Half way through, 19 games gone, Real Madrid are 2nd in the league as they were the season before, so whats changed at the Bernabeu since this time last year ?
As both managers were in their first seasons, then the comparison is a fairly justified one as far as time to work with their current teams. Both managers had a similar amount of time to pass on their approach and tactics to their squad and integrate the new signings into their side. Current manager Jose Mourinho will be at a slight advantage over former manager and current Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini as some of the Galactico signings of the summer of 2009 should by now be firmly to grasp with their new surroundings. Injuries will alter the sides to varying degrees but question marks are currently being asked as to who takes the blame for them, is it just unlucky or is it down to individuals fitness or coaching methods ? Investment was obviously considerably more in Pellegrini’s time but the players of a whole brought in were of a world-class standard so it could only help Mourinho. The involvement of the managers in the transfers could be argued as the purse strings are mainly controlled by Jorge Valdano and Florentino Pérez, but the signing of Ricardo Carvalho indicates that Jose has a bit more power in the boardroom than Manuel ever possessed. Style of football has changed during the course of Mourinho’s time with a need to shore up the defence in the early part of the season and looking somewhat disjointed whilst going forward, a sort of back to basics, which had supporters concerned they would be playing like his previous club. But in the latter part of the year as players have glued and developed an understanding the team have looked more fluent when going forward and have at times appeased the baying fans who demand stylish attacking football. The press have definitely given Mourinho more of an easy ride than he’s predecessor or it could just be that newspapers such as Marca couldn’t have done much more in their vendetta against the Chilean.
League games have only been taken into consideration for this comparison, the only real way of measuring Real’s achievement in Europe will be if they make it past that dreaded stage of the last 16 which they have fell victim to over the last few years. The fixtures aren’t identical in the league due to promotion/relegation and home/away so it can’t be taken as definitive, every statistic has its place and all that. But it is certainly a useful tool in measuring the progress that has been made by Los Blancos.
Pld W D L Pts
Pellegrini (2009-10) 19 14 2 3 44
Mourinho (2010-11) 19 15 3 1 48
This shows itself that Mourinho is performing well, although only a rise of 4 points this is considerable when Barcelona have only dropped 5 points all season. With Real currently 4 points behind the league leaders, an 8 point gap would be hard for even the strongest of mentality’s not to register. An average of 2.32 points per game (ppg) for Pellegrini compared to Mourinho’s 2.53 ppg, which is also an increase from last years Internazionale rate after 19 games of 2.37 ppg. Real harder to beat now with only one loss, but what a loss it was.
Perhaps a more myth buster fact to what you would have expected is that Mourinho’s Real have scored more goals (47) than Pellegrini’s at this stage (44). But what will surprise many is they have also shipped in more goals with Jose’s conceding (17) to Manuel’s (14), tellingly Inter had also let in 17 goals at the half way point last season.
No. of Clean sheets Percentage
Pellegrini (200910) 11 57.89%
Mourinho (2010-11) 8 42.1%
Perhaps the increase in goals has led to them becoming more susceptible at the back however 3 goals either way is fairly marginal in the scheme of things. Both of the Real Madrid sides at this stage have a goal difference of +30 but Barcelona’s has increased from +39 to +50. The two managers have a 100% home record so the key to where improvement can and has been made is in the away form. 4 wins in 9 games in Pellegrini’s reign and 6 wins in 10 under Mourinho’s. The fact that Barcelona have a 100% away record after 9 games means there is a lot of hard work to be done, but with away trips to Valencia, Sevilla, Villarreal and Real for the Catalans sterner tests are around the corner.
If Real were to continue in the same way as they have done so far this season, then their projected points total will be 96 the same total they achieved in their record points amount last year. However Pellegrini’s side had a fantastic 2nd half to the season picking up 52 points with fewer games to play due to there Champions League exit assisting the team. A key area for Mourinho will be maintaining a balance as at both his seasons with Inter he has had a points advantage on his rivals at this stage, subsequently his sides have not finished the seasons as strongly with 37 points last year and 41 the year before. In fairness to Jose, when Barcelona also recorded there treble in the season 2008/09 and Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge they too earned 37 points from the remaining 19 games. But the bar has been lifted in La Liga since then with no side ever having achieved 52 points at the half way point till now.
On conclusion Mourinho’s Real Madrid are progressing nicely unfortunately for them so too are its arch rivals Barcelona who are just getting better and better. Although it doesn’t look likely that either side will lose many domestic games or even drop many points before the end of the season, you can never tell in football as a spate of injuries or off field problems could derail the sides when you least expect it. What can be guaranteed though is that whoever does win this league they will throughly deserve it.