Will Ronaldo the First come back to haunt Real Madrid? Are Barcelona the real deal after Real meal? And will Valencia grab another bore draw? 4 questions in La Liga
1) Ronaldo Nazario crosses paths with his glory days
Since Ronaldo Nazario, a Real Madrid legend and one of the best strikers ever to grace this sport, took over Real Valladolid and became its largest shareholder, the Pucela side has blown everyone’s minds.
This is due to the amazing competitive edge the team has shown and results achieved. Sergio González’s men are on a hot streak right now. They have done so well, in fact, that they face their nigh impossible game versus Real Madrid in sixth, with two points more than Los Blancos.
Let’s face it: under regular conditions, Valladolid’s chances of pulling off an upset at El Bernabeu would be slim to none. But, Levante were under the same burden recently and succeeded. Yes, Lopetegui may no longer be on the home bench, but Santi Solari’s ‘message’ at this point (all the ‘cojones’ stuff fans already know top to bottom) isn’t exactly comforting. Real will have to focus and work hard if they hope to make the three points stay inside the stadium.
2) Have Barça finally taken off for real?
Their follow-up after their spectacular 5-1 beating delivered to Real Madrid last week sure won’t be as fancy, but many are asking themselves if that Clásico win was the final push Barça needed to finally launch their attack on the championship.
Sitting on top of LaLiga, rivals have seen how the Blaugranas are good enough to survive without Leo Messi in their ranks, thanks to an excellent Luis Suárez and guest appearances of players such as Arthur Melo or Ousmane Dembelé.
While Leo Messi recovers from his arm injury, Ernesto Valverde and his men face another ‘easy’ fixture against a struggling Rayo Vallecano. Vallecas, which underwent building works a few weeks ago, should be ready to host one of those games where fans yell their guts out from sheer excitement.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 2, 2018
3) Will Alavés do it once again?
To date, the biggest surprise of the season wears white-and-blue: the undisputed 2018-2019 underdog, Deportivo Alavés, keeps proving critics wrong by hanging in there week after week, winning unexpected games, getting back from impossible situations and overall proving that they are much more reliable than haters would admit in the first few match days.
With over a quarter-of-the-season already played, Alavés are only one point away from the top of the league. Almost half of the job is done if consider the real target: avoiding relegation. The ‘Babazorros’ (literally ‘bean-gatherers’ or ‘bean-eaters’) are proficiently completing their task: gathering as much points as possible, taking advantage of their extraordinary form. Against Eibar, they will have the chance of furthering their success in another Basque derby.
? | Es el máximo asistente de @LaLiga pero… no todo ha sido fácil en este recorrido ?
— Deportivo Alavés (@Alaves) November 2, 2018
4) Draw kings Valencia can’t stumble more
One of the biggest disappointments in the league so far. Valencia fans are beginning to get irate about their own team’s inability to just win an actual game. If we don’t count their agonising midweek victory in the Copa del Rey against a third division side (1-2 versus CD Ebro thanks to a Santi Mina brace), their single victory this season belongs to a cold afternoon in Anoeta. They lost another two (Juventus and RCD Espanyol). The remaining scores? Ten draws out of 14 official games.
Before their next ‘big’ showdown (they will visit Juventus in the last week of November), Marcelino’s team has the chance of finally applying some make-up to their lacking initial run of games. First up are Girona, who come to Mestalla with a large number of injured players (no Stuani, no Portu…) and with serious doubts regarding Eusebio’s job on their bench. Simply put. It’s one of Valencia’s last shots at becoming relevant in La Liga before the European contender train leaves them on the platform for good.