Barcelona and Real Madrid are two of the biggest football clubs on the planet and in turn are expected to compete for titles every season. Both clubs saw new managers take over this past summer and it is high time to check in on their progress.
Tata Martino and Carlo Ancelotti have now had several months to take full reign of their squads and we will pit them against each other.
Since statistics tell most of the story we will compare the stats of Martino and Ancelotti to see what differences or similarities they may be.
In this comparison we will use statistics of their records in La Liga, the Champions League, the Copa del Rey and any other competitions the clubs may have competed in. We will not be looking at the transfers for both clubs, however, as neither manager really had much to do in the way of who came in this summer.
With that being said, let's begin our statistical comparison of Barcelona boss Tata Martino and Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti by starting in the domestic campaign itself.
* Note that all team statistics are courtesy of ESPNFC.com
When immediately comparing the statistics in La Liga it is clear that there is not much separating the accomplishments of these two managers.
Both clubs have managed to win 25 of their 33 matches and are separated in the league table by only a single point—Real Madrid with 79 points and Barcelona with 78.
In truth, what little difference there is between Barcelona and Real Madrid in domestic play is barely noticeable.
Martino's Barcelona have managed to keep a goal difference of 65 compared to Real Madrid's 62. This stat can be a bit misleading when noticing that Real Madrid have scored only two more goals than Barcelona, while the Catalans have managed to concede five less times than their rivals.
|La Liga Comparison|
|Record||Goals scored||Goals conceded||Points|
Going by the stats, it would seem as though Real Madrid are more of the free-scoring style of offense under Ancelotti with not as much focus on defending while Martino's Barcelona are a bit more careful in how they approach games.
To be honest that is exactly the case with the philosophy of these two managers.
Martino and Barcelona prefer to control play more and thus score less goals while also conceding less. On the other hand, Ancelotti and Real Madrid push forward more often, scoring more goals but also being a bit more open in defense.
After 33 matches in La Liga the statistics for Martino and Ancelotti are way too close to separate the two—on to the Copa del Rey.
Copa del Rey
The final chapter of this season's Copa del Rey is yet to be written. Barcelona and Real Madrid will meet on Wednesday in the cup final and the match promises to be yet another thrilling installment of El Clasico.
Before these two meet on Wednesday, their records in the Spanish Cup can also give an insight into how Martino and Ancelotti have managed their squads.
|Copa del Rey Comparisons|
|Record||Goals scored||Goals conceded||Points dropped in league|
On the surface, the two sides look identical. Both clubs played eight matches, winning seven and drawing one. Neither team lost and the argument could be made that they both had an easy road to the final.
However, when looking deeper at the statistics there is a different story to tell.
In Barcelona's eight games, Martino led them to score 25 goals while conceding only four times. With a goal difference of 21 it is clear that the Catalans meant business.
At the same time, Ancelotti's Real Madrid only managed to score 13 goals but also did not concede a single strike. Their goal difference of 13 looks as though they struggled more, yet not conceding any goals is a huge accomplishment.
Managing in the Copa del Rey is something odd in Spain. Managers rarely elect for their regular starting lineups and often use the competition as a time to give younger players, or those on the fringes, a chance.
With that being said, breaking down the numbers shows two different approaches to the historic Copa del Rey.
For Barcelona it has been a tournament of absolute focus. From December to February the Catalans were relentless in the Copa del Rey, but it possibly took too much out of them in league play.
During those three months Barcelona managed to drop 13 points in La Liga. It is clear that either the squad was managed incorrectly, or the focus on two fronts was too much for the Catalans.
In comparison, it looks as though Ancelotti took a more cautious route in the Copa del Rey. His side did not field as many first-choice players as often as Barcelona and Los Blancos managed to get to the final without any problem.
From the numbers it looks as though Real Madrid remained focused on the league more during those three months and did just what was needed to book their spot in the final.
Real Madrid only dropped four total points in league play during the same months. The Copa del Rey matches seem to have hurt Barcelona while Real Madrid handled them much better.
This is where the comparisons get really interesting. As you know, Real Madrid are now one of only four teams left in the Champions League, while Barcelona were bounced from the tournament in the last round.
|Champions League Comparison|
|Record||Goals scored||Goals conceded||Still playing|
Like the other two competitions for these Spanish giants the records look very similar, but the complete story is not told.
In Barcelona's 10 Champions League matches this season they managed to win only six times. The Catalans suffered two draws and two losses during European play and are now out of the tournament.
Real Madrid, however, managed to win eight of their 10 fixtures drawing and losing only once.
It is interesting to note that the same statistical themes of La Liga pop back up in the Champions League.
Barcelona were able to end their European season with a goal difference of 13 as they struck the back of the net a total of 21 times while conceding eight. Real Madrid have enjoyed a goal difference of 23, scoring 32 times and conceding nine of their own.
It looks like the case of two philosophies yet again.
Martino's Barcelona look to keep possession and control the game resulting in fewer goals scored but also fewer goals conceded. Ancelotti's Real Madrid do concede more, yet they score a lot more at the same time.
Both managers have their own way of approaching matches and these two storied clubs are known for vastly different playing styles. It is easily seen in the numbers but is one more successful than the other?
There can be no true comparison without statistics, however, stats never tell the entire story.
What we have seen when comparing Martino and Ancelotti is two completely different managers who have achieved relative success in vastly opposite ways. One prefers control, while the other is more forceful.
It is important to note that statistics cannot account for things such as injuries, difficulty of opponents or even weather, yet the manager is the one who is supposed to make his players overcome obstacles and adversity.
|Total Statistical Comparison|
|Record||Goals scored||Goals conceded||Trophies to date|
A look at the total statistics in these three competitions shows that there is not a lot separating Barcelona and Real Madrid.
However, while their records look similar, their success is not the same. Barcelona may have already lifted the Spanish Supercopa at the beginning of the season, but Real Madrid appear to be favorites for the Copa del Rey and are still alive in the Champions League.
Both managers have led their clubs with their own style and philosophy. Statistics can only tell so much, but at the end of the season fans will get the best picture possible of who has had the better season based on which manager is lifting the most pieces of silverware.
Which manager has had the better first season in charge? Which club will end up with more silverware at the end of the season? Leave your thoughts and comments below!