Cristiano Ronaldo still fails to deliver in La Liga, Leo Messi doesn’t need an audience to score goals and Valencia are the new third force
La Liga’s Week 7 was undoubtedly dominated by the events taking place in Cataluyna, but that didn’t remove a pinch of interest from the rest of the games. Atlético’s stumbling helped Valencia rise to new heights; Real Madrid won quite predictably against one of their favourite ‘preys’; tiny Alavés scored a huge win on Levante’s turf; and Sevilla stayed strong.
Target practice for Real Madrid but no luck for Cristiano
In another impressive display of inaccuracy, Real Madrid elevated their attacking production and tried over twenty shots on goal in their showdown against a disciplined Espanyol (2-0). However, Isco had to come to the rescue with two strikes, one in each half, to finish off their opponents.
Madrid’s win allows Zinedine Zidane’s men to remain at a seven-point distance from Barcelona. However, matters are looking up after their big win last week in the Champions League fixture against Borussia Dortmund. Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, keeps trying (and failing) to score his first goals in La Liga: everyone believed Espanyol would be the perfect victim for the Portuguese striker (after all, he has scored a whopping fifteen times against them), but he wasn’t able to find the back of the net.
Messi adds two more to his humungous goal collection
Leo Messi had no problem in dynamiting the match against Las Palmas in a tremendous second half, following Busquets’ opening goal. The first 45 minutes, however, proved that Las Palmas’ players wanted to make a good impression on new manager Pako Ayestarán. The game had plenty of drama before the kick-off, but we’ve already provided a lengthy recap for your reading pleasure.
Sevilla polishes a drowning Málaga in two minutes
Poor Málaga keep sinking in the standings. After seven games and one point from the initial twenty-one, one wonders just how much longer will Míchel González hang on to his job on the bench. It is true that they tried hard and showed proficiency at defending for over an hour of game, but ultimately the Malagueños lack power and efficiency up front, and they paid for it.
A harsh penalty on Joaquín ‘Tucu’ Correa was more than enough for Ever Banega to score the opener. Seconds later, a bizarre mistake by Rolón (did he actually try a back heel pass?) provided Luis Muriel with plenty of space to gallop and clinically finish. Sevilla keep up with Barça’s pace and they remain in second spot.
Gianni De Biasi lands in Vitoria with a prestigious win against Levante
After sacking their manager and letting temporary replacement Javier Cabello lead the team for a couple of games, Alavés finally got veteran Italian coach Gianni de Biassi to join their ranks in the nigh-impossible task of making them bounce back after a horrendous season start. Serendipity decided that his debut would take place against little Levante, the team he coached for a brief period almost ten years ago.
De Biasi’s arrival had an instant impact on the side, as two goals by former Valencianista’s Munir El-Haddadi and Álvaro Medran did the job. The Granotas were quite awful last Saturday and never stood a chance against a much more motivated side. These three points are the first for ‘El Glorioso’ Alavés, no longer at the bottom of the table.
Will Valencia’s streak manage to keep up with the Big Three? (3-2)
At this point, Valencia are the only team able to keep up with Barça and Atleti: they are the three teams that have yet to lose a game after seven rounds. Marcelino’s men are now seriously eyeing fourth place this season.
Sunday’s fixture against Athletic Bilbao was a tricky one, but Valencia managed to get a result with surprising efficiency, scoring three goals (Simone Zaza, Dani Parejo, new national team player Rodrigo Moreno) and overcoming Basque pressure in the second half. ‘Cuco’ Ziganda made a huge mistake in leaving Aritz Aduriz and Raúl García out of the starting line-up: they both scored in the second half, but their effort wasn’t enough to pick up points.
After Atlético’s tough draw against Leganés (0-0), Valencia have settled in third spot and will enjoy looking at the standings during the international break.