Before this weekend, Granada had only been top of LaLiga once before, coinciding more or less with the overthrow of Allende’s Chilean government in September 1973 by Pinochet’s cronies. The coincidence is of no relevance whatsoever, but I thought I’d drop it in anyway. It seems like a long time ago, in a season when they eventually finished in 6th place, two places above Real Madrid and two points shy of qualifying for the old UEFA Cup. It was their 6th of eight consecutive seasons in the top flight, their best run yet since their relatively late foundation in 1931, and probably their best season to date, if you ignore 1959 when they lost to Barcelona 4-1 in the Generalísimo’s Cup Final. Continue reading “Granada Armada”
In military theory, after a defeat, an excess of self-reflection and analysis of exactly what went wrong is seen as healthy, but only up to a point. This is because there was an adversary, and the adversary prevailed. You lost the battle – but it wasn’t all down to you. In psychology this is called ‘chronic analysis’ and it tends to be so self-absorbed that you fail to see the other factors – perhaps you know where this is going. If you just lost 0-3 to Barcelona, as Eibar did on Saturday, you probably wouldn’t need to spend the rest of the week self-flagellating. Eibar played okay, but Barcelona simply took advantage of their different level of quality. Analysis over, and move on. Real Madrid, however, were drowning in chronic analysis over the weekend, or at least their friends in the Spanish mainstream press were. Maybe the squad flew home from Mallorca after their 1-0 defeat thoroughly aware of what went wrong – and what did go wrong? Continue reading “Give us a mention!”
The British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once observed that ‘A week is a long time in politics’. Eduardo Alvarez more recently remarked that ‘three weeks is a long time in football’, and so here’s Liga Fever again, just as you were beginning to think that you could no longer stand the silence of the international break. It’s tough out there, I know. During a fortnight in league-less space, nobody can hear you scream. Continue reading “Three weeks fasting in the wild”
Never mind the bullocks, it’s The Balls. The traditional round-up of the league season has been delayed by an unfeasible attack of Japanese jet-lag, but now I’m compos mentis, here we go: Continue reading “The Balls. 2018-2019 LaLiga awards”
‘twas the penultimate game of the season, with everyone kicking off at 18.30 on Sunday – and ‘twas fun for some, less for others. This particular week of the league season is always the toughest, because at the nether end of the table there is usually a single side left who can still escape relegation and two sides who can be sucked into it, whilst up top the 4th Champions League spot tends to be the main focus. The trap-door opens or the dreams are quashed. Continue reading “Almost over, bar the shouting”
It’s one of those sandwich weeks, stuffed between the two chewy pieces of Champions League bread, Iker Casillas’ heart-attack, Xavi’s retirement and Messi’s official deification by the international press – to which the aficionados and sages of LaLiga respond ‘Eh? He does that every week, and actually he didn’t play particularly well against Liverpool’ – not forgetting Valencia of course, their defeat at Arsenal and the bad behaviour of some of their numbskull followers – please note the use of the quantifier ‘some’.
So we have a champion in the top flight (Barcelona), and another closing on the title in the Second Division (Osasuna). With three games left to play, the Catalans and reigning champions decided to get the league business out of the way by defeating Levante 1-0 at home, Leo Messi once again the chief executor/executioner in the 62nd minute just as the visitors were beginning to get a little awkward. We might still be waiting had Morales’ shot not bounced off the post in the 89th minute – another example of Barcelona’s lucky-charm season but also an indication of how they tend to make their own fortune, of how they tend to take their own chances cleanly and not leave much to random chance. They host Liverpool on Wednesday in what should be an extraordinary occasion, possibly en route to a treble. Oh, and their women’s team beat Bayern to get into their first ever final of the Champions League too. Continue reading “Champions”