Morbo Minute–Further Twists and Turns

Games are coming thick and fast.  As I wrap up this post, I am checking Tuesday results, with more games on Wednesday and Thursday.

The narrative of the league continues to provide drama and excitement as Malaga have climbed to third; the race for European places remains a toss up; and Real Madrid drew again, further giving FCB hope to win their fourth straight title.  At the bottom, Gjion’s shame spiral continues, with Racing right there with them. Zaragoza gave everything against the champions but lost.

Between Easter weekend and work, I didn’t get to as much as I would, but here is some stuff I found. . .

Graham Hunter looked at some of the obstacles—Pique’s possible injury, Messi dependence, and lack of sharpness—facing the Blaugrana as they attempt to retain the European Cup.  Plus he praised Real Madrid for thrashing Osasuna away in Round 30, with special remarks given to Benzema, who is hitting top gear.  Finally, he gave a little plug for Valverde, formerly coach of Athletic and Espanyol, as a possible Pep replacement.

Sid Lowe told the wonderful tale of Sandoval, the manager at Rayo Vallecano, who, despite taking the back to first division, despite taking a pay cut, despite working with very little resources, despite keeping them away from relegation, was asked to give his bonus back from last season because the new administration did not want to honor agreements of the previous regime.  Fascinating story, including a possible Japanese strike by the manager and squad.  Don’t know what a Japanese strike is?  Read and find out.

Phil Ball returned after an unanticipated week off to look at the stories at the top and bottom of La Liga, with FCB trying to hunt down Real Madrid, Levante fighting to keep the dream alive one more week, and Zaragoza attempting one of the greatest escapes ever.

Kxevin at Barcelona Football Blog praised both sides in Barcelona’s 4-1 over Zaragoza, focusing his comments on Valdes, Sanchez, Busquets and Messi.  Who knows if Barca will catch Real Madrid? But efforts like this one give them every chance.

Madridista Mac at Real Madrid Football Blog summed up the pulsating 0-0 draw against Valencia with four words: Disappontment, Defense, Perspective and Poise.  An energetic but unlucky performance did not result in any goals, partly due to Valencia’s tactics and partly due to their goalkeeper, but Mac sees this squad having the tools to finish the job as the big day approaches.

Articles

Kwame Agyemang wrote a guest post for SpanishFootball.info looking at how La Liga is followed in Africa.  Kwame argues that the EPL dominates La Liga for two reasons: more competitive fixtures league wide as opposed to the success of the Big Two, and the influx of African players into England, which gives African fans a rooting interest in teams.

Javier turned his statistical eye towards the goalkeepers of La Liga, finding that many teams are using multiple keepers in an attempt to find success.  Veteran Palop has replaced first half star Varas at Sevilla and has an impressive save percentage.

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