Martino's Liga Record: A Comparison

Denis Doyle

Although it is still early in his reign as Barça coach, it's interesting to compare Martino's Liga record to that of his predecessors, Tito Vilanova and Pep Guardiola.

It has been well publicised that Martino's Barcelona broke their win record at the weekend by beating Almeria for their seventh consecutive victory in this season's league. But I'm not only going to be concentrating on just the result but other factors that could later affect Barça's season.

Last season, new head coach Tito Vilanova won his first six league games before meeting Real Madrid at the Camp Nou which ended in a 2-2 draw. During his winning run, Vilanova oversaw victories against Real Sociedad, Valencia and Sevilla. Four teams that would be challenging for the Champions League spaces at the end of the season. Helping to put any nerves about selecting an untested head coach to rest.

Pep Guardiola's season started a lot less smoothly then Martino's and Vilanova's. The ex-Barcelona midfielder lost his first league game in charge. a 1-0 defeat away to Numancia and his rocky start continued with a 1-1 draw against Racing Santander, leaving Barcelona in 15th place. But Guardiola turned it around and went on to win the next nine games, thrusting Barcelona into the top spot which they didn't relinquish all season.

If we take the first seven games of each campaign, it shows that Martino's men have been the most lethal in front of goal, scoring 20 goals compared to Guardiola's and Vilanova's 19. But the statistics also show that Martino has been most dependent on Messi scoring goals, with the Argentine scoring 40% of Barcelona's goal this season. Compared to the 36% of Vilanova and the 26% of Guardiola.

As for goal variation, it has been Martino who witnessed most goals by different players in his opening seven league games. Ten different goal scorers have made their way on to the scoresheet while Guardiola was second with eight and Vilanova came third with seven.

At the other end, it was Tito Vilanova's side who was guilty of conceding the most goals. Eight goals were conceded while during Guardiola's reign seven goals were conceded and most impressively only five goals have been conceded by Barcelona this season, largely due to Victor Valdes' impeccable form.

In disciplinary terms, it was again Vilanova who comes out worst. Twelve yellow cards were given to Barça players under Vilanova's control while ten a piece have been given to both Guardiola's and Martino's team.

Obviously it is still too early in the season to predict just how many points Martino will end up with but you have to wonder if we will break the 100 point record set by the team last year.

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