Sunday night at 9 p.m. isn’t a great time to turn out for a footy match, with the northern nights drawing in and the winter cold creeping into the air. It’s dark and smells of November and Real Sociedad are hosting Valencia at this infernal time because it’s the ‘partidazo’ (the big game) whose attractive look has already relegated Granada v Real Madrid to the 18.30 slot, so there’s some silver lining to the logic.Continue reading “Bordalás-Sauron, the Dark Lord of anti-football”
A few upsets in the making
Weekends before European competitions usually bring a few upsets: rotations and a lack of focus from the leading sides open the window for some minnows to celebrate unexpected results. And in a tournament that has already had a large share of surprising scores, this is only going to add more fun.
Ah, and in case you’ve forgotten – if that’s humanly possible assuming you live in society – Xavi’s debut happens on Saturday, versus the great Espanyol.
Shall we? Let’s start. Remember, it’s ‘1’ for a home win, ‘X’ for a draw and ‘2’ for an away win.Continue reading “Matchday 14”
Xavi comes back home
Xavi is back!
Let that sink in.
Xavi. Is. Back.
This is great news. We get to add a new romantic element to all the existing narrative about Barcelona’s thoroughbred DNA, Cruyff, Pep, Dream Teams, heritage, percentage possession wins, positional football… Now Xavi’s comeback from his long exile suffering in Qatar also becomes a part of the story.Continue reading “Matchday 13”
Looks like fun
In late August, many of us thought this would eventually become a fun season and it does seem as though the entertainment will last… unless you’re a Barcelona fan. Well, even if you support the Azulgrana you can’t say they’re boring, but there’s indeed plenty of room for improvement and good news in general.
The fact is that Real Sociedad lead the standings – and have done so for the last three matches –, that there are five teams separated by four points, and that the three successful winners of the title in the last 18 seasons (Valencia was the last club not named Real Madrid, Barcelona or Atletico de Madrid able to conquer LaLiga) – look hesitant and interestingly inconsistent.Continue reading “Looks like fun”
Your own personal quiniela (someone to hear your prayers)
This is going to have to be a quickie, said the actor to the whomsoever. That’s because I’m in a hotel room in Tallin (Estonia) and they’re going to kick me out in about an hour. Don’t worry – there’s no actor in the room, but a sleepy Whatsapp from Eduardo as I munched on my brekkies this morning was pleading with me to do this….so I will, before the flight to Spain this afternoon.Continue reading “Your own personal quiniela (someone to hear your prayers)”
Huffin’ and puffin’
That was the weekend that was, although the Camp Nou clásico turned out to be something of a damp squib – not that anyone was complaining to the wild west in Madrid. Barcelona huffed and puffed but they never really blew Madrid’s house down, and by the time Agüero had scored his first for the hosts in his first clásico, the dice had settled. Madrid stay second, a point shy of Real Sociedad (more of them in a moment) and can be pleased with the way they coped with Koeman’s predictable tactics.Continue reading “Huffin’ and puffin’”
Barcelona: too much responsibility on the shoulders of the young?
No digression today. There’s a Barça Madrid this weekend! And even if it’s never an easy call, it’s hard to remember a moment as lopsided as this. Barcelona do look like a club on the brink of implosion: the financial situation, the coach’s relationship with the fans, the stadium falling apart, the request for additional credit to build a new stadium when it’s already hard making ends meet with the current debt. And yet, there’s still a handful of young players wearing the Azulgrana who could make this a hard outing for Real Madrid…
Shall we? Let’s start. Remember, it’s ‘1’ for a home win, ‘X’ for a draw and ‘2’ for an away win.Continue reading “Matchday 10”
Of Rats and Ants
Let’s begin with a rant, which is always a jolly good way to end the weekend. The word ‘rant’ contains a rat and an ant, the former perhaps characterising the two teams from Madrid who decided not to play this weekend, and the latter the obedient non-thinking workers of La Liga who would prefer not to upset the more powerful members of the nest.Continue reading “Of Rats and Ants”
I must confess I’m quite enjoying Luis Enrique’s Spain. I know, I am a Real Madrid supporter and should be outraged because the opinionated Asturiano is not keen on our top-level Spanish talent: Nacho, Lucas Vazquez, Asensio, Isco… In addition to that, word has it that Lucho is selecting players represented by some close friends of his, which according to some is the only reason why Gavi, for instance, made the last list.Continue reading “Matchday 9”
Entertaining, but not painless
Is this the LaLiga we expected?
LaLiga is quickly becoming all that we expected before this season started. The theoretical top three (Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico) struggle to win theoretically winnable matches, whereas the following group of teams (Real Sociedad, as well as Sevilla and Villarreal, who both have a game in hand) have quickly become potential contenders for the title. On top of that, a couple of nice surprises in the form of Osasuna and Rayo occupy Europa League spots, while Athletic, Valencia and Betis have shown promising glimpses of what they could become if they achieved some sort of consistency.
However, there’s a slightly disappointing touch to the whole thing so far, as though watching the bigger teams play terrible football took some brilliance out of the increased competitiveness of the tournament.Continue reading “Entertaining, but not painless”