10 things we learned from LaLiga
You can score from the bench these days with VAR, Premier League teams will be circling at the end of the season for Gabri Veiga and Valencia really could go DOWN… 10 things we learned from LaLiga
- Barcelona went eight points clear at top with an impressive demolition of Sevilla
- Real Madrid tried to scrap with Mallorca and found they are better at scrapping
- In the race for the other two Champions League spots Atletico underwhelmed
Barcelona went eight points clear at the top with an impressive demolition of Sevilla, seven hours after Real Madrid tried to scrap with Mallorca and found out that Mallorca are better at scrapping than they are.
In the race for the other two Champions League spots Atletico underwhelmed at home again but their draw ended up looking good after all their rivals lost.
And down at the bottom the pungent pong of relegation is beginning to waft into the Valencia dressing room. Habitual caretaker coach Voro has come to the rescue for the eighth time but it’s no points and no goals from his first two games back in charge.
Here are the ten things we learned from the round of matches that kicked-off the second half of the season in La Liga.
A football first on Saturday when Angel Correa got to celebrate his goal on the bench in Atletico Madrid’s 1-1 draw with Getafe
Gabri Veiga is still only 20 years old but his six goals from 12 starts this season are an illustration of his huge potential
Busquets injury not the blow it once was
Manchester United will face a Barcelona side without Sergi Busquets after the Spain midfielder hobbled out of Barça’s Sunday night home win over Sevilla. He is expected to be out for between two and three weeks but for a few seasons now the Spain legend has been the weak link in European competition for Barça, and with United summer target Frenkie de Jong replacing him it will not be the set-back it once was.
Squads win leagues and Barça’s is bursting with quality
Franck Kessie, Jordi Alba and Raphinha have not been the stars of the season so far for Barcelona but if Xavi’s team win the league everyone will have played a part. The three were outstanding as Barcelona brushed aside Sevilla. They could be 11 points ahead next weekend if they beat Villarreal next Sunday while Madrid are on World Club Cup duty.
Madrid’s Benzema gamble leaves them short again
With no Karim Benzema in the starting line-up on Sunday Real Madrid played without a centre-forward and failed to score against Mallorca. Carlo Ancelotti got desperate in the second half and threw on Mariano Diaz – a player who hasn’t started or scored since last May. They lost 1-0 and can only hope their only number nine is fit for the big games to come.
How many times can you fire the coach, put the same loyal club servant in charge, and hope it provides a quick fix? This is the eighth time Voro has taken charge of Valencia and it hasn’t started well with two defeats
Franck Kessie, Jordi Alba and Raphinha have not been the stars of the season so far for Barcelona but if Xavi’s team win the league everyone will have played a part
Confucius says stop confusing the players
The sight of Sevilla midfielder Joan Jordan with an A4 foolscap sheet of paper in his hand in the middle of the pitch at the Camp Nou during the second on Sunday summed up the madness of over-coached teams. He had been handed it by one of the substitutes who had just come on after Barcelona had taken the lead. He was still trying to work out which way up he should hold it and what it actually meant as Barça doubled their advantage. ‘We have to be braver,’ said Ivan Rakitic unhappy at his coach’s timid gameplan after the match. It was clear dig at Jorge Sampaoli who had sent on the second half instruction manual.
With VAR you can score from the bench these days
A football first on Saturday when Angel Correa got to celebrate his goal on the bench in Atletico Madrid’s 1-1 draw with Getafe. The Argentinian had blasted the ball into the roof of the net but the offside flag meant it was chalked off. He was taken off immediately but as he took his place in the dug-out the decision was reviewed and the goal was given. Team mates charged to the bench to celebrate with him and he eventually emerged to receive the applause of the home supporters.
Atletico world beaters still struggle to shine at home
Atletico Madrid started their game on Saturday with five World Cup winners on the bench. Thomas Lemar and Antoine Griezmann were victorious in 2018 and Correa, Rodrigo de Paul and Nahuel Molina all have winners’ medals from 2022. It didn’t equate to an out of the world performance from Diego Simeone’s men. They remain a very effective team away from home on the break but not so much so when they are at home and must take the initiative. They have only won five of 13 at home this season. Their draw with Getafe looked a lo better when their rivals for a Champions League spot all slipped up.
VAR misses what really matters
VAR pokes its nose in to all manner of things that shouldn’t concern it to the point where some games are being refereed remotely by officials poring over freeze-frames and slow motions that completely distort what in real time has taken place on the pitch. And then there’s a moment when VAR should step in to put right a clear injustice and it does nothing. When Iago Aspas went down holding his face in added time of Celta Vigo’s win over Betis he was cheating. He hadn’t been hit in the face by Luis Felipe. The Betis defender had tried to grab the ball from Aspas and at worse had hit his rivals hand in the process. VAR should have corrected the referee after he showed Felipe the straight red.
Girona’s winning goal against Valencia on Sunday would not have looked out of place at the Etihad played out by Pep Guardiola’s internationals
With no Karim Benzema in the starting line-up on Sunday Real Madrid played without a centre-forward and failed to score against Mallorca
Young Gabri is gold dust
Gabri Veiga is still only 20 years old but his six goals from 12 starts this season are an illustration of his huge potential. As a second striker or an attacking midfielder Veiga is bound for bigger better things than Celta’s current relegation scrap. He scored twice in their win over Betis on Saturday. Premier League teams will be circling at the end of the season ready to test the club’s resolve to stick to the 40m euros release clause on his deal that runs to 2026.
Valencia could go down
How many times can you fire the coach, put the same loyal club servant in charge, and hope it provides a quick fix? This is the eighth time Voro has taken charge of Valencia and it hasn’t started well with two defeats. It may just be that the team is tired after 10 games in 35 days. It’s also true that they weren’t awful against Girona at the weekend, nor against Real Madrid three days before but they are one place and one point above the relegation zone, the supporters focus is on protesting against Peter Lim the owner, and it’s a young squad lacking leadership.
City Group’s Spanish product is going well
Girona’s winning goal against Valencia on Sunday would not have looked out of place at the Etihad played out by Pep Guardiola’s internationals. The resources are far more modest at Girona but there are times when you can see the idea is just the same. Girona are 11th and their best ever top-flight finish of 10th is well within their grasp.
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