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one. Real Sociedad end Barca’s unbeaten season.
We should have seen it coming. Anoeta has hardly been the happiest of places for Barca to visit in recent years, and on Saturday night that again proved the case. Familiar circumstances dominated the early exchanges, first Messi and then Pedro putting La Blaugrana 2-0 up. Game over? No. Just before half time Chory Castro pulled one back, then in the second half Pique saw red for two (silly but deserved) yellow cards. Castro soon added his second and then in stoppage time Imanol Agirretxe nicked it for La Real - who were very good. It’s the first time Barca have surrendered a 2-0 lead to lose since they lost 4-3 to Atletico in March 2009.
Before anyone shouts at us, this list doesn’t necessarily feature each clubs’s statistically best player.
In some cases it may, but in other cases it may recognise an unexpected contribution of a player to their club, or a player exceeding all expectations.
So take your mind off the Christmas gap in La Liga by reminiscing on some of our top performers from the first half of the season…
Whether this is a valid excuse or not, we have been very busy recently. Due to this busy-ness here is an abridged version of ‘five things from…’
Who knows, you’ll probably prefer it.
one. Beñat y brilliant Betis beat Los Blancos. Jose Mourinho is surely sick of the sight of Seville. Having already fallen to Sevilla earlier in the season it was Betis’ turn on Saturday tonight. Their main man Benat scored the only goal in the first half as they put last weekend’s derby defeat behind them. Most worryingly perhaps was how pedestrian Madrid were in chasing the game. That and also the fact Cristiano Ronaldo now has scored just one in six.
one. Unlikely sources seal Seville derby. Sevilla’s need was perhaps greater; out of the traps like you would not believe- goal scorers which you might not believe too. Reyes and Fazio, a forward and a centre half who have struggled to regularly start this season had helped themselves to two goals each by half time. Ruben Castro pegged one back after Ruben Perez had seen red for Pepe Mel’s side, but Ivan Rakitic ensured a four goal margin would be recorded in the history books.
The La Liga weekend is once again upon us mere mortals, and there are some tasty treats to look forward to. It’s been branded the fiercest derby in Spain because of the competitive balance it presents; it’s Sevilla v Real Betis tomorrow night. Before that Barca and Real Madrid host Zaragoza and Athletic Club while two out of form sides- Celta Vigo and Mallorca- meet in Galicia. Here is our treble:
The Copa del Rey was this week’s distraction, but never fear La Liga is back this weekend. Barca and Madrid both have winnable home games while Atleti have a tricky tie at Valencia. Athletic are desperate for a win, they travel to Granada and on Monday night Pepe Mel takes charge of his one hundredth Real Betis match. Here’s our treble…
one. Anything you can do, we will equal. Barcelona moved first. They moved emphatically. Away at Rayo Vallecano they predictably ran riot. Their 5-0 win included two more assists for the league’s top provider Cesc Fabregas. It also included two more goals for Pichichi front runner Leo Messi. Real Madrid moved the following night at Mallorca- a game that a month ago would have looked like a tricky one. It wasn’t. Two for Ronaldo and two for Higuain were added to by Jose Callejon as a dominant trend from recent seasons reappeared.
After the international lull we’re back into La Liga action. Do you know what that means? It means we are back with another flutter. A futbolgrande flutter.
one: a day late and with light Madrid win away. The fact Real managed their first points on the road this season is almost surplus to the story. On Sunday night, when the game was supposed to be played, it is alleged that Rayo fans cut the wires to the floodlights. What followed was a mess, lots of this, lots of that and eventually no football. Fans hung about hoping for a game but nada. The home supporters are angry at their president and his greedy ‘Dias del Club’ where season ticket holders pay additional charges for the bigger teams visits. Anyway, it was played on Monday night and Benzema and Ronaldo made sure of a 2-0 win in Vallecas for Mourinho.
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