Late-show stoppers

What is it that gives some teams that annoying ability to score late on, to come back at the death when all seems…well, dead?  Barcelona have had this particular ability for some time now, demonstrating it during a quite amazing game in midweek at Villarreal where they turned around a 4-2 deficit in added time to draw 4-4, and persisting against Atlético in Saturday’s crucial game until the 85th minute, then scoring again immediately afterwards.  The great Liverpool side of the 1980s had this as part of their repertoire too, and sometimes it’s difficult to analyse exactly how it works. Continue reading “Late-show stoppers”

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View from a bar

The famous exam question says ‘Compare and Contrast’ but we all know the chasm under the bridge that separates the land of Real Madrid from Planet Huesca. Sunday’s visit to the Bernabéu was their first in 59 years as a professional club, with the most recent precedent of Burgos winning in the Bernabéu on their first visit, back in 1990.  2,000 fans decided to go along, despite the game being scheduled as the ‘partidazo’ that closes the week and is played at 20.45 in the evening.  But as Sir Mick once said, catch your dreams before they slip away.  Huesca are bottom, rather as they expected to be, but with Villarreal losing at Celta (after being 0-2 up) the final safety position was still at a possible, but not very probable seven points.  Whatever, enjoy the status of top flight while you can, and meanwhile, try to upset the merengue cart. Continue reading “View from a bar”

Hungover

It’s one of those weekends that doesn’t bode well and which promises a hangover – in the collective national sense because only one of Spain’s teams is in the draw for the Champions League quarter-finals.  Let’s overlook the fact that a decent wedge of Barça’s supporters are in favour of their own Republic and just underline the fact that the 28th week of LaLiga will be played out in the shadow of the unfortunate and unusual reality of a slim presence in Europe, and that maybe only Barcelona will begin their game (at Betis) with a smile. The two V’s (Valencia and Villarreal) continue in the Europa League, but even in that context there was Spanish tragedy, with Sevilla knocked out in extra-time in Prague. Continue reading “Hungover”

The Horny Zombies of Getafe

There are some nice images from this weekend’s action in Spain.  I particularly like the one of Alaves’ Takashi Inui  (‘Taka’ to his friends) being hugged at the end of the game by his ex-team-mates from Eibar, even though he’d just scored against them and celebrated the goal,  breaking the unspoken Spanish law which states: ‘Thou shalt not celebrate a goal against thy ex-team-mates unless thou hast not played for said team for some time and/or thou hast left in a cloud of pissed-offness’.  Inui, polite to a fault as the Japanese tend to be, begged for forgiveness after the game but decided not to commit suicide on his ceremonial sword – possibly because the result was 1-1 but also because his departure from Eibar to Betis at the end of last season was conducted in perfectly amicable circumstances. In fact Inui failed miserably at Betis, despite the fact that his style of play suited theirs, clearly one of the reasons  why Quique Setién fancied him, only to subsequently leave him rotting on the bench. Continue reading “The Horny Zombies of Getafe”

All you need is hope and love

There’s plenty to talk about this weekend, although many columns have already been filled regarding the ‘clásico week’.  The problem, however, with too much focus on the terrible twins is that it can detract from other worthy stuff in Spain, of which there was plenty at the weekend. Continue reading “All you need is hope and love”

Shakespeare Terminator

When talking of Messi, as I’m going to do, it probably helps to bring in Shakespeare – not that Messi is an avid reader of the Bard, preferring as he does the instruction book to the PS4, which he claims was the last book he read.  This is a shame because in Sonnet 48 there’s a neat little couplet that goes:

“Dear killer, spare not thy sweet cruel shot / A kind of grace it is to kill with speed.” Continue reading “Shakespeare Terminator”

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”