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?”

Business as usual

Review of La Liga’s 24th week

Messi suarez
Suarez and Messi have become a scary two-man offense

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”

Rest-stop weekend?

Last week: 3/10 (30%)

Season: 76/169 (44%) 

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?”

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”

Non-tinted spectacles

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”

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”