El Centrocampista

Messi is Mr Consistency while Mourinho’s Madrid misfire

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

After threats of strikes and unrest over controversial kick off times, the 20012/13 Spanish league campaign finally got under way last weekend.  Barcelona began the new Tito Villanova era with a five goal win over Real Sociedad while Real Madrid were forced to settle for a draw in their home opener against Mauricio Pellegrino’s Valencia. However, there were other stories and statistics to talk about from the first week of the new La Liga season.

The kids are alright

La Liga began with a late goal from Malaga against Celta de Vigo. In the 84th minute a Cameroon striker by the name of Fabrice Olinga became the youngest ever goalscorer in La Liga history. Fabrice got his name in the books at the tender age of 16 years and 98 days – 191 days younger than the previous record holder, Iker Munian. Ironically the African striker didn’t even have the necessary visa to stay in Spain just one week before the start of the season.

Madrid shooting fiasco

Real Madrid had 24 shots during their opener against Valencia, however, they only managed one goal. Madrid were the only team in La Liga to shoot more than 18 times in the first week. In fact, they had 15 off target efforts more than the entire total amount of shots taken by 12 clubs. Their nine shots on target was second only to Barcelona but compared to their bitter rivals, Mou’s side found a great resolute goalkeeper in the shape of Diego Alves, who saved eight of those nine shots.

Valladolid, Levante and Valencia doing more with less             

In contrast to Real Madrid, no team found more success with their shooting efforts than newly promoted Real Valladolid. Miroslav Dukic’s team were the only side who began with a win despite having less than 10 shots on goal – seven in total and only two on target. While both Levante and Valencia scored with their only efforts on target.

Barcelona and Betis tiki-taka

Both Barcelona and Betis played some beautiful football in the first week. The Catalans not only scored five goals but they also managed to record assists for all five. Betis also netted five times, although they had one less assist. Interestingly, all of Barcelona’s five assists came from La Masia graduates, as well as four of their goals.

Hemed improvement and magical Messi numbers

Mallorca striker Tomer Hemed only managed 11 shots on target last season, scoring just three times from open play. However, the Israeli started this campaign with four shots on target and two goals – quite an improvement. Messi on the other hand seems to be a master of consistency, with a 2:1 ratio in shots, shots on target and goals. Last year the Argentine scored 50 goals in 100 shots on target and 202 total shots. Against Sociedad, he took eight shots, four on target and scored two goals.

The best of the rest from La Liga’s opening week

The first 10 La Liga games brought the following figures: 29 goals – only one from the penalty spot, with two penalties missed,  259 shots with 90 being on target, 60 shots came from an individual effort, while 23 of the 29 goals were assisted by a teammate. Goalkeepers stopped a total of 60 efforts. However, no one who stopped more than three shots managed a clean sheet. Roberto from Zaragoza began the season saving his first penalty (no goalkeeper saved more than two penalties in all of last season).

There were a total of 409 tackles but also a total of 261 fouls, with Getafe leading both categories. They were also 319 interceptions, 548 attempts of clearances with only 303 successful. Teams were dispossessed off the ball 224 times and also suffered 179 turnovers. Four players lead the top scoring board with two goals with San José being the only non striker, while Cristian Tello and Ibai Gómez are leading the assists category with two apiece.

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