La Liga

Possession v Goals: Which La Liga sides take advantage of their possession?

In this simple comparison we take possession and goals scored to see how effective teams are when they have the ball

9:00am on Saturday 20th June 2020
By
Gonzalo Obando

There has been some focus recently on the usefulness of possession, and how a player's pass completion rates and indeed number of completed passes aren't much of an indicator of what a player does well, other than the fact they retain the ball.

FootballCritic previously took two statistics - possession percentage and goals scored - and applied it to the Premier League.

We looked at how 'possession effective' teams are by taking their goals scored and dividing it by their average % possession across the season.

Now, we will use the same formula for La Liga.

LA LIGA

Barcelona are the clear leaders and the only team in Spain with a +1x possession effectiveness. In Europe's top five leagues, only Manchester City and Bayern Munich enjoy more possession than the Blaugrana.

Unlike the Bundesliga, Serie A or Premier League, La Liga has no teams that average sub-40% possession - perhaps suggesting how even for the lower teams possession is a basic principle of play.

Getafe are nearly as effective as Real Madrid this season which is impressive but they deploy a different tactical system, as they are more counter-attacking focused.

Atletico Madrid are curiously low despite being fourth in the Spanish top flight, although it makes sense when you consider that they have been struggling in the final third all season, with them ninth in the table for the number of goals scored this campaign (37 in 29 matches).

Lowly Celta have only scored a poor 22 goals this season - the worst tally in the league alongside Leganes - but still find themselves outside the relegation zone thanks to a have superior defensive record than the teams below.

The same could be said for Athletic, as they have managed to regularly maintain their position in midtable despite having a shocking goalscoring record. However, they do have the third-best defence in La Liga behind Real Madrid and Atletico.

Numbers calculated 16 June, 2020.

Latest news

Premier League

Premier League injuries and suspensions: David Luiz an Arsenal doubt

Check out our regularly updated list tracking all of the latest unavailable players in England's top division.

  • 13 hours
Predicted XIs

How Barcelona and Atletico Madrid could line up in La Liga showdown

The title race in Spain is set to go down to the wire, with both Barca and Atleti still in the mix to be crowned champions

  • 19 hours
Match Preview

Premier League team news: How Liverpool could line up against Southampton

Jurgen Klopp has no new injury concerns coming into this one as Liverpool aim to keep their Champions League qualification hopes alive

  • 20 hours
Predicted XIs

Premier League team news: How Manchester City and Chelsea could line up

Pep Guardiola's side have the chance to wrap up the Premier League title when the Blues visit the Etihad Stadium over the weekend

  • 21 hours
Player Ratings

Arsenal 0-0 Villarreal Player Ratings: Saka and Odegaard struggle as Arsenal fail to reach Europa League final

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal side failed to reach the final of the Europa League on Thursday after struggling to overcome a strong Villarreal side

  • 1 day
Player Ratings

Roma 3-2 Manchester United Player Ratings: De Gea shines in defeat as Solskjaer’s side reach Europa League final

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man Utd side qualified for the final of the Europa League despite losing to Roma on Thursday evening

  • 1 day

Most read