The tactical cat and mouse game that we all witnessed yesterday in Madrid is reflected in the statistics for the match. And while these stats generally confirm the overall impression of two teams trying to cancel each other out, there are some fascinating details revealed as well. Read on for the meat!
The overall stats for the game don’t really reveal the extent of Barcelona’s dominance of the ball until you reach the numbers for possession. Barcelona enjoyed 72% of the possession in this match, an eye-opening fact considering that the game was being played at the Santiago Bernabéu, and given the range of attacking talent in the Madrid squad.
That Barcelona passed the ball more frequently than their capital counterparts comes as no surprise. What is shocking is the extent to which key Madrid players were uninvolved in the flow of the game. Barcelona completed 713 out of 788 passes, compared to 179 out of 263 for Madrid. Xavi completed 122 passes; Busquets another 129. In contrast, Xabi Alonso completed only 25 out of 38 passes. And Mesut Özil, one of Madrid’s creative playmakers completed only 7 out of 10. Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes completed more passes [26/29] than most of Madrid’s outfield players.
Messi’s didn’t get many opportunities on goal during this match, but he was ruthlessly efficient with the chances that did come his way: four shots, two on target, two beautiful goals. No wonder he has the footballing world spellbound with his performances.
Stats and screenshots in this article courtesy of Total Football and UEFA.