Valencia vs Barcelona La Liga preview

Valencia vs Barcelona Preview: Tough test for Messi and co.

After what can only be called the Lionel Messi show on Wednesday night at Wembley, Ernesto Valverde’s team travel from London to Valencia as a stiff test awaits them in La Liga.

They made it six points out of six to start off their Champions League campaign with Lionel Messi running the show for them, but will they be able to turn it around and pick up a victory in the Spanish championship?

While Valencia drew 0-0 in their Champions League encounter against Manchester United, they’re at least able to say they recently won a match in La Liga as they defeated Real Sociedad 1-0 last Saturday.

For FC Barcelona, they have gone win-less in their last three matches with their last victory, ironically enough, also coming away from home in a 2-1 win against Real Sociedad. Since that game, they have drawn twice and lost once, with the defeat coming against bottom of the table Leganes. However, coach Valverde finally appeared to have got the starting eleven correct against Tottenham. Read More

Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid La Liga Preview

Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid: Can Los Blancos bounce back?

After the first five games of this season an increasingly bullish mood had seemingly taken hold at Real Madrid as they began to believe they were successfully emerging in to the post-Ronaldo era. But that all dissolved over 90 traumatic minutes on Wednesday night as they were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Sevilla.

Real had managed to largely banish talk about their former number seven with four wins and a draw, which had left them sitting at the summit of La Liga level on points with Barcelona. But on closer inspection, Real had benefited from an accommodating fixture list that presented them with the modest opposition of Getafe, Girona, Leganes, Athletic Bilbao and Espanyol.

And as soon as they faced a credible opponent in fourth-placed Sevilla they looked bereft of ideas and were overwhelmed in the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Real will only be able to truly declare they have moved on from Ronaldo’s reign when they have negotiated their way past stronger opposition, and they will get another chance when they face city rivals Atletico at the Bernabeu on Saturday evening. Read More

Real Madrid vs Espanyol La Liga Preview

Real Madrid vs Espanyol Preview: Everybody forgets Cris

The day after Real Madrid crushed Roma in their Champions League debut, some newspapers have written dull headlines mentioning Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence. Well, amigos, just like Elsa sings in “Frozen”, it is time to let it go.

An idol will always be an idol, that’s for sure. But, collectively, Julen Lopetegui’s Real Madrid grows bolder and stronger than most of its version in recent years under Ronaldo’s baton and Zidane’s management. There is no key player now – at least, none comparable with the Portuguese in imposing fear, thus diminishing the certainty of triumphs. But there is more fluidity within the game where only sparks and individualities were expected. In the end, they shot 30 times on goal, with 11 of those on target to Olsen’s net.

Against a strong, but humane Roma, Luka Modric conducted Madrid’s victory as he’d had all his colleagues connected under GPS. The Croatian wizard played at Santiago Bernabéu as someone who wants to justify a World Cup Golden Ball that was disputable, to say the least. His engineering of passing and articulating Madrid’s offensive moves promises a new era when combined to Bale’s Boltian speed and Asensio’s humiliating skills. Read More

Athletic Bilbao vs Real Madrid

Athletic Bilbao vs Real Madrid Preview: Should this be the Case?

Right after the international break, coach Julen Lopetegui will not only have a tough match, but a tough decision to make. Against Athletic in Bilbao, should he spare Casemiro, his pressing machine, from his third match in eight days, as he played for Brazil in two friendlies in the US?

That could be a good option in order to have a solid Real Madrid XI against Roma, for the first group stage match in the Champions League. But falling twice in a year against a bitter rival at San Mamés stadium is too expensive a cost.

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Real Madrid vs Leganés

Real Madrid vs Leganés Preview: Should Marcelo evolve to left wing?

Two La Liga matches are past, and Real Madrid’s concerns are all about how long Julen Lopetegui’s independence will last. The new coach played an unimaginable XI against Girona at Montilivi stadium, giving a game to keeper Keylor Navas, Nacho and Marco Asensio, while Thibaut Courtois, Raphaël Varane and Luka Modric – respectively the World Cup’s best goalkeeper, best defender and best player – were sat on the bench. And let us not forget Vinicius Junior’s debut for Castilla, Real Madrid’s second squad, in the Third Division. This was surely not president Florentino Perez’s dreams coming true?

And definitely not Marcelo’s, as the Brazilian ace once again failed to give solidity to his flank. On his back, 18-year-old Pedro Porro found the avenue he wanted to show speed and skills. On his side Girona found their only goal, when Lozano centered to Borja García, and that raises a question: should Marcelo be kept as left full-back? Or does he need more time to recover from this troubled World Cup calendar? Read More

Real Madrid vs Getafe preview

Real Madrid vs Getafe Preview: The Pursuit of Happiness without Rockstars

Real Madrid is about dominance and rockstars. Such an ambitious side, the first to rule Europe three times in a row in the Champions League era, they may look at this season not only with lower expectations, but also with despair: never have they felt so rejected.

Cristiano Ronaldo is gone, Zidane said farewell out of the blue and the remaining players, however brilliant, are not so triumph-assuring. Unfulfilled promises of the transfer window, Neymar and Hazard, haven’t shown up and now everything seems to be falling apart for the Spanish superpower, who ended up third place in the last La Liga season.

A disappointing campaign, which allowed a 17-point abyss behind the post-Neymar Barcelona still hurts the white hearts. They will face the humble Getafe on Sunday with a team that has been just made to look very inferior by Atlético Madrid in the Uefa Supercup.

Nevertheless, it should never mean a full reconstruction. A glimpse in the squad tells us that Real Madrid is still strong in the defensive line: Carvajal, Ramos, Varane and Marcelo are a well balanced rearguard, reinforced by Casemiro’s patrolling. Kroos and Modric, MVP of the World Cup, are midfield household names and Isco is a stunning young player yet to develop his full splendor. Read More

Barcelona vs Deportivo Alaves Preview

Barcelona vs. Deportivo Alaves Preview: Will the champions’ new men feature?

FC Barcelona open their 2018-2019 La Liga campaign against a Deportivo Alaves side which finished in 14th position last season and go into the first match day as massive underdogs.

Lots of changes occurred during the summer for last season’s champions, not least being the departure of Andres Iniesta to China. The exit of the legendary number 8 left a big hole in midfield which will hopefully be covered by the new players brought in during the break. The captain’s armband now belongs to Lionel Messi meaning this is now his team and it’s not a bad supporting cast by his side.

World Cup winner Ousmane Dembele scored the winning goal in the Spanish Super Cup against Sevilla and that should definitely boost his confidence even more after lifting football’s greatest prize with his country. Coutinho finally had a pre-season with the Catalan club and new signings Arthur, Malcom, Lenglet and Arturo Vidal will bring some much needed depth to the team. Read More