5 players most responsible for first place after 7 matches


Real Madrid, Karim Benzema

Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Real Madrid sit in first place in LaLiga after seven Matchdays, in spite of the fact that there are some serious concerns with this team. Aside from the depth issues in defense, particularly at the fullback positions, the overall defensive structure has been suspect and can be exploited by better sides. And despite the league-high 21 goals, Real have struggled to score against quality opponents Real Betis and Villarreal.

Even so, they sit in first, outperforming their xG by nearly nine goals. Maybe that isn’t sustainable, but they also have two of the most in-form players in Europe in Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema.

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Those two players have been excellent to start the season, but who else has been key to Real Madrid’s first-place start in LaLiga under Carlo Ancelotti?

CF Karim Benzema

I always list Karim Benzema as a center-forward and not a striker, because I want to emphasize just how much he helps the team beyond just goals. Of course, the goals are most vital to Real Madrid. Without his league-leading eight goals, Real would not be in first, just as they would not be in first without his league-high seven assists.

On top of that, per WhoScored.com, Benzema is averaging 2.1 key passes per game. And per FBRef.com, he has more pressures in the final third than anyone else on the team.

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Attacks start with Benzema, and they often end with the Frenchman. A combined 15 goals and assists in seven matches is ridiculous, and it is fair to say that nobody in the world is playing at a higher level than Benzema right now.


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