Espanyol, the butter of the championship

In full broadcast of Movistar +, as soon as the match began, Jorge Valdano slipped a piece of information: “Espanyol and Madrid are the two cleanest teams in LaLiga”. Perhaps the former coach of the white team already sensed that Vicente Moreno’s men were not going to put up excessive resistance, so he added “There should be no risk of injury for the Champions League match”. Indeed, the Blue and Whites only committed six fouls in the entire match, five fewer even than Real Madrid.

After 90 minutes and 4-0, Espanyol’s bad image especially in the final stretch, Diego López was clear with his message to Espanyol TV: “It’s time to accept that they beat us easily, we didn’t play a good game, we have to play with intensity and play a tough game; if you don’t, you suffer. You have to think about Sunday’s momentous game”. That intensity or hardness have been recurring concepts, especially away from the RCDE Stadium, where the Blue and Whites suffer.

Spanish Shield / Flag

LaLiga Santander

*Data updated as of May 1, 2022

Espanyol is the second team that commits the fewest fouls. So far it adds 389 to 361 of the League champion. The third that commits the least is Sevilla, with 405. It is striking that the teams in the lower middle part of the table are the ones that most resort to aggressive play, to that intensity and contact in one-on-one, as is the case of the Valencia (565), Levante (503), Getafe (491), Alavés (490) or Mallorca (486)according to data prior to this day played half.

“Espanyol did not achieve the record for the fewest fouls at the Bernabéu: in Vigo they lost 3-1 and only committed five”

The analysis of the goals of the Bernabéu prove Diego López right, especially the plays of 2-0 and 3-0 in which Espanyol loses a ball and is not able to stop the counterattack. First, Yangel Herrera who relaxes with the ball and steals it without much response; Later, a wall intercepted between RdT and Óscar Melendo in which the striker did not react either and the defense of three central defenders was left exposed. The Valencian coach did not refer to the perica indolence in the press room: “You have to make a perfect match and much more to be able to win here”commented as a summary.

It is not the game in which the Blue and Whites have committed fewer fouls. Interestingly, the record is the meeting in Vigo. The Blue and Whites committed five fouls throughout the match and the Galician team comfortably won 3-0 until Loren Morón’s goal in the final stretch. There are other matches with few fouls and victories, such as the 2-0 against Cádiz in Cornellà-El Prat or the 1-1 against Athletic.