It was as an interesting weekend in La Liga, and not simply because Valencia were playing Barcelona. One of the side-shows at the fair was Villarreal v Sevilla, important for its Europa League implications next season perhaps, but also because at this stage of the campaign a possible defeat for Barcelona was destined to give hope to the winners elsewhere. Sevilla’s thermo-nuclear comeback against Liverpool in midweek, after trailing 0-3 at the break, put one in mind of Liverpool’s own similar feat in the Champions League in 2005 in Istanbul, except that was in a final , of course. Continue reading “Ghost goal keeps La Liga alive”
Who would have thought, dear readers – who would have thought that we would be looking at Sunday November 26th as the decisive date on the La Liga calendar? And just in case you’re not with me yet, at 20.45 on that same evening, Valencia entertain Barcelona in a game that may have more significance than the clásico that follows it a month later, on Saturday December 23 in the Bernabéu – the day before Santa starts checking that his sleigh is airworthy. Can anything have more significance than the clásico? It would appear to be the case this season, especially after the events of this weekend.
Continue reading “Valencian virtue”
I’d just got back from the Basque derby between Real Sociedad and Eibar, jumping off the late bus with my neighbour and scout Vicente Biurrun into the fangs of a howling gale. Biurrun is an ex-professional – and suitably prepared for inclement weather as all good goalies are, he’d opened his brolly into the gale and beckoned me into its protection, but the wind got the better of the situation and almost wrenched it out of his large keeper’s hands. Biurrun packed in the game in 1995, the year my son was born, a year that produced an extraordinary crop of midfield players in the Gipuzkoa region of the Basque Country, several of whom are now playing at the top level. Another of this crop had just made his debut, coming on for Eibar in the 60th minute, replacing Kike with the score at 3-0 to Sociedad. Continue reading “Emotional Rescue”
Two games obviously stood out this weekend, one at the new San Mames and the other in Girona. The rest seemed like a sideshow, although Valencia’s 1-2 win at Alavés which opened the weekend’s sparring on Saturday lunchtime was both predictable and useful, since it obliged Barcelona and Real Madrid to ensure the three points in their respective games. Valencia had to work hard, but they remain undefeated and have now won six consecutive league games since their draw with neighbours Levante back in mid-September. Continue reading “Girona Jonah, a cathedral for Barcelona”
So you want entertainment ? Look no further than Betis, Real Sociedad and Valencia. Betis and Real’s nine and eight games respectively have so far produced a whacking 72 goals, each side involved in 36, in their own net or in that of their opponent. Valencia are close behind on 35 but remain undefeated, so we’d better give them the crown. Valencia – wot? You mean they’re actually doing well again? They are indeed, and the interesting thing is that nobody saw it coming.
Continue reading “Fires in the east”
Funny guy, José Miguel González Martín del Campo – better known as Michel and currently on most betting slips as the next coach who will be drawing unemployment benefit in Spain. Well, he probably doesn’t need to draw his next wage slip from the state, having been employed for the last seven months by Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, who’s not without a penny or two. But he’s entitled to, if he wants. He’s signed a contract until June 2018, so there’ll be a decent whack of severance pay if he’s shown the door after the team’s latest 0-2 defeat at home to the mighty Leganés. Then again, one should not poke fun at the visitors, the victory being their third away from home this season, giving them a possible sniff of Europe and sixth place in the league as I tap at the keyboards on Sunday night. Continue reading “Michel, male manipulation, and bonkers Betis…..”
Well it’s difficult to talk about football today, but I’ll try my best. Maybe keep it brief and scattergun, look at the results in general and try not to focus too much on all the stuff that’s been going on in Catalonia. Too much of it in a football-related context can become slightly tedious – I’m aware – but when one of the games this weekend is played behind closed doors because of a referendum/non-referendum (call it which you prefer), then we’ve reached rock-bottom. So after we get that one analysed, the only way is up. Continue reading “Weird scenes inside the goal-lines”