La Liga

Published on November 22nd, 2017 | by Paco Polit

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La Liga – a dull Madrid derby & belligerent Barcelona

🕓 Reading time:3 minutes

The Madrid derby turned out to be even worse than expected while Valencia are the last team standing in the chase to better Barcelona

Atleti and Madrid bomb hard in the weekend’s biggest stinker (0-0)

Absolutely awful. The Madrid derby was one of the worst games to date this season, pitting two sides against each other that are far from meeting expectations this season. With little to no football on the pitch, most of the interest lied in the way home fans booed Antoine Griezmann after his pitiful performance.

At the end of the day, the goal-less draw was as fair as they come for two clubs that totally deserve being 10 points away from the top of the standings. The only ones who truly understood how important the fixture was were the fans, who generated a riotous atmosphere before the game that slowly but steadily lost its magic as the twenty-two players plodded around the pitch. Very, very disappointing.

Barça and Suárez get the job done in Leganés (0-3)

I don’t really know what kind of sorcery is Ernesto Valverde is invoking, but the fact is that his Barça is an unstoppable juggernaut even when they aren’t particularly inspired. Take their game against brave Leganés, for example: Messi was missing for most of the evening, the home team generated more than a handful of chances, but ultimately the outcome was a crushing 0-3. This is the material LaLiga champions are made of.

With the occasional Messi magic trick here and there, Valverde’s Barça has perfected the art of knocking down opponents with ease, while they trust their fate in the gloved mittens of Marc-André Ter Stegen, who is right now one of the top three keepers in the world hands down. With the German padlock doing his thing, only a couple of Luis Suarez lightning-speed finishes and the now-expected Paulinho capper were enough to walk away with the three points.

Valencia manages to keep up with an incredible win in Cornellà (0-2)

Let’s get this out of the way: Valencia deserved to lose in Barcelona. They were awful in the first half, Espanyol pressed on the right spots, overpowered Dani Parejo and Geoffrey Kondogbia in the midfield, Marcelino didn’t pick the right players on his line-up and the home team hit the woodwork twice. And, everything said and done, the Bats managed to get away with the three points and were laughing.

Such is the confidence and sheer momentum of a side that has strung an all-time high eight wins in a row. A missile by Kondogbia pierced through the net early in the second half, and an incredible mistake by Víctor Sánchez allowed Santi Mina to score easily late in the game. Money in the bank. Days away from Mestalla’s epic showdown next Sunday, only Valencia seems ready to tackle Barça’s might with some chance of succeeding.

Ayestarán wants to be the worst manager ever (0-2)

In another showcase of helplessness, Las Palmas hammered yet another nail in their proverbial coffin by handing the three points to a Levante in desperate need of a win to enhance their spirits. Doukouré, with a header, and Jason scored the goals. Meanwhile, Pako Ayestarán keeps ‘improving’ on his already all-time LaLiga record: this defeat makes the thirteenth in a row for him… and the Las Palmas board has already stated that he will, at least, be in the bench next week against Real Sociedad. Mind-boggling.

Epic win for a Málaga clinging to their salvation (3-2)

With half an hour to go, Deportivo seemed to have some points in their pocket after Lucas Pérez and Schär turned around local Rosales’ early goal. However, manager Michel González threw everything and the kitchen sink onto the pitch, hoping for a desperate comeback against a direct rival in the struggle to avoid relegation. And, surprisingly, it worked: Chory Castro and a late Borja Bastón sneaky finish sent La Rosaleda into a frenzy. Málaga keeps putting up a fight and is now only four points away from safety.

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About the Author

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Paco Polit is a Valencia-based journalist with over ten years experience reporting La Liga, covering both Valencia CF and Levante's news, signings, ups and downs. Madrid and Barcelona are huge, indeed, but the Spanish La Liga is much, much more: regarded as the top football competition in the world, he enjoys explaining why to every reader from abroad.



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