5 stats that show how Real Madrid have improved this season
Amongst the many gripping storylines propping up this season, Real Madrid's renaissance has to be one of the most noteworthy.
Of course it had to happen someday, but few would have predicted it to happen so quickly - especially after the train-wreck of a season that the team was coming off.
Miracle-worker Zinedine Zidane is successfully guiding the club back to its lofty heights. They sit pretty at the top of the table in LaLiga right now, three points clear of rivals Barcelona.
The results have markedly improved, even if they haven't been particularly striking. Several big names have hit a purple patch as the atmosphere around the Bernabeu is once again euphoric.
If you need data to back these claims, then let's delve through five important stats that point at the significant improvement Real Madrid have shown this term so far:
#5 They have conceded the fewest number of goals in Europe's top 5 leagues
Believe it or not, but Real Madrid currently have a better defensive record than any other side in Europe's top five leagues. Yes, that includes Liverpool.
Los Blancos have leaked only 13 goals from 22 games - exactly half of what holders Barcelona have, and seven fewer than even Atletico Madrid.
If you pit these stats against teams from other leagues too, you won't find a team that can rival Zidane's side.
Even the swashbuckling Liverpool have conceded 15 times, whereas PSG come next in the line of mean defences with only 14 goals let in. Juventus, who've traditionally been a defensive outfit, have conceded 21 times, whereas the fewest number of goals surrendered in the Bundesliga is 23 - jointly by Bayern Munich and Borussia Monchengladbach.
Given Real Madrid's history of defensive malaise, this is a real bonus. They've seriously turned into a mean outfit, and no longer struggle to shut teams out.
The rate at which the Meringues concede goals has fallen dramatically from 1.21 last season to just 0.59 this term. What's also impressive is that these 22 games have produced 12 clean sheets - the most behind PSG, who have maintained 13.
If you needed any further validation of Real Madrid's stoic backline, then let me tell you that the number of shots conceded on target is just an average of 2.62 per 90 minutes - also the lowest in Europe's leading divisions.
An old cliche in football says attack wins you games but defense wins you titles. It looks like the same philosophy is propelling Karim Benzema and Co towards their first league title since 2017.