.He has great energy on the field so has david luiz and jones,Ramos isnt a elite game reader.Why you guys calling him WC is beyond me.He is too error prone to me.

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Post by The Madrid One on Sat Nov 26, 2011 7:49 pm

@Adit wrote:We concedes goals like water....

NO ramos hasnt been WC at CB,he is directly responsible for first goal of valencia,didnt marked tightly soldado in second goal,and now playing adrian onside.He has great energy on the field so has david luiz and jones,Ramos isnt a elite game reader.Why you guys calling him WC is beyond me.He is too error prone to me.
u knee jerk again, i take my shotgun out and let u know who tmo really is...

but damn, barceloa have conceded 6 in la liga weve conceded 10...

3 in last two matches in la liga... we have to make sure we do well out there.... i wonder what mou has to say, im pretty sure these stats are very important for him....GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
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Post by guest7 on Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:29 pm

he is an improvment from carvalho and even so i wanna keep him there just so carvajals spot can be open, arbeloa is getting older so carvajal replacing him is likely
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Post by guest7 on Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:35 pm

Also, Ramos-Pepe is a new partnership. They need to work on that, their lack of communication has let us down before. But once again, he is still better than Carvalho.
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Post by The Madrid One on Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:48 pm

not really ramos's fault, pepe ramos is future.
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Post by estrella bernabeu on Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:02 pm

Pepe wasn't that good today. He was often surpassed by Arda acceleration and sometimes he hesitates on decisions to get the ball so he found himself just running after his opponent.
2 weeks later, Messi will be his opponent so he do better rush.

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Post by Onyx on Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:04 pm

Pepe's running balance isn't very good.
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Post by Mamad on Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:05 pm

I'm tired of this Kneejerk fest in Madrid section.

i guess the next thing is : "Benzema is shit" .

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Post by Guest on Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:07 pm

Marcelo is not quite match fit and that's where the leak in the defense is happening. It's not a systematic or personnel issue really. Just need Marcelo to find his form again and it will be fine...

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Post by The Madrid One on Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:09 pm

@sportsczy wrote:Marcelo is not quite match fit and that's where the leak in the defense is happening. It's not a systematic or personnel issue really. Just need Marcelo to find his form again and it will be fine...
so u dont think its anything big sports?

because if it wasnt for..

flucky osasuna goal
wtf goals agaisnst valencia
and marcelo today

wed have 4 goals less...

wed have more goals than anyone in europe and la liga (we already do)

but also have the concede less record as well...

wed be complete... Cool
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Post by Guest on Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:16 pm

With a fit Marcel and Di Maria, our defense is very solid. Coentrao can play better defense than Marcelo... so we have a great cover in case Marcelo stays in a funk. We have no replacement for Di Maria defensively however. It would require that CR7 and Ozil play more defense. Ozil is doing it more and more. CR7 barely does.

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Post by The Madrid One on Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:28 pm

@sportsczy wrote:With a fit Marcel and Di Maria, our defense is very solid. Coentrao can play better defense than Marcelo... so we have a great cover in case Marcelo stays in a funk. We have no replacement for Di Maria defensively however. It would require that CR7 and Ozil play more defense. Ozil is doing it more and more. CR7 barely does.
have u seen much of carvajal? i keep asking... but, whats his future u think?
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Post by FennecFox7 on Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:59 pm

mtfootball wrote:Pepe's running balance isn't very good.
When your big, strong and fast, your balance will suffer. Look at CR7 tbh, or even RVP
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Post by estrella bernabeu on Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:38 pm

With Arbeloa back in shape and Marcelo finally awoke from his dreams, wa can say that we have a SOLID defense.

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