Barcelona sit on top of La Liga with a sizable nine-point advantage over Real Madrid, leaving the the Blaugrana feeling confident about their title charge. There have been many contributors to their remarkable La Liga total so far this season, but few would have singled out Raphinha the difference between the two.
The Brazilian endured a tricky start to life at Camp Nou, losing his place in the side to Ousmane Dembele. However since the Frenchman has been injured, Raphinha has had a fresh chance at winning round Xavi Hernandez.
His goal against Valencia was the winner and also tied him for the most headed goals in La Liga this season, as per OptaJose. The likes of Vedat Muriqi, Joselu Mato and Eder Militao are all specialists in the air, while Chimy Avila also has three goals. Raphinha needed the least amount of attempts, converting three of his five.
3 – Jugadores con más goles de cabeza y sus remates en LaLiga 22/23:
3 – Vedat Muriqi 🇽🇰 (18 remates de cabeza)
3 – Joselu Mato 🇪🇸 (9)
3 – Éder Militão 🇧🇷 (7)
3 – Chimy Ávila 🇦🇷 (6)
3 – RAPHINHA 🇧🇷 (5)
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) March 5, 2023
MD also highlight the fact that Raphinha created the most chances for Barcelona (4), and had the most shots (3), as well as the goal. After Jules Kounde and Andreas Christensen (74), the Brazilian had the most interventions in the match (72).
Some of his play continues to be erratic. One of those shots was a good opportunity to score, and at times his imprecision breaks down promising attacks.
However when he does get it right, his persistence is making the difference to for the Blaugrana. Scoring 5 times in La Liga and assisting 4, his goal contributions have been decisive in 5 games. Taking them away would leave Barcelona with 10 less points in La Liga this season, putting them a point behind their rivals in this hypothetical.