Round 17 of La Liga saw Real Madrid remain unbeatable, a soaring Sevilla and Barca in some bother. Here’s our Paco Polit @PacoPolitENG from Spain with a wrap-up.
Zinedine’s flawless year
Eight months without being defeated. 39 games without a loss. Zinedine Zidane has only experienced what a setback looks like two times in his one-year run as Real Madrid’s boss.
The current UCL champions seem unstoppable right now, with a tremendous momentum where they are able to win games easily when lacking inspiration and crush their opponents when they feel comfortable in their shoes. Isco’s magic and their scoring power was more than enough to punish Granada (5-0). Sweet Christmas, indeed.
Barcelona backlash after Copa del Rey drama
Stealing some thunder from the tough game against Villarreal, where they had to shed blood and tears to get the equalizer against the ‘Groguet’ team (1-1), FC Barcelona’s players and media have been overly busy this week firing shots towards the referee after their loss at San Mamés in the Copa del Rey Last-16 away game.
Gerard Piqué, a big fan of social media, slammed the ref hard by claiming that “we all know how ‘this’ works.” Poor choice of words, as the Referee’s Board will look into his statement to see if they fancy fining him and, let’s admit it, Barça (as Madrid) shouldn’t complain too much about getting the short end of the stick, referee-wise.
Mighty Alavés keeps surprising
To say that Alavés is performing well this season is a huge understatement. With virtually no money available for signings and after promotion from La Segunda last summer, other teams couldn’t wait to prey and take advantage of Mendizorroza’s little squad full of unknowns and a manager (Mauricio ‘El Flaco’ Pellegrino) with a short stint in Mestalla four years ago.
? 8 jornadas sin perder, 5º mejor equipo a domicilio y mejor racha de la temporada. ¡El Glorioso marcha! Y el miércoles, ¡a por la Copa! pic.twitter.com/xcMiT1qzXA
— Deportivo Alavés (@Alaves) January 8, 2017
But, after a wobbly start to the season, the Argentinian’s lads have become a force to be feared. 22-points, a comfy spot in La Liga’s standings and a four-game streak without conceding goals away from home. The Basque side’s draw in San Mamés against Athletic Club is proof of their resilient nature.
Sevilla just won’t stop winning
Wonder-coach, Jorge Sampaoli, pressed the ‘cruise control’ button on the dashboard weeks ago, and his players are as obedient as they come. Another amazing game away from home (0-4), this time against a buoyant Real Sociedad that could only run around, chasing Sevilla players around the pitch.
With the team at the top of its game, Sampaoli faces now the ultimate challenge: will he be able to turn around a 3-0 disadvantage in the Copa del Rey and knock-out Zidane’s juggernaut Real Madrid?
Madness and hilarity take over Valencia CF
Typically we would speak about this Monday’s huge game in Pamplona between Osasuna and Los ‘Che’, as both of them are clinging on to secure a spot in Primera. But the fight to avoid relegation has to be tucked into a corner in order to talk about the utter and complete mess that Valencia is right now both in the sporting, social and institutional areas.
A club in shambles thanks to poor management decisions and a lack of understanding of how the fundamentals of football work. On December 30th, Italian manager Cesare Prandelli walked after many broken promises and backstabs. On January 7th, sports director Suso García Pitarch also resigned.
This is the official VCF statemente. HUGE turmoil in Peter Lim's club right now: https://t.co/YP5OEJcNto
— Paco Polit English (@pacopolitENG) January 7, 2017
Valencia now has a temporary coach (team delegate and former player Voro) and a temporary sports director (former Barcelona legend Jose Ramón Alesanco). Unfortunately, the possibility of falling into the pit of Segunda is as real as they come. The clock is ticking. And owner Peter Lim appears to be deaf to all of the fans crying for a swift solution to this appalling scenario.