Pre match analysis

Current performance VS players’ and team’s expected performance

One of the most awaited matches of the year has arrived: the Madrid derby. Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid, first and second respectively in the league table, face only one point apart.

From Olocip, we analyse the derby from a scientific point of view through artificial intelligence (AI) and on the basis of different predictive analyses, which determine the expected performance that players should offer compared to the registers they are currently offering, being able to identify objectively the performance and fitness of the players and impact on the team.

In this way, considering the statistics recorded up to Matchday 6 of the League, and through predictive AI models, it is possible to determine for example the probability of a shot ending in goal, given the characteristics of it.

The goal prediction models and their comparison against real statistics allow us to determine that Atletico would score 0.69 times, while Real Madrid would score 0.94 times. Atletico are well below the expected goalscoring figure, estimating that clear chances are not materialized, while  Real, without scoring 100% of the goals they should, are much more efficient. A very remarkable fact is that Madrid almost doubles in shots to Atletico, with 103 shots against 63.

In other words, the AI analysis confirms that Atletico have a hard time scoring and also shoots poorly, which explains the current record of 7 goals after 6 matches.

Benzema, leader of Madrid

The French forward, since his arrival in 2009, has always been a very questioned player but the data support his career, and this year is being the most decisive player of the madridistas. The ‘9’ is the offensive reference of the team with 21 shots. It is demonstrating a performance above expectations, having scored 5 goals against the 3 expected, thus ending goals in adverse situations and scoring 1 goal for every 5 shots on goal. In case of continuing this way, they would be his best records since he arrived at Madrid.

In addition, Karim stands out for his build up play, being a striker who likes to be in constant contact with the ball. In Olocip, we analyze the construction of the game from the model of artificial intelligence considering the participation in the creation of any play that ends in a shot. Analyzing this scenario, Benzema is one of the players who provides more build up play in Real Madrid, in a very similar way to Kroos or James, the two players who offer more build up play to the team in this season.

Another offensive dagger is Gareth Bale. The Welshman shows very positive numbers with two goals against the expected 1.64, and two assists for the expected 0.96, with 13 shots. Very relevant data, considering that he was about to leave the club in summer and is now one of the most outstanding players.

Very different is the situation in the Atletico if we talk about their strikers. Diego Costa debuted as a goalscorer on Wednesday in Mallorca and is below his expected goal which is 1.33, with 7 shots. In addition, his participation in the game is very low going unnoticed in the build up play, although it does mark a positive record to have given an assistance above expected, 0.69.

Worse are the records of Alvaro Morata, with a red card in Mallorca which does not allow him to play the derby, which has scored a goal by the 1.84 expected, and has not offered any assist, in comparison to the 0.96 predicted.

Joao Felix and Hazard, below his level

Both players were signed to be the star of their team. Atletico invested €126 million for a 19-year-old player with high expectations. For now, the Portuguese is below the expected level with 2 goals against 2.66 that should have scored in the 14 times he has shot.

A similar case, although with worse records and taking into account his injury, is Hazard. The Belgian landed in Madrid, after the white club invested €100 million, to be the key to Zidane’s project and, for now, the statistics do not match the expectations generated. The midfielder has not scored or assisted in the 125 minutes he has played, and has only shot 3 times.

In addition, in the build up play variable, where both players, Joao Felix and Hazard, should stand out for their quality with the ball, both are below the expected level with 0.64 and 0.36 respectively. This means that they still go unnoticed in his team’s play and appear with flashes thanks to their quality.

But the fans of Atlético and Real Madrid should not worry because on the basis of IA, the prediction of their records will improve considerably. Our performance prediction models are capable of estimating the performance of a player in a new context such as that of Joao Felix and Hazard in a new league, new teammates, different style of play, among others. Thus, the tool dictates that the scoring tendency of both the Belgian and the Portuguese will increase. Therefore the 7 madridista, that at the moment does not register any goal, is expected 0,31 goals by every 90 minutes; while the Atletico player will score 0,35, a very similar estimation and that is translated in a goal every 3 complete games played.

The full backs, decisive

Atletico fans were worried about the departure of Juanfran and Filipe Luis, but their replacements, Trippier and Lodi, are not going unnoticed. Both have adapted perfectly to Simeone’s team. The two are being decisive, with an assistance each one, being in addition his build up play also very significant. The English full-back is one of the players who contributes the most in build up play, only behind Koke. For his part, Lodi is adapting perfectly to European football, especially in attack with up to 4 shots.


In Real Madrid, Dani Carvajal stands out, LaLiga’s maximum assistant with 3, almost double the expected 1.59. In addition, the Spanish player has a high build up play in the game and has dared to shoot twice.

Lemar or Vitolo?

It seems that the one who has settled in the midfield is Thomas, and with Saul and Koke as regulars, there is only one gap left in Simeone’s usual 4-4-2. Cholo Simeone has tried both and for now the best performance has been Vitolo.

Both have approximately the same number of minutes, 299 of Vitolo by 282 of Lemar, but the Spanish highlights significantly over the French. The ex Sevilla player is in positive values, having scored 2 goals for the expected 1.68, while Lemar has not yet debuted as a goalscorer this season. In addition, in shots Vitolo is above with 6 against 1 only shot of the French.

At the same time something that surprises remarkably, bearing in mind that they are wingers, is that Lemar has hardly any offensive contribution, being one of the players in the squad with less build up play.

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