Pep, hero or villain?

Preview of LaLiga’s 33rd week

I can’t help it. After reading hundreds of takes about Pep Guardiola – from the “Bald Fraud” to the “Inventor of Modern Football”, and many other more reasonable pieces / threads in between – I must give mine. First, and as a disclaimer, I have to link to this, an old piece I wrote for espnfc which is now only found in this blog that copied verbatim. The short version: I am a Madridista from birth, I have seen both the Guardiola player and the Guardiola coach defeat my team quite a few times, and therefore I should hate Guardiola with all my might, but I can’t. Continue reading “Pep, hero or villain?”

Derbies and stuff

‘Twas a weekend of derbies, and Liga Fever was physically present at one of them. I have to report that the Real Sociedad v Eibar game was a dull affair (1-1) and that Eibar were by far the better side, but Real Sociedad were suffering once again from the absence of four key senior players, and maybe hoping a little too much from some of the young kids who were replacing them.  Eibar have some experienced and canny players, and it showed.  It’s something of a myth that they’re merely a huff and puff side. Nothing of the sort.  They have some players who are not afraid to mix it (Escalante, for example) but Orellana remains an exquisite player (when he’s in the mood) and Marc Cucurella from Barça B looks the business.  If Barcelona aren’t to fish him back for next season, then he won’t be short of suitors. Continue reading “Derbies and stuff”

Title dead, long live title

Three real derbies, a couple of teams in revival mode to avoid relegation, a legitimate competition between seven teams for the Europa League spots… This matchday brings a few interesting questions, even if what was left of the title fight finished last weekend with Atleti’s defeat at the Camp Nou. The effect of this for LaLiga may well be several rotations for Valverde’s side – yes, that Valverde – and some upsets in the shape of Barcelona not winning a few matches between now and the end of the season as they try to preserve their top talent for their Champions League title run. Continue reading “Title dead, long live title”

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”

Must watch TV

Review of Laliga’s 31st week

The most bizarre times of LaLiga, back when it was just the Primera División, were when Ramón Mendoza, Josep Lluis Nuñez and Jesús Gil y Gil – father of Atleti’s current GM and shareholder – occupied the presidencies of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid respectively. Nothing was off the table, especially where Gil was involved. We saw him punch other clubs’ executives, present tv programmes from a bathtub surrounded by girls in bikini, vouch for his horse as the best candidate for Atleti’s bench… The other two presidents tried to look professional in Gil y Gil’s presence, but every once in a while they would fall for his provocations, which generated even more cheese and hilarity. Continue reading “Must watch TV”

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”

The new normal

Preview of LaLiga’s 29th week

Sorry about the late post, but things are hectic at Chez Alvarez, as well as in Alvarez’s full time job. The question is not when will things go back to normal, but if. And I guess the answer is NO.

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 “The new normal”