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Real Madrid statistic suggests rest did them little good against Manchester City in Champions League

The preparation for Real Madrid and Manchester City could scarcely have been more opposed in the lead up to their clash on Tuesday night at the Santiago Bernabeu. Yet the statistics suggest that it mattered little on the night.Continue Reading..READ THE FULL STORY HERE▶

Los Blancos had a full nine days off after their victory over Athletic Club at the Santiago Bernabeu, and no fresh injury concerns heading into the match beyond the season-ending injuries to Thibaut Courtois and David Alaba.

Manchester City on the other hand were sweating on the fitness of Kyle Walker, Nathan Ake and Josko Gvardiol. The latter did end up playing, but Pep Guardiola also lost Kevin de Bruyne to illness just before the match began. While Real Madrid had been resting, City had also had two Premier League clashes against Aston Villa and Crystal Palace to contend with, as they try to maintain the defence of their title. Guardiola even commented after the match that the Premier League was ‘terrible’ for the rest they get.

It mattered little on the night by the looks of things. Despite Real Madrid setting up shop to defend and counter, and having had much more rest, City outran Los Blancos by 5.1km. The top four players Rodri (12km), Bernardo Silva (11.6km), Phil Foden and Mateo Kovacic (11.2km) were all City players too. The first to appear in that ranking from Real Madrid was Eduardo Camavinga (11.km), followed by Jude Bellingham (10.9km).

“I, and I speak for myself, am used to playing every three days, we like it more and our body gets used to that. When you stop for a week and say ‘I’m going to rest’ it’s worse. It seems like it’s twice as difficult, you get tired more, you get more cramps during the game… But it’s part of whoever made the schedule,” Fede Valverde told Marca after the match.

There was talk of a ‘mini preseason programme’ from fitness coach Antonio Pintus in the lead up to the game, but only four Real Madrid players crossed the 10km mark, compared to eight for Manchester City. Los Blancos did at least outsprint City, with the top three in terms of metres sprinting all coming from the hosts, although the top speed was set by Erling Haaland at 34.9km.

Naturally, these numbers mean little in the void, but it’s certainly noticeable that City perhaps were more mobile despite having 62% of the ball. It could also speak to somewhat aimless use of the ball that was the case for some of the match, but it will no doubt be a concern that they did not match their opponents fitness levels. Real Madrid face Real Mallorca away from home this Saturday, while City host Luton Town.

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Kylian Walterlin

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