Dominance over?

Preview of La Liga’s 25th week

Atletico out of the Champions League, now playing the mighty Copenhagen in the Europa League. Real Sociedad out of the Europa League. Villarreal following suit. Athletic barely qualifying, and giving all the signals of not progressing any further than this. Sevilla impressing against Manchester United, but not getting the result they wanted.

Only Real Madrid and Barcelona seem bound to make a decent European campaign, and that assuming that the former can get a result in Paris without Luka Modric and Toni Kroos (a bit of a huge assumption). Continue reading “Dominance over?”

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Underdogs at home

Titanic_Orchestra
Gents, let’s play the old “The BBC will start again”

I admit that, in the last few days, I’ve often thought of Zinedine Zidane and the current Real Madrid squad as a footballing version of the Titanic orchestra. When the season is almost lost, the director sticks to the tried and tested, refuses to make any adjustments, and plays the same songs as the ship starts to sink. Continue reading “Underdogs at home”

Two blokes at the Bernabeu

Preview of La Liga’s 23rd week

There are plenty of interesting story lines this week in La Liga: Clarence Seedorf makes his debut with Deportivo (on the bench, of course); Fernando Torres looks suddenly back in shape; Isco could be on his way out of Real Madrid; the local derby in Valencia should be an extremely intense match to watch; Villarreal could take Real Madrid’s fourth spot if Zidane’s team don’t get their act together.

bernabeu

However, the main story of the weekend is indeed Mr Ball & Señor Alvarez watching a match together at the Santiago Bernabeu. Nothing else can possibly top that.

Shall we? Remember, it’s ‘1’ for a home win, ‘X’ for a draw and ‘2’ for an away win. Continue reading “Two blokes at the Bernabeu”

Domino effect

Preview of La Liga’s 22nd week

The end of the transfer window in Spain, mostly boring, had nevertheless an intriguing transfer that generated a remarkable domino effect. Pep Guardiola, obviously short for cash and with the firm intention of preventing market inflation at all costs — excuse the pun –, could only find a mere €65 million to buy a central defender. Continue reading “Domino effect”

Speak up

Preview of La Liga’s 19th week

Xavi en QatarI’m sure we all agree: one of the most frustrating aspects of modern football is the development of a generation of players and coaches trained to say absolutely nothing during an interview. Able to speak like politicians, they avoid anything remotely similar to uttering a real opinion about other teams, teammates, coaches and anything that could somehow get them into trouble. Continue reading “Speak up”

Gluttony before Christmas

Preview of La Liga’s 17th round of fixtures

In his last column, Phil commented how odd this round of fixtures is. Indeed, the first match is to be played on Tuesday and the last on Saturday, which makes for a very long “weekend”.

That said, it’s a cracking set of matches: the 17th round includes El Clasico, the Galician derby, the “other” Madrid – Barcelona derby between Atletico and Espanyol, the Valencian Community derby between Valencia and Villarreal, two duels involving Sevilla teams and Basque teams, a relegation thriller with Malaga visiting Alaves… Continue reading “Gluttony before Christmas”