La Liga

Published on December 12th, 2017 | by Paco Polit

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La Liga: No love for Atletico and Valverde’s player projects

🕓 Reading time:3 minutes

Cristiano Ronaldo was back in business after his Ballon d’Or triumph, but the Spanish media still fail to recognise some unsung heroes of La Liga

With only four games left in LaLiga’s first half, Valencia’s surprising performance and Atleti’s resilience in times of struggle have earned them little to no praise from the mainstream FAKE NEWS Spanish media, obsessed with the predictable (AND BORING!) duopoly between Barça and Madrid.

Alcácer begins to show he’s worth the money

Step by step, Ernest Valverde is succeeding where plenty of managers have failed before: flicking the on-switch of players who were stuck in irrelevancy months before. It happened with Thomas Vermaelen a few games ago, and it’s happening now with wonder kid Paco Alcácer.

The striker has been proficient for most of his career in the one-touch pass and finish formula that helped his former team, Valencia, pull off many wins in the past. However, after landing in Barcelona, his smart wits and quick thinking hadn’t been seen for many months.

This season, Alcácer has climbed the ladder once again, claiming more chances to shine with good moves and smart decisions on the pitch. Against Villarreal, his job once he came on in the second half was flawless.

Open season for Cristiano thanks to a horrible Sevilla 

Real Madrid slapped around a hapless, disappointing, fairly awful Sevilla in an evening scientifically designed to make Cristiano Ronaldo happy. The Portuguese, after winning his fifth Ballon d’Or took advantage of one of the worst defensive performances of an away team this year in El Bernabeu to score twice and put some make-up and polish on his 2017-2018 scoring stats, which aren’t actually that impressive.

With Sevilla’s mangled bodybag out of the way, now Real can focus in what they do best: winning trophies, even if the playing style used isn’t attractive in the more conventional way. This week they have a shot at bagging yet another piece of silverware: the 2017 Club World Cup in the EUA. And never doubt that Cristiano will appear once again to reap the benefits.

Valencia’s hustle is enough even when opposition is formidable 

Exhaustion and injuries are beginning to pay their toll on the otherwise magnificent Valencia, a true contender for Champions League spots, who keeps on winning even if the novelty is starting to wear off and other teams are slowly but steadily chipping away at their strong tactical work.

Another showcase of grinding and ambition against Celta Vigo by a team that has squeezed through the ranks of the establishment this season and isn’t ready to give up on its second place just yet.

Atleti have their own path, and it leads to success

Cholo Simeone’s planning couldn’t have worked better. At least, if we speak about La Liga; the Colchoneros being kicked out of the Champions League earlier than expected should be explained with those accidental stumbles against Qarabag that dragged them down. Anyway, they still have the Europa League to test their might internationally…

But I digress. I was stating just how bright things are looking up for a championship contender that the mainstream media and many fans aren’t assessing as fairly as they should. After struggling in the first games of the season, Atlético are back to form by winning games with a narrow score, fighting courageously and waiting for the arrival of two players in January (Diego Costa and Vitolo Machín) that are going to turn the team into a mangling machine. Yes, they might be out of the Champions League… but don’t rule out Atleti just yet.

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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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