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futbolgrande

....making Twitter bigger: La Liga personalities in 140 words. Simple.
Sep 1 '13

Espanyol 0-0 Real Betis

Jornada 3; Espanyol 0-0 Real Betis (Cornella El-Prat)

Espanyol were held to 0-0 draw at Cornella El-Prat by Real Betis as their unbeaten start to the season continued.

While Betis kept the ball, Javier Aguirre’s men threatened more and Christian Stuani headed wide inside the opening 20 minutes from a Juan Fuentes cross when he should have perhaps scored.

It was the home side who would have the next clear opportunity too. Guillermo Sara’s poor cross dropped to Pizzi, but, after putting Chica to the floor, the Portuguese forward’s shot was deflected behind for a corner.

Meanwhile the visitors were restricted to long range efforts - Nosa Igiebor with one easily saved by Kiko Casilla.

Into the second half and it was Betis who came close to taking the lead. Joan Verdu, returning to Espanyol for the first time since leaving in the summer, pumped a free kick into the box, and Xavi Torres’ header was deflected inches wide of the post.

As the match grew old, Espanyol looked the only winners.

Sergio Garcia’s cross was acrobatically blazed over by Stuani, while the former later span Jordi Figueras before seeing his shot well saved by Sara.

Substitute Thievy, who had scored in his two previous appearances from the bench, then should have put Los Pericos ahead. Slipped in by Stuani, he raced through with electric pace, but his poked finish was again saved - Stuani blasted the rebound into Amaya.

The last 10 minutes was marred by time wasting tactics from Betis, and Espanyol couldn’t quite find the rhythm they needed to force the winner despite a flurry of late corners.

Pepe Mel will no doubt appreciate the point more than Aguirre will in the opposite dugout, but it’s enough to keep Espanyol unbeaten three games in, while Betis pick up their first point of the new campaign.

ESP 13. Kiko Casilla; 16. Javi Lopez, 19. Diego Colotto, 15. Hector Moreno, 18. Juan Fuentes; 4. Victor Sanchez (Abraham), 14. David Lopez; 10. Pizzi (7. Thievy), 8. Christian Stuani, 20. Simao (Manuel Lanzarote); 9. Sergio Garcia

BET 13. Guillermo Sara; 2. Javier Chica, 25. Jordi Figueras, 4. Antonio Amaya, 23. Nacho (11. Juanfran); 6. Xavi Torres, 20. Nosa Igiebor; 22. Cedrick Mabwati, 10. Joan Verdu, 17. Juan Carlos (5. Javier Matilla); 19. Jorge Molina (Braian Rodriguez)

Aug 9 '13

140 words: Helder Postiga

Helder Postiga’s got a pretty bad rep, and we aren’t about to sit here and argue that it’s unjust. After all, he’s now 31 and has only managed to hit double figures four times in a league season.

He was labelled a flop after a calamitous spell at Tottenham but has managed to stick around since, not quite like a bad smell, and has now earned himself a move to Valencia.

Last season was his most prolific - 14 in 36 starts for a relegated Real Zaragoza side - and it’s not out of the question that he’ll do well for Los Che. His record for Portugal - 26 in 61 caps - is pretty good too, and he adds experience and variety to the Valencia attack.

Roberto Soldado he is not, but then he is a fraction of the price. Pros and cons. Mirolslav Djukic performed admirably at Real Valladolid and is he wants Postiga, then futbolgrande will back Postiga to do OK at Mestalla.

Aug 8 '13

140 words: Joan Verdu

We’ve got a crush and it never goes out. His name? Joan Verdu.

The talented creative midfielder has an explosive amount of technique and Espanyol may have been close to suicide when they realised he wasn’t going to renew his contract this summer, instead heading south to sign for Real Betis.

He’s picked up the No. 10 shirt at the Benito Villamarin and it’s unfair to suggest he’s a replacement for any of their departed midfielders (Beñat, we’re talking about you). He’s too different.

Pepe Mel’s men have been pressing high on their tour of England, winning the ball in the opposition’s half and allowing Verdu to dictate and play when they gain possession.

The La Masia product, who is now 30, seems perfect to play this role in Mel’s system. Good on the ball, his intricate passing and busy nature should make him Betis’ stand out performer in La Liga and the Europa League this season.

Aug 5 '13

140 words: Raul Baena

With Javi Fuego departed to Valencia, Raul Baenas presence in the heart of Rayo Vallecanos midfield will hopefully fill the fairly large gap.

The 24-year-old joined the club this summer from Espanyol, in a move much less controversial move than the one that saw him leave Barcelona for their city rivals when he was 14.

Espanyol paid 30,000 compensation for the teenager back then, but it wasnt settled until this year that Barca would not receive the 3.5 million they were demanding  the 10 year deal theyd made his parents sign didnt hold up.

Rayo are gaining a defensive midfielder who Espanyol were reluctant to lose, but first team football forced Baenas hand. Hes a tough tackling player, who reads play well leading to breaking up lots of attacks in front of his back four.

Like so many before him, Vallecas could prove his platform to a bigger move next summer.

Jul 24 '13

140 words: Ander Herrera

Every time we see Ander Herrera we want to give him a little cuddle. Partly because he’s such a talented footballer, but mainly because he’s got a cute little 23-year-old baby face.

Athletic Bilbao’s deep-lying midfielder is a feisty one, although he can also be pretty poetic on the ball. Last season he made 89 fouls in 22 league appearances, picking up 10 yellow cards, but he was also the orchestrator of most of his side’s moves.

Get the ball, give it, get it back, spray it.

He’s taller than his slight physique suggests (6’0”) and, alongside Beñat Etxebarria, he could find himself involved in one of next season’s great double acts. Think of ‘The Two Ronnies’ but good at ballin’.

If his trajectory continues, while Iker Muniain is stalling, he could be the next big money departure from the NEW San Mames (if it’s ever finished).

Jul 23 '13

A new season, a new era…

We’re more than aware that this website has grown stale over the last 12 months, it nags us every night as we go to sleep.

Since we launched though, the internet has gone crazy for football. From Athletic Bilbao and Borussia Dortmund through to the Copa Libertadores we seemingly can’t get enough of the beautiful game. Our thirst for information knows no bounds and it has led to the term ‘football hipsters’ - although that’s not a word we’ll be using again.

Anyway, we’ve digressed. The point is, there are countless Twitter accounts and websites that will tell you that Osasuna have taken the lead at Levante, Neymar’s had a hair cut and Real Valladolid have a healthy (Daily Star linked) interest in Burnley’s Charlie Austin. They’re not all strictly true.

So what we’re going to do is focus on La Liga’s personalties. With short - hopefully informative and quippy - 140 word reports on the people that make you love La Liga. 

The first one will be dropping any day now. Hopefully we’ll keep the bargain we’ve made with ourselves to keep the site updated too…

Jul 23 '13

afootballreport:

Keep fighting, Tito

FC Barcelona have confirmed the unbearable news that their manager Tito Vilanova must take a leave of absence and continue his fight against cancer after a relapse. It’s a sad day for football, and as the battle goes on, we’re all behind you, Tito. [Art by Luke. GIFs via. Posted by Eric]

May 13 '13

Let’s play what if…

If Manuel Pellegrini had taken an English side who had only made it into the Premier League in 1998 - then dropped down, before being promoted again - to the semi-finals of the Champions League, how would he be viewed?

If he then took that same side to a second placed finished in the Premier League, his CV would be looking good.

Then he gets the gig at Manchester United, but David Gill is selling players without his permission and using a paper to tar his name, all because he wasn’t appointed under his watch.

Despite this, Pellegrini leads United to 96 points, but misses out on the title to an brilliant [insert team here] side. Admittedly we know this United side possessed over £200 million worth of talent, but that’s not always the recipe for success is it?

Of course, Man Utd ‘flopped’ in the Champions League too, knocked out to a far from rubbish Lyon side after progressing from the groups. They were also knocked out of the cup to Burnley, but didn’t feature their strongest side, and we all know how cup exits can be diluted in England with the “reserve side” arguement. Even when it’s not actually a reserve side.

Dismissed from Old Trafford, he takes over at a club like, say QPR, and thanks to a bit of money thrown at it, takes them to the Champions League. But then, we all know how easy that is - just look at QPR.

Except when they get to the promised land, QPR’s owners decide they’re not interested and start flogging players. Despite this, Pellegrini takes them to the quartefinals of the European Cup and narrowly misses out courtesy of a last minute goal against Borussia Dortmund.

Despite a small squad, a handful of loanees and a European run, Pellegrini maintains QPR’s league form. They occupy the top four for most of the season and never drop out of the top six -it’s only when they exit Europe that they start feeling sorry for themselves and tiredness catches up with them.

But God forbid this could be a realistic story.

Thanks to Martin Samuel’s outstanding research we know it’s unlikely Pellegrini could ever do what Roberto Martinez’s has down with Wigan - winning the FA Cup but it looks like one relegation battle too many.

He couldn’t even emulate Alan Pardew at Newcastle, or Alan Curbishley at Charlton all those years ago.

Apr 13 '13
Mexican radio sat in front of us at Cornella-El Prat for Espanyol vs. Valencia, except they’ve got their own angle on the game…

Presenting Hector Moreno vs. Andres Guardado!

Mexican radio sat in front of us at Cornella-El Prat for Espanyol vs. Valencia, except they’ve got their own angle on the game…

Presenting Hector Moreno vs. Andres Guardado!

Mar 27 '13

will the deep-rooted problems in spanish football boil over?

Lighting up La Ciudad del Futbol in Las Rozas - a municipality near Madrid and the home of the RFEF - are two European Championships, one World Cup and countless trophies from under-age successes. Domestically there’s the small matter of Real Madrid and Barcelona too, the two teams who were pretty much solely responsible for FIFA’s team of the year and who’s regular meetings - known as El Clasico - regularly draw millions of viewers worldwide.

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