Category Archives: Weekly Round-Up and Highlights

Real close gap at top- Weekend Round-Up

Real Madrid close the gap at the top of La Liga to just one point, following their 2-0 win over Valencia and Barcelona’s 0-0 draw in Saturday’s catalan derby with Espanyol at the Nou Camp.

Goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo either side of half time proved enough for Real to overcome Valencia, and give themselves a strong chance of winning the title just a week on from “El Clasico” disappointment, as Barca still have to negotiate tough trips to Villarreal and Sevilla in the run-in.

With five games remaining, Barca will have to re-discover their recent hot run of form against bottom side Xerez this weekend, which deserted them during the bore draw with Espanyol on Saturday.

Malaga now sit just one point above the relegation zone, as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to fellow strugglers Valladolid, whilst Tenerife below them scored an impressive 3-2 victory over Getafe.

Bottom side Xerez held Racing Santander to a 2-2 draw, as they continued their good run of form, which is likely to have come just too late to dig them out of trouble.

In the race for fourth, Sevilla took apart Sporting Gijon 3-0, thanks to goals from Freddie Kanoute, Luis Fabiano and Cala. They are one point behind Mallorca, who beat Osasuna 2-0 on Monday night and still hold the initiative for the fourth Champion’s League spot.

Villarreal beat a jaded Atletico Madrid 2-1, as the Madrid side now look to have sacrificed any league form they once had for their Europa League campaign, with a semi-final against Liverpool coming up this week.

The other two Primera Division clashes didn’t set the pulse racing, with a 0-0 draw between Deportivo and Almeria, and another goal-shy clash, this time involving Athletic Bilbao and Real Zaragoza.

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Shock wins for Tenerife, Valladolid and Xerez- La Liga Midweek Round-up

The bottom three in La Liga all pulled off impressive wins on Matchday 32, as each side battles to preserve their Primera Division status, coming into the final few fixtures of the campaign.

With only six games remaining Tenerife, Valladolid and Xerez all picked up another three points in their bid for survival and now the gap between Malaga in 17th and Tenerife in 18th stands at just three points, giving a few other sides above them a cause for concern.

Xerez, who have hit a good run of form in recent weeks by picking up 11 points from their last six games, continued their purple patch by upsetting Europa League semi-finalists Atletico Madrid 2-1 away from home with goals from Mario Bermejo and Emiliano Armenteros.

Tenerife scored two late goals to win 2-0 away at Sporting Gijon, and now look the more likely out of the three to survive.

Valladolid saw off out of sorts Sevilla 2-1 at the Jose Zorrilla, thanks to strikes from Diego Castro and Manucho, with Cala’s stunning 25-yard strike coming to late to salvage anything for the visitors.

Sevilla are now going to face a struggle to claim fourth place, with Mallorca a point clear of them following a 1-1 draw at Zaragoza.

At the top Barcelona remain three points clear of Real Madrid after coasting to a 3-0 victory over Deportivo at the Nou Camp, with Pedro scoring the pick of the goals from 40 yards. Real also won their fixture, but made hard work of it as they overcame Almeria 2-1, with Cristiano Ronaldo on the score sheet with a brilliant solo effort.

Meanwhile Valencia strengthened their case for third spot with an easy 2-0 over Athletic Bilbao at the Mestalla.

Elsewhere Malaga and Osasuna played out an exciting 2-2 draw, Racing Santander beat Espanyol 3-1 and Getafe brushed aside Villarreal 3-0.

Barca steam past Real/Weekend La Liga Round-Up

Barcelona returned the top of the Primera Division, with a brilliant 2-0 victory away to bitter rivals Real Madrid, in the eagerly awaited “El Gran Clasico” clash on matchday 31.

Pep Guardiola’s side are now three points clear of Real, thanks to goals either side of half time from Lionel Messi and Pedro. They now also have the upper hand on Real in terms of the two sides’ head-to-head record, which is practically worth another point if the teams end the season locked at the top.

It looks unlikely that that will be the case though, as Barcelona are in unstoppable form of late, and if recent performances are anything to go by, there is not a single side on the planet that can stop them, let alone in La Liga.

It was a disappointing show from Real, especially considering the run of form that they carried into the game, and it will be interesting to see the fall-out, should they not go on now to win the league title. I, as many do, expect Manuel Pelligrini to be shown the door as manager at the end of the season, and believe that the Real board will now chase Jose Mourinho as their next coach. It will be interesting to see how things develop at the Bernabeu during the summer months.

Aside from the top two, the battle for fourth place continues to intensify. There were wins for 4th, 5th and 6th place, as Sevilla, Mallorca and Athletic Bilbao all secured three points in tough fixtures.

Sevilla came from behind to win 2-1 away to Malaga thanks to second half strikes from Cala and Lolo, whilst Mallorca produced an impressive performance to overcome third placed Valencia 3-2 at ONO Estadi.

Athletic Bilbao were emphatic in their victory over Almeria at San Mames, beating their mid-table opposition 4-1 and also missing a penalty in the process. Javier Martinez struck twice, with Igor Gabilondo and Fernando Llorente grabbing the others, as Bilbao bounced back from their drubbing at the Nou Camp a week earlier, to keep up the heat on their nearest rivals.

There was yet more misery for the bottom three, as Tenerife and Valladolid played out a 0-0 draw that will do neither of them any favours, and Xerez’s recent revival ended with a 1-0 defeat at home to Getafe, thanks to a strike from Rafa Lopez.

Atletico Madrid looked to be suffering from a European hangover, following their victory over Valencia in the Europa League, as they were soundly beaten away to Espanyol 3-0.

Deportivo were held 1-1 at home to Racing Santander, whilst Osasuna beat Zaragoza 2-0 and Villarreal edged past Sporting Gijon 1-0.

Xerez run of form continues in hunt for survival / Weekend La Liga Round-Up

Xerez picked up a valuable point in their relegation battle in La Liga, with a 2-2 draw away to Sporting Gijon. It has been a spirited attempt at a revival from the Primera Division’s bottom side in recent weeks, having won two and drawn two of their last four, in what is unquestionably their best run of form this season.

It remains highly unlikely that Xerez have what it takes to overhaul the eight point gap which stands between them and 17th placed Racing Santander, but it is still impressive form given the ground they have made on Valladolid and Tenerife, who also make up the bottom three.

The bottom three are heavy favourites to go down given the six point gap between Racing in 17th and Tenerife in 18th, and all of the strugglers, other than Xerez, endured miserable weekends. Luis Fabiano was back among the goals as Sevilla finally found their form with a 3-0 victory at home to Tenerife, whilst Villarreal won 2-0 away to Valladolid thanks to goals from Angel Lopez and Nilmar.

Real Madrid and Barcelona were both ruthless ahead of next weekend’s eagerly anticipated El Clasico at the Bernabeu. Real stay top thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty and another goal from Gonzalo Higuain in a 2-0 victory away to Racing Santander.  Barca took apart Athletic Bilbao at the Nou Camp 4-1, with two goals from Bojan and one each from Messi and Jeffren. In doing so they also gained ground on their rivals in the goal difference stakes, with the sides now separated at the top by just a single goal.

Valencia continue to look great value for third place after they saw off Osasuna 3-0 at the Mestalla, to move eight points clear of fourth. Another brace from David Villa helped them on their way and the club must be geared for some offers for the in-demand Spain forward this summer, as he took his domestic tally to 20 for the season.

A last gasp equaliser from Pierre Webo kept Mallorca level on points with fourth placed Sevilla, as they were held 1-1 by Almeria. 

Atletico Madrid dealt Deportivo’s European hopes a huge blow with a 3-0 victory over Miguel Angel Lotina’s men at Vincente Calderon, with goals from Juanito, Diego Forlan and Tiago.

Elsewhere, relegation threatened Zaragoza overcame Malaga 2-0 and Getafe and Espanyol played out a 1-1 draw.

Title race still too close to call/ Weekend La Liga Round-up

Anything you can do, we can do better. Or exactly the same as it would seem in La Liga, after matchday 29 on which the two giants Real Madrid and Barcelona won their respective games by the same amount of goals for the fourth consecutive week.

The sides, seperated only by Real’s superior goal difference, once again swept aside their opposition and remain locked on points heading into the business end of the season. The two meet on April 10th at the Bernabeu in a clash which is almost certainly going to go a long way into determining the destination of the La Liga crown this season. Unlike the Premier League, if sides are locked on points at the end of the season in Spain then the title is decided by the head to head record of the clubs involved from that season. Having lost 1-0 at the Nou Camp in the reverse fixture, it is vital that Real Madrid win the game with so little to to choose between the two and the chances of finishing joint on points with Barcelona looking all the more likely.

Real overcame their bitter rivals Atletico Madrid 3-2 on Sunday, but did had to overcome an early scare as Jose Antonio Reyes gave Atletico an early lead. The league leaders hit back thanks to goals from Xabi Alonso, Alvaro Arbeloa and Gonzalo Higuain, before a Diego Forlan penalty ensured a tense finale to the Madrid derby.

The game of the weekend came in Monday’s clash, as Athletic Bilbao beat Racing Santander 4-3 to move within two points of fourth place. The two sides played out a thriller at San Mames, with the in-form Fernando Llorente again amongst the goals for the home side, scoring twice. The goal of the game came from Racing’s Ivan Bolado, scoring a spectacular over-head kick for one of his two strikes.

Barcelona kept the pressure up on Real as they won 1-0 away to Mallorca, thanks to a goal from Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovich, who is starting to find his form again in recent games. It was an impressive win for the champions as they were on the back foot for much of the clash and had the woodwork and keeper Victor Valdes to thank for not falling behind in the first-half.

Sevilla and Deportivo both had their European hopes dashed with crushing defeats. Sevilla, who seem have hit the self-destruct button in recent weeks following their Champion’s League exit and sacking of their coach, were soundly beaten 3-0 away to Villarreal. Getafe took Deportivo apart with a resounding 3-1 victory in the Riazor, restoring their own hopes of a late push for Europe.

At the bottom end, Xerez’s recent revival of late continued as they took their tally to seven points in a week with a 3-0 win at home to Valladolid. Having beaten third bottom Tenerife last week, the bottom side beat the team directly above them and have moved to within seven points of Real Zaragoza who lie in 17th.

Zaragoza scored a massive victory in their own race to survive, as they upset third placed Valencia with a 3-0 win at home on Saturday night, moving four points clear of the drop zone.

Tenerife could only manage a point as they were held 1-1 away to Malaga. In the two dead rubbers in mid-table, Walter Pandiani scored the winner for Osasuna as they beat Almeria 1-0, whilst Espanyol and Sporting Gijon played out a dull 0-0 draw.

Midweek La Liga Round-up

There is still nothing to choose between the top two in La Liga, after Real Madrid and Barcelona both recorded comfortable wins in midweek. There was also a managerial casualty in the Primera Division, as Sevilla sacked coach Manolo Jimenez, following a string a poor results in recent weeks, including their Champion’s League exit to CSKA Moscow and culminating in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at home to bottom club Xerez.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain both scored twice as Real comfortably overcame Getafe 4-2 away from home. The league leaders raced into a four goal lead with just 37 minutes played, with a trademark Ronaldo free-kick opening the scoring, before two close range efforts from the Argentinian Higuain, before his Portuguese team-mate struck the fourth with a great solo effort. The home side replied twice, once either side of half-time, but the game was already over as a contest long before they did.

Barcelona finally overcame a stubborn Osasuna at the Nou Camp 2-0 through goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovich and Bojan. It took 73 minutes for the champions to break the deadlock, as good link up play between Andres Iniesta and Pedro, released Maxwell down the left whose low cross was tapped in from close range by the big Swedish striker. Iniesta was again the architect in the 89th minute, as this time Bojan scored from six yards after meeting the Spaniards through ball.

David Villa reinforced Valencia’s lead over fourth place, as he scored the only goal in their 1-0 victory over Malaga at the Mestella. He scored from six yards, after 12 minutes as he turned Juan Mata’s cutback into the net. Real Mallorca failed to move further clear of Sevilla in the race for fourth, as they were held to a 0-0 draw away to Racing Santander.

Atletico Madrid put a dent in Athletic Bilbao’s European hopes with a 2-0 victory at the Vincente Calderon. Goals from Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero sealed the three points. Atletico will thank their young keeper David De Gea however, after he produced a string of top saves in the first half to thwart the visitors.

Tenerife were dealt a hammer blow in their hopes for survival as Giuseppe Rossi equalised two minutes from time for Villarreal, as the two sides played out an entertaining 2-2 draw. Nilmar gave the away side the lead before Tenerife turned the game on its head to lead 2-1, before Rossi’s late leveller.

Real Zaragoza were also pegged back in the relegation scrap as they were beaten 1-0 away to Almeria. Nigerian striker Kalu Uche met Pablo Piatti’s through ball to convert and wrap up the victory.

Elsewhere Sporting Gijon beat Deportivo 2-1 and Valladolid and Espanyol played out a boring 0-0 draw.

Untouchable Messi?

Lionel Messi lit up the weekend’s action in La Liga once more with yet another hat-trick, as champions Barcelona beat Real Zaragoza 4-2 at La Romareda.

In my opinion and judging by the recent performances from Messi, we may well be looking at the best player of his generation, let alone on the planet right now. There is simply nothing he cannot do. If he can carry this form into the World Cup then Argentina have to be taken seriously, because at the moment the man is destroying teams single handedly. Arsenal beware!

Elsewhere, his rival for individual and club accolades Cristiano Ronaldo turned in another man of the match performance of his own but without scoring, as Real Madrid stay at the top thanks to a 3-1 victory over Sporting Gijon at the Bernabeu.

Sevilla went down to a 2-0 defeat at Espanyol as their disappointing week continued following their Champions League exit at the hands of CSKA Moscow. Mallorca made the most of that slip, by leaping above them and into 4th place with a 4-1 demolition of Atletico Madrid, who also seemed to be suffering from a European hangover after Thursday’s draw in Lisbon.

Down at the bottom there were priceless wins for Racing Santander, who won 3-1 away to Osasuna and also Valladolid who shocked Deportivo with a 2-0 victory at the Riazor.

Bottom placed Xerez scored a rare result with a 2-1 victory over Tenerife, the side directly above them, but it looks as though it will do little in preventing them for the drop unless they can put together some kind of miracle run of form between now and the end of the season.

Elsewhere Athletic Bilbao and Getafe played out an exciting 2-2 draw, which will do little to boost either sides european ambitions though and Valencia saw off Almeria 2-0 thanks to goals from Juan Mata and David Silva, as they now look almost certain to finish in 3rd place.

In the final game of the weekend on matchday 27, Malaga beat Villareal 2-0 at home to give themselves a little breathing space from the relegation battle, as they moved seven points clear of the bottom three, up onto 30 points.