Real Madrid: 3 reasons why the attack has been struggling this Fall

Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Marco Asensio
Real Madrid, Marco Asensio (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Finishing is a bigger problem than chance-creation, but consistency is the biggest issue

Real Madrid are actually second in the league in xG per 90 minutes behind only rivals Barcelona, whom they defeated head-to-head on the road 3-1, and they are first in non-penalty expected goals per 90.

However, they are badly underperforming their xG. Only four teams are underperforming their xG more than Real Madrid, who are better than just six La Liga teams in terms of the percentage of their shots that are on target. That’s horrible, and that level of finishing is clearly not befitting of a team of this stature.

The reliance on Karim Benzema explains some of this, because when he was missing chances, Real were firing blanks as a squad. But the problem is, Benzema has never been an elite finisher. He’s a good finisher, don’t get me wrong, but that’s probably the weakest area of his game as a world-class forward. Benzema will go cold, and it’s an issue when the players around him who are expected to carry some of that, specifically wide forwards Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio, miss easy chances, too.

Real Madrid have fewer goals per shot than all of their major title competitors: Atletico Madrid, Real Sociedad, Barcelona, and Villarreal.

But while the stats say that finishing is a bigger issue than chance-creation for Real Madrid, who lead the league in key passes, there’s another issue related to chance-creation that the “eye test” points out for us.

Real are inconsistent in their chance-creation from game-to-game. They’ll have matches against teams like Real Betis and Barcelona where they are creating chance after chance. But when they face a team like Cadiz that plays ultra-defensively – or even just generally buckles down on defense better than Betis and Barcelona, who are two of the league’s worst defensive teams –they run into huge trouble. Their gameplan is lacking, they get exposed on the counter, and they send aimless crosses into the box.