Interesting La Liga stats ahead of Matchday 22

The match up

Atlético de Madrid host Athletic Club as high-pressing sides collide

Atlético de Madrid vs Athletic Club promises to be an attractive encounter, not only given what’s at stake in the league table, but also because of the easy‑on‑the‑eye brand of football played by both teams. The hosts are the division’s top dogs for goals scored after regaining possession in the opposition’s half, despite the fact that nobody records more recoveries than their Matchday 22 opponents, Athletic Club. Meanwhile, although Diego Simeone’s charges receive more shots, the Basques concede more goals than their Madrilenian rivals. Elsewhere, Ernesto Valverde’s recruits hold the upper hand on the number of actions completed at over 21km/hr.

The video shows just what a crucial role Nico Williams plays in terms of breaking the opposition’s line with his dribbling, a facet of his game in which he ranks as the third top-performing player in the competition.

Fact of the week

Rayo Vallecano’s textbook press

When a team attempt to regain possession, it’s not all about pressing hard, but applying the press in the right way. One side that have got it down to a fine art are Andoni Iraola’s Rayo Vallecano, who lie second in the league standings for the number of recoveries per game. However, if we shine the spotlight on these recoveries, we can see that the Vallecas-based outfit claim the final spot on the LaLiga Santander podium for how high up the pitch the recoveries are made. The following graphic shows the areas in which they make the most recoveries in the opposition’s half.

Remarkable coach

Ernesto Valverde’s bold style reaps rewards

It’s certainly no mean feat producing convincing and entertaining performances while also putting points on the board. And Ernesto Valverde is managing to do just that as he brings a balance and solidity to his Athletic Club side. The Basques are the Spanish top flight’s second‑top team when it comes to the percentage of recoveries in the opposition’s half, which clearly reflects their bold approach. However, the boys from Bilbao offer great intensity in pretty much all of their actions. They lead the way for the number of actions performed at over 21km/hr and those at above 24km/hr, while they clinch second spot for actions at 28km/hr. Meanwhile, no other side chalk up more recoveries than they do. These statistics are really eye-catching and are a faithful reflection of a side that is renowned for its intensity levels.

Key player

Multifaceted Pedri is man for all occasions

The Canary Islander plays a key role in his team’s build-up play and is also one of the leading players in the league in terms of the number of passes he executes and their quality. However, his game isn’t just about creating play, he is also a fine finisher. As we can see in the following video, he tops the FC Barcelona charts for the percentage of successful goal attempts and he lies third in this department across the whole division (35.3%). However, Pedri’s role within the system extends far beyond pure statistics, regardless of how impressive they may be. It is worth noting that he features amongst the top 10 players in the Spanish top tier for the total number of attacking actions. The following graphic reflects the types of goals he scores and his preference for finding the net from the left.

Remember his name

Bryan Gil is determined to make a difference

Bryan Gil’s arrival at Sevilla FC has injected a breath of fresh air into a jaded squad that endured one of the worst first halves of the season in the club’s history. Jorge Sampaoli’s men appear to be seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel and the fresh-faced Gil has had a big hand in the turnaround. Although he has only recently arrived, he has already made a big impression, racking up more actions at over 21km/hr and 24km/hr than any of his new teammates in their latest outing. The actions he completed at over 24km/hr are represented in the graphic below. The Spanish youngster is clearly making an impact in terms of his intensity levels, while he is sure to play an increasingly prominent role on the ball, where he has already weighed in with one goal.

Metric of the week

Distance to nearest opponent when receiving the ball

Distances are an important element that allow us to measure a range of aspects in a number of phases and areas of the game, offering us a fine insight into the on­‑field action. In this instance, we focus on the distance to the nearest opponent when receiving the ball, which measures the space between a player when they receive the ball and the nearest opposing player.

MG Team

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