Place your bets

If you’re somewhat familiar with betting on Spanish football, you probably know that if you want to make some cash on a top LaLiga team not winning its weekend match, you must wait until the do or die part of the Champions League starts. Key players are rested, the general mindset of the team is not quite focused on what the weekend match means, even the fans are not totally considering the importance of the three points at stake… until it’s too late. Continue reading “Place your bets”

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Quiniela: Week 24

OMG it’s Friday! Must be time for the quiniela,  I remember when my dad won 50 pounds on the English football pools, back in about 1968.  He bought his first car with it, a second-hand Standard 8.

The first day he decided to take it to work, it wouldn’t start.  It didn’t start much for the next year either, which just goes to show that the pleasure in predicting football results is all about getting more predictions right than your mate, or than those other anonymous individuals who place their bets on Liga Fever. It’s not about the money, since we can only offer you international prestige.  Last week Eduardo scored a spanking 7, and called some difficult ones in the process.  Maybe it’s getting easier….who knows?  I’ll try my best. Continue reading “Quiniela: Week 24”

Four score and ten

As I tap on the keyboard on Sunday night in Spain, it is exactly 90 years to the day when La Liga was officially formed.  It should have started in September 1928 but there had been a dispute over the format of the league, so no surprises there.  Of the ten sides invited to participate that February, six are still in the top flight (Real and Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Espanyol, Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao).  The region with most clubs was the more prosperous and industrialised Basque Country, with four sides (Sociedad, Athletic, Real Unión and Arenas de Getxo), with Catalunya in second place with three (Barcelona, Español and CD Europa), the team ‘Europa’ from the Barcelona neighbourhood of Gracìa lasting for three seasons before disappearing into the murky depths of regional football. They play in ‘Tercera’ (3rd Division) now.  Racing Santander, from the Cantabria region and now in Segunda ‘B’, made up the roster. Continue reading “Four score and ten”

Peaking at the right time

Just over a month ago, I thought this season was pretty much over, at least in terms of title race and Champions League spots. But a few things have changed: Real Madrid have regrouped, Atletico are still consistent and Valencia finally look like they did last season, while Barcelona and Sevilla somehow play less convincingly and could drop points when least expected. Does that mean that we have a title race? No, not yet. But if, like many of us, you thought this season would end with Barcelona, Atletico, Real and Sevilla in that order, it’s now becoming quite possible that it won’t. Continue reading “Peaking at the right time”

Ama a tu prójimo

La mayor diferencia entre los “viejos tiempos” y el juego moderno no es el contraste entre estar de pie en el fondo norte o sentarse en un civilizado asiento de plástico, sino más bien la compañía que uno se ve obligado a mantener. En los viejos tiempos (vi mi primer partido profesional en vivo en 1966), la gente solía andar en áreas similares del estadio: los jóvenes detrás de los goles y los más viejos en las posiciones laterales, pero dentro de esas configuraciones había mucha flexibilidad. Podías elegir entre quedarte en el nivel más abajo o superior, o, si estuvieras en ubicación lateral, moverte hacia la izquierda o hacia la derecha, dependiendo de en qué gol atacase tu equipo. No había asientos, ni mucho menos localidades asignadas, así que te ponías donde querías. Continue reading “Ama a tu prójimo”

Love thy neighbour

The biggest difference between the ‘old days’ and the modern game is not the contrast between standing on the terraces and sitting in a plastic bucket seat, but rather the company that one is forced to keep. In the old days (I saw my first live’ pro game in 1966), people tended to hang around in the same area of a stadium – the young ‘uns classically behind the goals and the older supporters in the ‘side stands’ as they were called, but within those configurations there was plenty of flexibility.  You could choose to stand at pitch level, higher up, or if you were in a ‘side stand’ you could move to the left or right, depending on which goal your team was attacking.

Continue reading “Love thy neighbour”

A cup to mess it all

Review of LaLiga’s 22nd week

This weekly column is, by design, LaLiga centric. The Copa del Rey features only occasionally, en passant, whenever one of its midweek matches may have an impact on the upcoming weekend. However, the results of Friday’s draw have taken that potential impact to unprecedented heights, at least in recent memory: Barcelona and Real Madrid will play for a spot in the final, the two legs of their semifinal round happening at extremely inconvenient moments of the season.

Continue reading “A cup to mess it all”