Real Madrid struggled to break down Barcelona on Thursday night, failing to register a shot on target at the Santiago Bernabeu for the first time since records were collected in 2008. That was in no small part due to the fact that Vinicius Junior was shut down effectively, once again by Ronald Araujo.
Once again Xavi Hernandez moved Araujo to the right side of defence in order to deal with the Brazilian. It worked. This is the third time that the two have gone head-to-head and the results are startling; Barcelona have won all three ties, 4-0, 3-1 and 1-0, with Vinicius failing to score or assist.
As highlighted by Jorge Lopez-Torrecilla, on a more detailed level Vinicius’ statistics down on his usual averages.
💥 Is Araujo the only player capable of stopping Vinicius?
◎ Vinicius’ career
➠ 55.3% Succ. Actions
➠ 47.3% Succ. Dribbles
➠ 0.35 xG
➠ 0.37 Goals
➠ 0.35 Assists
◉ Vinicius vs Araujo
➠ 50.5% Succ. Actions
➠ 44.8% Succ. Dribbles
➠ 0.08 xG
➠ 0.25 Goals
➠ 0 Assists pic.twitter.com/3l3qDD0hC9
— 𝗝𝗼𝗿𝗴𝗲 𝗟𝗼́𝗽𝗲𝘇-𝗧𝗼𝗿𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗮 (@Jorge_ltg_) March 2, 2023
Last night, MD say that Araujo won 4 of 6 duels against Vinicius, and 2 of 4 in the air. Speaking after the match, Xavi Hernandez would go on to tell Marca that Araujo was one of the best defenders in the world. Yet his answer was simple on Araujo’s performance:
“Perfect. Vinicius almost didn’t play.”
There are 3 certain things in life:
-araujo pocketing Vinicius Junior pic.twitter.com/ChkDycExmL
— Alex 🇲🇽🇺🇾🧉 (@AraujoSZNN) March 3, 2023
Ahead of two more Clasicos, one in the league and the return leg in the Copa del Rey, Carlo Ancelotti will have to work out a way of ensuring his best player this season can influence the game.