Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All the Week's Action in La Liga: Jornada 1

Here we are at the end of week 1 of La Liga and the weekend’s results are as follows:

Hercules 0 – 1 Athletic Bilbao
Málaga 1 – 3 Valencia
Levante 1 – 4 Sevilla FC
Deportivo 0 – 0 Real Zaragoza
Espanyol 3 – 1 Getafe
Osasuna 0 – 0 Almeria
Real Sociedad 1 – 0 Villarreal
Racing 0 – 3 Barcelona
Mallorca 0 – 0 Real Madrid
A. Madrid 4 – 0 Sporting Gijon

A newly promoted Hercules did well in keeping the ball against the Basques, however with their new signings (Valdez and Trezeguet) not making the cut, they created precious little and lost their opening fixture. Malaga seem to have picked up from where they left off last season, that is, losing once more. Valencia, on the other hand, completely overwhelmed Malaga in their own backyard, and a spirited performance by Joaquin in the 2nd half saw them comfortable winners. Joaquin along with Vicente have been standard pall bearers for Valencia for some time now, and in the absence of David Villa and Silva, they have once more taken up the mantle of Valencia’s resurrection force.

Sevilla comfortably dispatched Levante after initially conceding a lead, controversies notwithstanding. Let’s face it, the officiating in Spain is poor, and it will be sometime before we can see any change. So, for now, let’s get on with the game.
Things are still not looking very exciting at the Riazor where Deportivo managed a dull draw with Real Zaragoza, who is back in top flight, and in the first clasico of the season (albeit the mini clasico), Espanyol ran rout over Getafe, punishing them with a 3-1 win. Sign of things to come? I certainly don’t hope so. Osasuna vs Almeria proved to be yet another stalemate which both sides creating precious little; a fair result to be honest. Ahh and now we come to Villareal. Villareal, lately have had a habit of raking up huge wins in their pre-season only to disappear in the anonymity of the mid table once the season actually begins. They dominated possession and took a lot of pot shots at Sociedad’s goal, and yet the Canary Islanders lost out to the Basques. A full 100 marks to Real Sociedad for surviving the initial onslaught and managing a win in their first match in the Primera after three long years.

And now we come to the big three of Primera. Barcelona ran rout over a hapless Racing Santander who clearly lacked quality at the back and inspiration up front. Villa’s 3rd goal, where he had ample time to stand put, arch himself backwards and then strike the ball into Racing’s goalpost – all the time surrounded by 3 Racing defenders who were busy watching how the World Cup winner scores goals – was a postcard of how poor Racing were. But I don’t mean to take anything away from Barcelona; they seem to have started where they left off. Following this game, things promised to be much more interesting at the Ono Estadi, where The Special One had got his Madrid squad to dispose off a poor debt ridden Mallorca coached by Michael Laudrup (Barcelona and Real Madrid legend). The promise seemed to wilt away as the minutes piled on as neither Mallorca or Madrid were able to take control of the match, with some downright awry finishing and referring errors at both ends. The Ono Estadi is always a tough place to travel to for most teams and Mallorca are second only to Athletic Bilbao in terms of foul play, so it is no surprise that they had the 3rd best home record last season and started this season with the unlikeliest of points. In retrospect, it was a shambles of a match and a goalless draw seems to be a fair result; though not what people would like to remember as Jose’s first match in charge of the White House. At the other side of Madrid, in the Vicente Calderon, things were a proper party as Atletico Madrid completed a 4-0 rout of Sporting Gijon in what was probably the most entertaining match of the weekend. Both sides attacked each other, but it was a Diego Forlan starrer as the World Cup’s MVP grabbed a brace while being helped on the way by Kun Aguerro who seemed to have finally found his feet. Sporting did not let Atletico off the hook either and kept trying to score until the very end.

So all in all, there weren’t many upsets as most top and mid-table teams were facing teams from the bottom rungs of the ladder; the exception being Osasuna and Real Madrid who ground out 0-0 draws in their respective fixtures.


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