Real Madrid: Statistics show strikerless team against Getafe
With Gareth Bale on the right and Karim Benzema drifting left, Real attacked through the middle less than any LaLiga team this weekend.
Real Madrid's opening game of the LaLiga season may have brought a 2-0 home win over Getafe, but it also offered plenty of evidence that they need to sign an out-and-out centre-forward to help make up the goalscoring shortfall caused by Cristiano Ronaldo's departure. Not only that: they need someone who can in general up the team's presence in the penalty area and serve as the focal point of the attack.
Bale, Benzema chiefly involved out wide, Asensio outside box
Heat maps of Real's front three on Sunday show that Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale both spent most of their time out on the wings, away from the box. Benzema - nominally Los Blancos' number nine - chiefly popped up on the left-hand side, while on the other flank Bale further underlined that he is first and foremost a wide player and, on top of that, was frequently in his own half of the pitch.
With neither the Frenchman nor the Welshman spending much time in the middle, it was Marco Asensio who was the most active of the forward trio in central areas, albeit primarily on the edge of - rather than inside - the box.
Compare that to last season's home win over Getafe...
In last season's corresponding LaLiga fixture, meanwhile, the presence of Cristiano alongside Bale and Benzema in a 3-1 victory in March can, as is displayed in the heat maps above, clearly be seen to have given Real a much more consistent presence in front of goal; indeed, the Portuguese scored two of the European champions' haul of three that day, with the 'Cardiff Express' getting the other.
No other LaLiga team attacked less through the middle in week 1
And further evidence of the forward line's tendency to vacate central areas against Getafe can also be found in Opta's statistics on time spent in the opposition's middle third: just 17.48% of Real Madrid's attacking play took place in this area of Los Azulones' half - a percentage that was lower than every other team in Primera División this weekend (see table below).
LaLiga teams' presence in opposition's central third in week 1