The latest weekend in La Liga sees Real Madrid continuing its remarkable nosedive and Diego Costa’s chaos
Madrid sucks harder than ever under Zidane (2-2)
In another stinker by Los Blancos, Real lost any remote possibility of playing catch-up and kept their crash dive going after a disappointing draw in Vigo. Zinedine Zidane left the pitch with ‘worried’ written all over his face, but didn’t lash out to the media. The situation is starting to get desperate: there’s the same point difference between Real and first place (16) as the relegation spots. Utterly embarrassing.
‘Thrilla’ in Sevilla with eight goals and a long night for Betis fans (3-5)
In one of the best games this season, Sevilla and Betis battled in an incredible atmosphere in the Sanchez Pizjuán in a perfect showcase of defensive drama and attacking proficiency. Why bother defending when sending players to finish plays is so much fun?
An absolute thriller for the regular LaLiga fan, Vincenzo Montella didn’t show much progress when comparing his Sevilla to Toto Berizzo’s. In fact, the local side shrunk more and more as Betis skilled attackers pierced through their midfield like arrows, sending the game into a frenetic second half where Betis seemed to get the upper hand, Sevilla almost managed to miraculously draw the game and ultimately Cristian Tello settled it with a fantastic finish in the 92nd minute.
As a coda for such a wild night for Los Verdiblancos, their spiritual leader Joaquín warned everyone in his post-game statement: “Anyone who comes back home before 5am will get fined!” So, Betis fans all around the city complied. It didn’t take them too much convincing, either.
Barça clinically dismembered Levante while the Coutinho hype-train arrived (3-0)
Levante played bravely and pretty well; in fact, they performed so much better than many other teams that have visited the Camp Nou. But they left the city empty-handed: Barcelona is cruising through LaLiga with no signs of stopping, and Messi and Suarez toppled the game in the first half before the obvious – and expected by this point – late Paulinho capper.
But, most of the lights were pointing at the arrival of Philippe Coutinho, Barça’s juggernaut €160 million signing who attended the game, struck a couple of poses for the photographers and waited 12 more hours to be officially presented as a new Blaugrana player on Monday. By the way, the Brazilian attacker has landed in the city with a muscle injury and will be out for 20 days, delaying his debut until February.
? @Phil_Coutinho ?
? "I have dreamt a lot about scoring a goal for Barça and wearing the shirt. Now, it is time!"
?? #CoutinhoDay pic.twitter.com/JvDERAZkJt
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 9, 2018
Atlético and Valencia keep the dream alive
With Barça being the dominant force and Madrid MIA, Atlético and Valencia can only keep winning and wait for a miracle to happen. In Atlético’s case, the second spot is totally deserved for a side that keeps delivering even if their style is not a beauty to behold. Diego Costa’s arrival has been as rowdy as expected: gotta love his hustling when scoring and love of any good scrap he might get into. His game against Getafe was pure, unadulterated Costa: a booking for an elbow in the face, a goal scored and a second yellow for celebrating with the fans. Mesmerizing to watch and thoroughly enjoyable.
350 kilometres away, Valencia found itself trailing behind Girona after an awful start capped with a great Christian Portu header. However, Gonzalo Guedes took matters into his own hands and completely bossed the game for the remainder, scoring the equalizer, pestering defenders with his uncanny speed and confirming that paying €40 million for him (Valencia wants to make the loan deal permanent with PSG) is one of the biggest steals of the transfer market.