Tag Archives: Roberto Soldado

La Liga Round 10

8 Nov

Some strange times in La Liga, as Ronaldo, Messi and Falcao all failed to score in the last round of fixtures, whilst at the same time, Real Betis fans are cheering on Sevilla – Salva Sevilla, a central midfielder who’s scored in his last two games for the club.

The lack of Ronaldo and Messi goals didn’t matter too much as both Real and Barca won, with Modric and Essien on the score sheet for the former. For Atleti, the lack of Falcao goals did hurt them as they went down 2-0 at Valencia, who opened the scoring through current average opposition leader Roberto Soldado (4 goals against an average of 7th). Falcao has scored almost half of Ateltico Madrid’s 22 La Liga goals this season in what has been a great start for both him and his club.

In terms of goals, last season’s Top three remain in order, with Falcao already equalling his number of goals against Top 6 opponents from last season. Along with Soldado, Pizzi also has four goals against an average ranked opponent of 7.00, whilst it’s Sevilla’s Negredo that is leading the way in the Top 6 stakes, with three stirkes against the best teams in the league (at the time of play).

In terms of team wins, whilst Barcelona have had their best start to a league season with 9 wins from 10, they’ve largely done it against the weaker teams, with five of those wins coming against teams in the Botton 6 – surely a very favourable fixture list to ease Tito into Pep’s rather large shoes. Real Madrid on the other hand have managed to beat an average ranked team of 11.00, with teams in the middle of the table, being beaten in the main, but surprisingly no Top 6 teams. City rivals and currently in second, Atletico Madrid lead the way against Top 6 teams with two wins already this season, though you expect them to somehow implode somewhere along the way – like the Man City of old, it’s in the club’s nature.

Real Sociedad have only managed three wins this season, and against an average ranked opposition of 17.00, it would appear as though there’s a struggle ahead. You should also fear for Mallorca. After starting the season in blistering fashion (three wins and two draws from the first 5 games), they’ve since lost five games in a row.

Advertisements

La Liga Round 34

24 Apr

First they said he couldn’t do it against Barcelona. Then they said that he could only score penalties against them. After that they said that he could only score from open play against the reserve keeper Pinto. Well now there’s no more excuses. Ronaldo has finally killed off any lingering doubts about his ability to perform in the biggest game – el Clasico. And this time, like his winner in last years Copa del Rey final, it was crucial. Now this blog isn’t a Ronaldo love in. Truth be told, I had a thorough dislike of the Portuguese winger during his time at Old Trafford due to his diving, cheating and general arrogance. Something changed though, I don’t know if it’s because he’s now something of an underdog (to Messi) or that it seemed that until now, everything he did had a “but” close behind. Now that Chelsea have knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League, Ronaldo potentially has the upper hand in the claim to be the World’s best. And the stats below, both assists and goalscoring back it up.

After beating Barcelona in their own backyard, Real Madrid moved 7 points clear of their hated rivals in the bid to win the title for the first time since 2008. Mourinho has all but delivered, and like with Ronaldo, the team can also say they have passed the hardest test. And what cannot go unmentioned is the excellent throughball that Mesut Ozil played for the winning goal. That’s his 16th assist of the season, meaning he’s top of the creators:

Although he has the lowest ranked opponent per assist from the top 5 players, the assist for Ronaldo at the weekend is likely to win the league. He’s just above team mates Angel Di Maria (14 at 10.07) and Ronaldo who has the 11 assists – and like the goals, he has the most against Top 6 Opponents as well with 5, which is reflected in his average opposition ranking of 7.36. Barca pair Messi and Dani Alves make up the top five creators.

And so on to the goalscoring.

Ronaldo’s goal against Barca takes him one clear of Messi in the race for the Golden Boot with a mind boggling 42. It also increases his number of goals against Top 6 teams to 16 – a number I doubt will ever be matched after this season. Whilst Ronaldo is the big game player in the Top 6 measure, it’s Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez that has the best average ranked opponent per goal with 6.91. His equaliser against 1st placed Real Madrid was his 4th against Top 6 teams, and none of his 11 league goals have been against the Bottom 6.

The flat track bully continues to be Seville’s del Moral with 17.30 for his 10 league goals. None of his goals have been against Top 6 teams. Worryingly for Cesc Fabregas, he’s fallen out of both the Top Scorers and Top Assists league.

In the battle for the Champions League spots, Valencia continued their inconsistent consistency with a 4-0 win over 12th placed Betis. Roberto Soldado was once again on the scoresheet – hitting his 17th of the season – against an average opponent ranked 8.59, his goals have been worth 15 points for the team that seem to always finish 3rd. And that position looks a bit stronger after Malaga drew 1-1 with Osasuna in another all Top 6 game. Santi Cazorla scored his 9th goal of the season (12.44) and his 3rd against Top 6 opposition with a brilliant strike from 25 yards into the top corner. For once it wasn’t a free kick, but it was familiar territory.

Levante made it three games without a win as they look set to fall just short for the Champions League spots. A 1-1 draw away at 9th placed Seville sees them just about cling onto 5th place. Arouna Kone scored his 14th La Liga goal of the season (10.50) against his parent club. Athletic Bilbao have finally shaken off their funk with their third win in four games, this time against bottom club Racing Santander who are all but relegated. This put Bilbao back up into 6th after hitting the depths of 11th just a few games ago.

At the bottom, Villarreal are dragging themselves to safety, largely down to one of the old guard. Marcos Senna enjoyed the good times at the club which saw them reach the 2006 Champions League Semi Final, and consistently high finishes in the league. Aged 35 and predominantly a holding midfielder, the Brazilian Born former Spanish International has scored 4 goals in his last 11 games – winning the club five points (average opposition 7.00). The latest was at the weekend against 15th placed Real Sociedad in a 1-1 draw. That point takes them 6 points clear of 18th placed Sporting Gijon and Zaragoza in 19th. With 4 games to go, it looks like Senna’s sudden goal rush could be the difference in staying up and going down. His previous highest La Liga tally? Also 4 – when he was 30. The late equaliser in that game for Real Sociedad was Carlos Vela (10.27). He’s now extended his run to 7 goals in 9 games, and 11 overall for the season. Chuck in 7 assists and it’s been a good loan move for all invloved. He wants to stay in Spain, but with little back up for van Persie at Arsenal, maybe next season could be the one to see him finally establish himself in North London.

With four games to go, the title and relegation is all but wrapped up, with the last battle taking place being the race for Champions League Football. Three games without a win couldn’t have come at a worse time for Barcelona – meaning that they’ve effectively lost the Title and Champions League crowns in the space of a week. Guardiola still hasn’t signed his new deal, and Messi still hasn’t scored against Chelsea.

Cheers,

Liam

La Liga Round 33

17 Apr

As much as I hate to focus on the two poster boys of La Liga, it’s very hard not to. Because they’ve both just broken the scoring record in the Spanish League on the same weekend. In round 29, I put up their stats side by side. Since then, they’ve both scored six goals – so let’s have another look:

Messi wins the games per goal.

Ronaldo wins on Average Opposition.

Messi wins when taking away Penalties.

Ronaldo has most goals against the Top 6.

Messi has more assists.

Ronaldo has less goals against the Bottom 6.

Messi’s goals have been worth more points.

So the winner is………..Going to be known at the end of the season. If they don’t finish level on goals, then one of them is going to feel very very hard done by at not winning a golden boot. It looks like Ronaldo is favourite for the league title though, as Madrid came from behind to beat 18th placed Sporting Gijon. It was the usual trio of Ronaldo, Benzema (18 goals – 10.56) and Higuain (21 goals – 9.52) with the goals as Madrid scored their 107th league goal of the season. Those chancers over in Catalunya only have 96 goals after beating 5th placed Levante 2-1, courtesy of Magic Messi. The gap is still four points and the next game is of course el Clasico this weekend. It’s a big one.

Somehow still in 3rd place and around 70 points behind Barcelona are Valencia. To say they’ve had an inconsistent run is a bit of an understatement. After beating 12th placed Vallecano 4-1 last week, they lost 4-0 to 10th placed Espanyol. The last 6 games have seen just 5 points returned. That means the fight for fourth has become a fight for third. But it’s a fight that nobody seems to want to win. Malaga in 4th have one win from four games, everyone’s favourite underdogs Levante are in 5th with one win in five and Osasuna in 6th have one win in four. This is the form table over eight games:

No surpise at the top, but the race for the Champions League spots could go to any of the top 11 teams. Valencia’s 14 wins is the lowest total for the 3rd placed teams in Spain, England, Germany, France and Italy……and Holland and Portugal and Belgium and Turkey. Even Accrington Stanley (who are they? Exactly) have 14 wins in League Two, and they’re in 12th place.

Hats of to Getafe who are 3rd in the form table. They beat 7th placed Seville 5-1, in a game that saw Venezeulan striker Nicolas Fedor score a brace. Who he? You’ll know him (possibly) as Miku. The former Valencia youngster scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season to catapult him into the Top Scorers list, as seen below:

He’s performed well against decent opposition too – with an average of 8.73 (3rd best) and 5 of his 11 goals coming against Top 6 opposition, including two against league leaders Real Madrid. He still has a way to go to beat Alexis Sanchez’ 7.50 average, and Ronaldo’s 15 goals against the Top 6. Those two are the big game players, with a nod to Messi (10 goals against Top 6) and Valencia’s Roberto Soldado (8.38).

The Flat Track Bully continues to be Manu del Moral of Seville. His average of 17.30 is the lowest of any player in the Top European Leagues with 10 goals or more. He won’t mind too much though, as this is the most prolific season of his career. Other movers on the top scorers list this weekend were Fernando Llorente (16 goals – 10.8), Castro Martin (14 goals – 10.14), Negredo (11 goals – 13.27) and our favourite player Falcao. The Colombian now has a very impressive 22 goals for the season (30 in all competitions). His latest victims were 13th placed Rayo Vallecano – a ranking right up his street. That’s 7 goals in his last 8 games for the player sometimes criticised for bullying the poor clubs (not by me, that’s for sure). Well played Radamel.

That’s all for now, anyone watching the Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid will know that I always believed in Mario Gomez as a big game player as well. Honestly.

Cheers,

Liam

La Liga Round 27

20 Mar

First and foremost, nothing to do with stats but a bit of class displayed by Real Madrid at the weekend after the terrible news about Fabrice Muamba:

It was a nice touch from a club that has it’s fair share of detractors (not least Fergie), and especially the note to Barcelona’s Abidal who’s awaiting a Liver Transplant after overcoming Cancer last year.

Unfortunately for Madrid, there wasn’t the same amount of goodwill shown to them from Malaga (6th). All looked to be going according to plan with Benzema’s 4th goal against Top 6 opponents, with an assist from Cristiano Ronaldo. This would have been 12 straight league wins – a record held under Pellegrini, now coach of……Malaga! Luckily for him, Santi Cazorla stepped up in the very last minute and scored a fantastic free kick – as seen here. With Madrid finally dropping points, Barcelona managed to clse the gap to a slightly less uncatchable 8 points with a 2-0 win away at Seville (10th). As usual, Messi scored, but what is interesting is that Xavi scored his 8th league goal of the season, and 13th overall. Aged 32, Xavi is enjoying the best goalscoring season of his career. In fact, at the time of writing, he’s just scored against Granada to make it 14 goals for the season.

Messi’s goal meant that he closed the gap on Ronaldo to 1 goal in the race for the golden boot (though he has also juist scored twice against Granada to become Barcelona’s all time leading scorer – more of that in round 28). Ronaldo still leads the way in goals against the Top 6 with a whopping 13. He doesn’t hold the Big Game Player tag though, that still remains with Cesc Fabregas. The former Arsenal schemer is going through a barren run in front of goal at the moment (2 goals since Christmas), but at least that keeps his average opponent ranking per goal at 4.78, and if we’re honest, he’s probably got his priorities right.

One Spaniard who has managed to break his scoring duck is Valencia’s Roberto Soldado. His hat trick against 5th placed Bilbao ended a 2 month dry spell in La Liga. And it’s also increased his AOI to 8.20, whilst taking his goals against Top 6 opponents to 8. Just ahead of him in the goal scoring charts is friend of the site, Falcao. After the blip of scoring against Barcelona recently, he’s returned to form and scored in successive games against 16th place Granada, and 14th place Mallorca. Though it must be said that the goal at the weekend was a beauty (click here). Plus 17 goals in a debut season is not to be sniffed at.

A new face to La Liga currently making waves is Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian youngster is on loan at Espanyol from Inter Milan, and after a slow start, he’s scored 3 goals in his last two games. A brace in the 5-1 win against Rayo Vallencano (11th), followed up with a goal and an assist against Racing Stantander, have helped the Barcelona club into 6th.

And a La Liga round up wouldn’t be complete without checking on Levante. And I’m pleased to report that they are back in 4th place after losing it briefly in the last round. Three wins in four games is a good turn around after three in fifteen. This is a team that finished 14th last season. The latest victory was against the Yellow Submarines, Villarreal. And what of the team that finished 4th last season? Well I think it’s fair to say that they’ve had a shocker this season. The defeat to Levant was their 4th in 5 games, and it leaves them just one place above the bottom 3.

Premier League Update to come once the midweek fixtures have been completed.

Cheers,

Liam

La Liga Round 19

26 Jan

Whilst all eyes were on the 127th el Clasico(s) of the last 12 months, there have also been some league games since the last La Liga update. After the crushing defeat at home to Barca before Christmas, Real have put together a fantastic run of victories – winning the last 4 league games, and scoring 17 goals in the process. They say a measure of a team is how they react to set backs. Mourinho’s men have certainly reacted well to the Barca defeat, and now hold a 5 point lead at the top after Barcelona dropped points to neighbours Espanyol. However, they’ll have to react well again after another defeat in the Copa del Rey to their bitter rivals, and talk of dressing room unrest between the Spanish players and the Portuguese speakers (which was also leaked to the press).

Jose is currently in the middle of a dressing room war, and looks very sad about it, though that could be because someone stole his glove puppet.

Valencia are sitting pretty in 3rd without having to do much, whilst Levante’s early season run is a thing of the past. No wins in 4 games, and only 1 goal. They’re still clinging onto 4th spot, but Espanyol have closed the gap to 3 points. I think most neutrals would be happy for either to finish in the last Champions League spot.

Onto the players and the Average Opposition Index. It’s no surprise to see Cristiano and Leo at the top. Ronaldo banged in 2 more goals at the weekend (both penalties) whilst Messi scored his 4th hat trick of another mediocre season. Like his boss, Ronaldo has also been under fire in the Madrid press, though he has since gone on to score in both legs of Madrid’s cup defeat to Barca. That should shut a few people up – and would suggest I wrote him off too soon myself in the Player Comparison.

Ronaldo’s 2 against Bilbao improved both his AOI and also increased his goals against Top 6 opposition to 9 – impressive stuff. Similarly, Messi’s hat trick against 8th placed Malaga also helped his average increase to 9.59. Prodigal son, Cesc Fabregas is still leading the way from an AOI ranking with a frankly ridiculous 4.78 ranked opponent per goal. He is the stand out big game player, and seems to be refusing to score against the bottom 6 teams.  Team mate Alexis Sanchez also deserves a nod for his impressive 6.73, and has scored 6 league goals in the last 6 games. The two major signings have certainly hit the ground running for Barca this year. The whole team seem to be able to do it regardless of the opposition (unless it’s Getafe).

Roberto Soldado continued his good season with his 12th of the season against 5th placed Osasuna. He’s currently many people’s choice for Fernando Torres’ international place – although with Villa out, he may get a stay of execution. Another rival for that place is Bilbao’s Llorente, who scored his team’s only goal in a 4-1 defeat at the Bernebeu. Nonetheless, it gave him his second goal vs the elite, and also improved his average to a decent 8.43.

 Falcao celebrating after scoring another goal against the local Blind School’s Under 12’s mixed XI

At the other end of the Index, despite what appears to be a cracking start to his career in Spain, Falcao continues to bully the smaller clubs. His hat trick at the weekend (his 2nd of the season) was against 14th placed Sociedad. Now, I’m not saying he’s a poor player, far from it, it’s just the facts would suggest he flatters to deceive. His 14 league goals have come in 8 games. The highest ranking opponent that he’s hit the net against was 10th placed Vallecano. He’s scored 3 of his goals against then 20th placed teams, whilst his hat trick at the weekend actually improved his AOI rating. He’s undoubtedly a good player, he just has to prove it againt someone half decent.

What will the second half of the season bring? Real to hold onto their lead and win the title ahead of the best team ever? Maybe. Messi and Ronaldo to score 100 goals between them in all competitions again? Probably. Fabregas to keep up his average opponent per goal rate? Unlikely.

It’ll be an interesting second half in Spain, personally, i’d love to see Levante hold on to 4th (if not, then Espanyol), Valencia to put a bit more pressure on the top 2, and Falcao to score against one of the Top 9.

Cheers,

Liam

La Liga Round 18 – Pre Winter Break

5 Jan

As promised, here’s the Spanish League Average Opposition Index for the Top Scorers up until the Christmas break. Ronaldo leads the way with goals, and the most goals against Top 6 Opposition – after recent Hat Tricks away at Malaga and Sevilla. This also helps his Average Opposition rating to a healthy 8.85. His rival for the golden boot, and World’s Greatest Player moniker, Leo Messi, is on 17 league goals – with an average of 9.82. For the record, Ronaldo has 7 penalties to Messi’s 1.

However, neither lead the Average Opposition ranking. That goes to Cesc Fabregas with an incredible 4.38 ranked opponent per goal. It was clear that he’d made a great start since returning to Barcelona, but 4.38 is the lowest I’ve seen in any league across the last 3 years. The average has been boosted by the early season table with a goal in each of his first 4 games against Villarreal #4th, Real Sociedad #5th, Osasuna #7th and Valencia – then 1st. As the table has matured and taken a more familiar shape, he has kept up his impressive big game performances. In his last two games before the Winter Break, he scored 2 goals against 4th placed surprise package Levante (who beat Madrid earlier in the season), and also the final goal in the 3-1 win away at 2nd placed Real Madrid with a rare header.

As per the stats below, the player with the second best Average is Karim Benzema (Average Opponent per goal is ranked 8.25). It’s fair to say that he’s taken his time to settle in Madrid. His undoubted ability has been more apparent this season with more chances, and his goals against Barcelona and away at Valencia go some way to proving this.

The tag of “flat track bully” belongs to Atletico Madrid’s new signing Falcao. He started the season on fire with 5 goals in the first 4 games – including a hat trick against 13th placed Racing Santander. Scoring 9 goals in a new league by the 18th round of fixtures is certainly commendably, but on closer inspection of his opponents, the picture is a little different. The highest ranked opponent that he’s scored against is 10th place (both Rayo Vallecano and Espanyol) whilst he has 3 goals versus opponents ranked in bottom place at the time – a brace against Sporting Gijon in round 4 and one against Getafe. So whilst he’s done well to settle into a new league, he still has a way to go to justify the big fee and big hype. He proved last season that he can do it in the big games (as his winner in the Europa League Final showed) and perhaps the second half of the season will see this.

Along with Falcao, Michu of Rayo Vallecano is the only other player in the top scorers list without a goal vs Top 6 opponents this season – although stats can be deciving. He actually scored 2 goals away at Real Madrid in a 6-2 defeat early in the season. At the time Madrid were ranked in 7th. His average at the end of the season once revised for final positions will certainly reflect better, as no doubt Fabregas’ will lower.

In terms of the Average Opposition Index per team, 10th Placed Getafe have had the hardest run in – their average opposition is ranked in 9th place. The surprise performers of the season so far are 4th placed Levante and it’s somewhat  surprising that they’ve had the 2nd hardest run in terms of the form of their opponents at the time of playing. At the other end of the table, Real Zaragoza’s league position is demonstrative of the form of their oppoents.

I’ll be updating the Premier League for Round 20 shortly, as well as Serie A.

Cheers,

Liam