The rest-stop week that Phil predicted in his latest Quiniela ended up being exactly that. With nine matches already played (Getafe and Celta are due to face each other on Monday), things have not changed much in the standings: Barcelona keep their seven-point advantage over Atletico de Madrid, and most teams kept their rankings intact. However, plenty happened during the weekend. Let’s start with Barcelona’s match on Saturday, their tough visit to the tiny Eibar. Continue reading “Business as usual”
It’s been a hectic week, with the apocalyptic Madrid-PSG clash, and next week promises to be doubly interesting with Chelsea and Man Utd both taking on Liga opposition, in the guise of Barça and Sevilla respectively. This weekend’s fixtures look almost like a rest-stop, with no massively significant games jumping out to catch the attention, save perhaps the Eibar v Barcelona fixture. I’m on my way to Vienna, so on Sunday night I’ll pass the mantle on to Eduardo and rattle off a quick quiniela, the way I see it. Eduardo got a massive 3/10 last week, but he did stick his neck out somewhat, which is the only way you’ll ever win any money, if that’s what you also do at the weekend. Continue reading “Rest-stop weekend?”
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”
The date was marked in red on my calendar. Huge expectations! Phil and I had planned the evening in such detail that we never considered the possibility of not having a real, competitive match to watch at the Santiago Bernabeu. However, that’s exactly what happened. Continue reading “No contest”
There’s a little guy who always stands outside the bar near my flat when he wants a smoke, which is quite a frequent occurrence. He has one of those wee white Scottish Terriers, and it sits obediently under the shelf where he places his drink and ashtray, with the newspaper always open at the football page. He knows his stuff (the guy, not the dog), and I always like to talk to him for five minutes, sort of en passant. Approaching him Saturday lunchtime with a bag over my shoulder containing the weekend’s few possessions that I needed, I announced in Spanish the following phrase ‘Tengo buenas sensaciones’ (I have a good feeling) to which he instantly replied, ‘Sí. Estarán pensando en el PSG’ (Yes – they’ll be too busy thinking about PSG). Continue reading “Non-tinted spectacles”
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.
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.
I arrived back from a week in the weird and wonderful Tokyo late on Saturday night, thus missing various La Liga games of significance and the midweek King’s Cup ties. No matter – I shall try to write something of use through my jet-lagged fog this Sunday evening, perhaps beginning in Tokyo on Thursday night where I was interviewed by the excellent journalist and writer Masa Tanabe.