Posts Tagged ‘ Forza Futbol ’

Morbo Minute–Levante LeapFrog the Big Two

See what I did there?

What a weekend.  Although I didn’t see as much as I would have liked, between highlights and match reports, you would almost think there was healthy competition in the league instead of the doom and gloom that has been going on for the last year and a half (Scotland 2.0, Two Table League, why are they even playing these matches, etc.)

Sid Lowe put Sevilla goalkeeper Javi Vargas in the spotlight after his heroic performance against FCB in a 0-0 draw.  A late bloomer, playing only his 49th league match at the age of 29.  Never give up I suppose.

La Liga Loca made a note that Espanyol notched their second straight victory, which has got them climbing up the table (8th before the midweek matches).  He also mentioned that the Racing Santander owner is being investigated by Interpol, which raised my eyebrows.  Interpol started the inquiry of Ahsan Ali Syed following complaints of alleged financial cheating and breach of promise in various deals made through his firm Western Gulf Advisory.  Yikes.

Phil Ball moved from his discussion of the media punta last week to the technically adept center backs like Mascherano, Pique and Sergio Ramos (when he plays there for Real Madrid), and how this position is reshaping the Spanish game.  As he went to the drab draw between Real Sociedad and Getafe, there wasn’t much else to talk about.

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As for the Big Two . . .

Madridista Mac reviewed Real Madrid’s imperious performance against the nouveau riche club of Malaga.  Mourinho slightly changed the tactics of Los Merengues, with his squad passing more on the counter instead of depending on CR7’s pace and moving the line very high up the pitch to nullify Joaquin and Cazorla.  The result was 45 minutes of incisive, razor sharp attacking which netted four goals.  Real Madrid are now in second with el clasico only about 45 days away.

As for FC Barcelona, I read the reviews at Total Barca and Barca Offside.  I don’t understand the 3-4-3 with Adriano on the wing.  Seems like they beat Villarreal with it and it became the new thing, yet whenever they use it now, they struggle and have to revert to the 4-3-3 (Valencia and Sevilla as examples).  Pep is always trying to find permutations so that the squad does not become stale or predictable, so if they are not going to alter their system for anyone, then see it out and do it.  Some of it is based on injuries, but with Mascherano stepping up as a center back, they can run a 4-3-3 and get it done.  Again, it comes down to the finishing.  I’m gathering stats, but basically FCB has 70-75% of the possession but have been hit and miss in terms of goals.  If a goalkeeper is hot in the case of the Sevilla, then what do they do?    Messi has scored a ton of goals, but he has off days and I really feel that Villa should be scoring more.  He wastes a lot of chances, when he is not offside.

I watched Barca control the game against Granada Tuesday afternoon, and if not for a stunning Xavi free kick, the Blaugrana would have gone scoreless for the second straight match, and that was against a relegation candidate with only 10 men for half an hour.  As for their eternal rival, they play Villarreal Wednesday afternoon, then a couple more patsies.  After the international break, their schedule goes Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Gijon, Barca, Sevilla.   That will tell us a little more about Los Blancos and where the title might end up.

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Standings after 8 matches:

  P W D L GD PTS
Levante 8 6 2 0 11 20
Real Madrid 8 6 1 1 22 19
Barcelona 8 5 3 0 22 18
Sevilla 8 4 4 0 4 16
Valencia 8 4 3 1 3 15
Málaga 8 4 1 3 -1 13
Betis 8 4 0 4 -3 12
Espanyol 8 4 0 4 -4 12
Atlético 8 2 4 2 2 10
Osasuna 8 2 4 2 -6 10
Athletic 8 2 3 3 0 9
Mallorca 8 2 3 3 -2 9
Rayo 8 2 3 3 -3 9
R Zaragoza 8 2 3 3 -7 9
R Sociedad 8 2 2 4 -3 8
Villarreal 8 1 4 3 -7 7
Getafe 8 1 3 4 -4 6
Granada 8 1 2 5 -8 5
Sporting 8 1 1 6 -7 4
Racing 8 0 4 4 -9 4

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In other news . . .

Alex Grant at El Centrocampista took a look at the average ages of the top three, which made for some interesting reading.

  • Levante:  30.63 (including a defensive line of Ballasteros, Juanfran, Javi Venta and Nano, who are all above 30)
  • Real Madrid: 25.27 (Mourinho’s emphasis on quick, counter attacking football has seen an influx of youth and pace into the Bernabeu.)
  • Barcelona:  26.45

I came across this little tidbit at adifferentliga.  As one of the editors of VillarrealUSA posted: Garrido did not force Santi Cazorla to leave, place us in the Group of Death, and ask our best players to disappear. I have plenty of disagreements with Garrido, but hardly anyone is on form right now. Look in the mirror, boys.

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Podcasts

Graham Hunter was on Off the Ball last Thursday and talked about the fitness of Iniesta and Puyol at FCB.  He had some interesting comments as these influential players try to stay on the pitch and off the training table.

Fernando Palomo of ESPN Deportes was on ForzaFutbol to discuss his path in the media industry, which was fascinating.  Then they moved on to discuss La Liga and how to fix the league, a constant topic this season.  Again, even TV money distribution was discussed as well as announcing the match schedule farther in advance.  As for the Big Two, Palomo made this comment: FCB games are better, bordering on art, but Real Madrid games are more entertaining, which I thought was kind of interesting.  The tiki taka of FCB is amazing but can alternate between boring as they crush an opponent with a hat full of goals or frustrating as the goals will not come no matter how much possession they have.

Sid Lowe was on Beyond the Pitch.  He covered a lot of ground as usual:

  • There is still fallout from the Laudrup leaving Real Mallorca.
  • Villarreal and their emotional state.
  •          Can they pick themselves up after a devastating loss to Manchester City?
  •          Can they hold on to players in the next two transfer windows?
  • TV money and eroding fan support were discussed.  This, coupled with the impending financial crisis in Europe, means the next one to three years could be dicey for La Liga in terms of revenue.
  • Bielsea’s progress at Athletic Bilbao was brought up.
  • The competition between Ozil and Kaka at Real Madrid was talked about.

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Isaiah from Barcelona Football Blog posted on the soccernet.com blog about the problems facing La Liga, in particular the beatings some of the teams have taken at the hands of FCB and Real Madrid.  A couple of weeks ago, I asked the same question on my blog about Barcelona in particular.  For the Racing/FCB game, I didn’t even make an effort to watch the game live or on replay. Instead I waited for Levante v Malaga on Sunday for my La Liga game that weekend.

The only reason to watch Racing/FCB match was that it was after an international break, where the Blaugrana usually struggle. Unless FCB are playing a real team (Real Madrid, or Valencia (best game of season so far) or Villarreal, who are down this year) or a supposed pretender (Malaga or Levante possibly) then the result is almost assured.

As for the league in general, there are compelling games, you just have to hunt them down—Basque derby, Valencian derbies, relegation battles (already).  If you want to watch Real Madrid or FCB, watch them in the Champions League; then you will see them tested (sometimes).

Of course, as soon as I say this, they struggle away to Gijon and then Sevilla go to the Nou Camp and get a draw, Barcelona’s third of the season.  The problem for the champions this season is turning their dominance into goals.  They routinely have 65 to 75% but they have only turned this into thrashings 4 times out of their 8 matches thus far.  When FCB and Real Madrid hit the high notes, the gap is evident and marked, but so far this season, teams that are organized, fit and a little bit lucky can get something from Pep’s Team.  Just something to think about.

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OK.  Think that’s enough.  Enjoy the midweek games, then a full slate on the weekend, highlighted by, well just watch the games.  Maybe a slumping Malaga against a rising Espanyol on Sunday might make for compelling television.

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Morbo Minute–The Day of the Frogs

A couple of Spanish National Team notes from the international break. . .

Sid Lowe took a look at Spain, examining the team selection for the recent internationals and forecasts what the team might look at next summer in Poland and Ukraine. La Furia Roja will need to sort out these areas: left back (Jordi Alba), a backup center back (several possibilities), and one more striker (Negredo, Soldado, or Torres).

@LaLigaLoca focused on David Silva’s reintegration into the squad.

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As for the league, Olly Dawes (@OllyDawes) examined Espanyol’s slow start to this season going into this round of matches.  This is almost the exact opposite to their fantastic start to the last campaign.  Los Periquitos slumped after returning from the winter break, only winning 6 of their 22 matches (6W 3D 13L) and finishing 8th.  This year they have started with six points from their first six matches and are mired in 15th.  Not good.  Note: Espanyol picked up three vital points against Rayo Vallecano.

Higuaín and Messi continue to score at will, which @LaLigaLoca led his Good Day, Bad Day off with.  Neither struggled after the international break, with Real Madrid and Barcelona consolidating their spots at the top of the table, as Valencia and Real Betis slipping again.  Levante continue to be the surprise package, as Sid Lowe put into context: player wages, average age of the squad and historical success of the club.  Phil Ball went the other way in the top of the table clash against Malaga, mentioning the inconsistencies of the Malaga Project before moving on to talking about David Villa and the rise of the media punta or false #9 in La Liga and La Furia Roja and beyond.

The round featured another candidate for goal of the season, as Helder Postiga pulled of this for Zaragoza against Real Sociedad.

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Sunday afternoon, I watched Levante v Malaga.  Going into the match Levante (their nickename is Granotes meaning Frogs) was joint top of the table (behind FCB on goal difference) and Malaga was fourth.  For Malaga this was expected as their project continues to take shape, but for Levante, who barely survived last year (only winning three of their last nine matches), these are heady times.  Back from the international break, Levante was close to full strength, with Xavi Torres’ (his transfer from Malaga contained a clause that meant Levante would have to pay if the midfielder played against his former club) replaced by Francisco Farinos.  For Malaga, they were without Julio Baptista (injured in a friendly against Real Jaen during the international break).

Both teams started with lone strikers with Malaga very fluid behind Ruud van Nistelrooy.  Carzola was pulling the strings with Isco and Joaquin switching flanks, Maresca picking up the ball from the back, and Toulalan sitting in between the center backs a la FCB.  Monreal made his first start of the season, his chance at making the national team slipping away with every good Jose Enrique performance.

The first half was full of incident. Malaga had tons of possession in the first half, but were not dangerous in the final third.  Levante seemed content to keep Malaga at arms length and counter if possible, which paid off after 13’ as Juanlu got to the byline to square for Barkero, who made no mistake. Malaga continued to knock the ball around without any real threat.  Then on 27’, a long ball got Kone in on goal, which Willy (his given name is Wilfredo Caballero) came out to meet but he used his hands, received a second yellow and was sent off.  The resulting free kick trickled through the wall and Juanlu was first to react, poking it past Ruben (Maresca was sacrificed) who came on in goal.    Ruben had a rough 15’, totally misplaying Valdo in the corner, which was saved off the line, and then making a complete hash of a ball over the top, which Kone walked in.  Halftime couldn’t come soon enough for Malaga, down a man and down 3-0.

Pellegrini made two subs at half time, Rondon for van Nistelrooy and Seba Fernández for Cazorla.  Once I saw those, I knew the Chilean was laying down and getting ready for next week.  Rondon was a little more active and Isco seemed to get on the ball more with Santi out but again no cutting edge.  Levante were content to let Malaga knock the ball around and hit the visitors on the break.  They had a few chances but nothing too dangerous.  The last 20 minutes or so became a series of individual dribbling contests as the fight of the game was gone.

A fantastic result for Levante, who are away to Villarreal next week.  With the Yellow Submarine out of sorts this could be a chance for one or all three points to help the Frogs’ cause.  As for Malaga, it doesn’t get any better because they host Real Madrid in the next round, and with Los Merengues firing in the goals (and Ruben looking terrible between the sticks), this could be a rough one.

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Mando (@espanyolusa) at Forza Football shot off a quick rant about the state of fan support in La Liga.  He gave some troubling stats and some legitimate points about the future of the league–ticket prices, start times, financial disparity.  Again, this is the issue that’s not going away.

Finally SpanishFootball.info (@espanafutbol) had Tim Vickery (@Tim_Vickery) on their latest podcast. Jaime McGregor and Vickery covered a lot of ground, starting with Neymar’s possible (ie eventual) transfer to Europe.  There was a real chance of him joining Chelsea but now Real Madrid look to be the favorites, although it probably won’t happen until 2012 or 2013 due to Santos’ participation in the World Club Championship and the upcoming Olympics.  As for Santos’ chances against FCB in December (assuming they both qualify for the final), Vickery feels that, unlike previous finals, the South Americans will be able to go toe to toe with the Europeans, as Santos has kept Elano, Ganso, and Neymar for the time being.

There are many South Americans in Spain—Rondon, Montero, Gago, Banega to name a few.  Vickery told listeners to keep an eye out for Edwin Cardona (’92) from Colombia (midfielder playing with Atleticon Nacional), Rui Dias from Peru and Bryan Carrasco (’91) from Chile (outside back or winger playing for Audax Italiano).  Marcelo Bielsa to Athletic Bilbao was also mentioned.  Vickery worries that it may not be the right move due to Los Leones lack of attacking options and resources.  The movement of South Americans to Europe led to a discussion of Riquleme’s transfer to Barcelona at the beginning of the century.  Vickery said it was the right time but the wrong club as Riquleme didn’t really fit in with the Blaugrana of van Gaal.

The guys also discussed players’ roles on their national teams.  Dani Alves plays a different role on the Brazilian team, and there is a lot of competition at both outside back spots, with Marcelo probably on the outside looking in.  There is also the disconnect between Messi’s play with Barcelona and Argentina.  With Argentina there is no system and similar personnel so it is no wonder that he can’t replicate the same sort of performances.  Vickery mentioned that because of the rise of club football, it may not be necessary for Messi to win the World Cup to be considered one of the all time greats.  Finally, Mascherano was discussed, due to his use at FCB as a center back.  While this works for the Blaugrana, his lack of height would be exposed at the international level.

All in all, very entertaining and informative, as always with the Vickipedia is on any show.

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Fixtures this weekend:

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2011

12:00 ET           Racing Santander          v           Espanyol                       El Sardinero

12:00 ET           Sporting Gijon               v           Granada                        El Molinón

2:00 ET             Málaga                         v           Real Madrid                   La Rosaleda      ESPN3

4:00 ET            Barcelona                     v           Sevilla FC                      Camp Nou         GOL TV

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2011

10:00 ET           Real Sociedad   v          Getafe               Anoeta            ESPN3

11:00 ET           Sporting Gijon    v         Granada

12:00 ET           Atlético Madrid  v          Mallorca                        Vicente Calderón           ESPN3

12:00 ET           Osasuna           v          Real Zaragoza               Reyno de Navarra

2:00 ET            Valencia            v          Athletic Bilbao               Mestalla                        GOL TV

4:00 ET             Villarreal            v          Levante             El Madrigal                                GOL TV

6:00 ET             Real Betis         v          Rayo Vallecano             Benito Villamarín

Find a bar stool or set your DVR or both.  Lots of quality matches this weekend, with the US TV audience having a chance to catch most of them.

Morbo Minute–Back to the Clubs for Round 8

This international break came at a bad time if you were Levante, Malaga and Atheltic Bilbao.  Levante are top of the table (only behind FCB on Goal Differential); Malaga have climbed to fourth, securing three points against Getafe with an amazing goal from Julio Baptista; and Los Leones completed a great week, drawing with Villarreal, defeating PSG in the Europa League and winning the Basque Derby 2-1.

If you were Real Betis or Villarreal, you welcomed the break.  Betis lost two in a row after winning their opening four and, with Real Madrid on Saturday, things are not looking better.  Villarreal are in a shame spiral.  The draw to Bilbao mentioned before, then another loss in the Champions League, plus a draw with Real Zaragoza.  The Yellow Submarine have Getafe on Saturday and need three points to get their campaign back on track.

Not sure how many games I’ll get to this weekend, but here are ones of interest to me:

10/15

12:00 ET Real Madrid v Real Betis

10/16

12:00 ET Levante v Málaga  (not on Gol TV or ESPN3; may have to scour the interweb for a decent feed).

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With no league play, http://elcentrocampista.com/ did a couple of legends feature:

Edmundo Suárez, who played for Valencia in late 30’s and 40’s.

Jordi Cruyff, who played and coached at FC Barcelona. Video is light on highlights but high on emotion.

Zinedine Zidane, who finished his wonderful career at Real Madrid.  The video quality isn’t that great but you get the idea.

They also added Ronaldo and Zubizarreta.

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I am a little behind on my podcasts, but Forza Futbol had Natalia (@arkulari) on to discuss the Basque Derby, Athletic Bilbao, and the U-20 Tournament in Colombia from this summer.  Great stuff as usual.

The guys at La Liga Weekly (@laligaweekly) discussed the league in general, while focusing on Real Madrid and FC Barcelona (how can you not?).

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Finally, one more shout to Forza Football who put together some graphs illustrating the gaps between the top six teams in the Europe’s top five leagues.  It took me several times through to get it, but basically the Big Two have really separated themselves from the rest of the league in the last couple of years.  Check it out.

Morbo Minute–Goal and Game of the Season?

An exciting two weeks in La Liga.  Real Betis has already risen and crashed; a manager has already lost his job; and FCB and Valencia may have already played the game of the season .

@OllyDawes from elcentrocampista.com gave his perspective on the resignation of Micahel Laudrup at Real Mallorca, while Forza Futbol had Christopher Hussein of Real Mallorca.CO.UK  on to discuss the situation at the club, including Laudrup leaving, the young players at the club, and the financial concerns.

Mohamed Moallim (@jouracule) revisited memorable clashes between Valencia and FCB.

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Didn’t see any European action but in the Champions League, Valencia got a home draw against Chelsea; Villarreal are all but out of the competition after a second loss at Napoli; FCB crushed BATE Borisov; and Real Madrid cruised past Ajax with an amazing team goal for the opener. As for Spanish teams in the Europa League, Bilbao made it two for two with a 2-0 win over PSG (including an acrobatic goal from Igor Gabilondo) and Atletico Madrid pegged back Rennes 1-1 to give them four points and leading the group on goal differential.

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After Round 7, I found some interesting articles from the usual sources.

Sid Lowe wrote a piece on the Basque Derby, which included this goal, and Bielsea’s revolution.

La Liga Loca notes that both Betis and Falcao are struggling after fantastic starts.

Phil Ball, fresh from a trip to Peru, chimed in with comments on Levante and Malaga.  He makes the comment, “It was odd to watch the Champions League live over late lunch.”  Welcome to the US TV schedule.  I still have not seen the Malaga Project and I MUST DO SO!!  RVN finally scored and Los Boquerones (The Anchovies) snatched the points from nothing with two goals in the dying minutes against Getafe.  In case you missed it, Forza Futbol had Phil Ball on for a chat.  Love his books and insights, and the gang had a great conversation with him.

@MadridistaMac summed up Real Madrid’s performance against Espanyol, who couldn’t help themselves by going forward and getting put to the sword.

Isaiah at barcelonafootballblog.com asked how do you like your boring in his comments on the the game against Gijon.  Besides a brief tactical breakdown, he also peeked into the future and how the injuries might play during the next couple of matches.

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Last and not least, Sam Hughes at elcentrocampista.com remembers Fernando Redondo.  What a player.  Total class.  Read this post and get on youtube.

That’s it for now.  Next up is the international break.  Will be interesting to see who Uncle Vicente rolls it in these meaningless games.  With a large Barca contingent out, it should give some others a look in as La Furia Roja prepares to defend their European title.

Morbo Minute–La Liga is not Rubbish

What a weekend in the Primera. Betis and Valencia lead the table, with Soldado doing everything he can to take Los Che to the top and get himself on the National Team; Atletico Madrid crushed an opponent, with their signings leading the charge; Real Madrid fell to Levante in ironic, crazy and suspicious circumstances; and I turned off the FCB game at halftime because I was bored with the 5-0 scoreline and their opponents were offering almost no resistance.

Sid Lowe focused on Levante’s shock win against the Evil Empire. Last week’s 2-2 draw between Real Sociedad and FCB sent shockwaves through the league (and fueled the myth that the league was competitive) but this was incredible. These are matches that I thought Real Madrid would win this year, providing the points that would send them to the title. Only three matches, so no reason to panic, but still.

Madridista Mac at Real Madrid Football Blog examined the events through white tinted glasses and came up with the domino effect, with one moment setting the stage for the ones that would follow.

Phil Ball shone the spotlight on the chasing pack, focusing on the great starts of Valencia and Betis. He also threw out a scenario of Torres returning to Atletico Madrid in January.

La Liga Loca’s Good Day, Bad Day is always an enjoyable read, keeping things light. He fears for Gijon as I do.

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This week sees midweek fixtures. Couple of quick thoughts. . .

The bubble has burst for Gijon. Zero points from three matches. Atletico Madrid is next. Not good.

Bilbao need a win. Victory in the Europa League was followed by a home defeat to Real Betis. Bielsea was swept in on the coattails of the Presidential Election, but how long can he survive? Malaga are next. Will need a least a draw to keep the fans at bay.

Villarreal need a win even more. Heavy losses to FCB and Bayern combined with a defeat to Granada at the hand of loanee forward Uche. Ouch. Mallorca, who are struggling as well, should provide a port in the storm of the Yellow Submarine.

I’m hoping to watch Valencia against FC Barcelona. Valencia can make an early statement, while FCB can truly shake off the crisis of last week.

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Couple of other things I came across over the last couple of days

El Centrocampista produced a couple articles that I liked.

Alex Grant wrote a piece about the Real Madrid Youth Products. Much has been made of how players from La Masia are making up this current FCB team. It’s not that Real doesn’t produce players, they are just following a galactico policy and their products are spread throughout the league rather than coming up to the first team.

David Smith reflected on the return of Real Betis to the top flight.

Found some odds and ends on Barcelona . . .

A new site I found called TotalBarca.com did a Where Are They Now post on the 1992 European Cup winning side.

I also visited LaLigaTalk.com for the first time in ages. They had a link to a Spanish show that compiled the 10 best Barcelona goals. They did not go ultra recent which was nice, but gave a nod to games over the last 40 years or so. Would have liked to see more team oriented goals though. Have to say Messi’s is tough to beat, with Ronaldo’s a close second.

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Finally La Liga is slowly joining the 21st century. They announced the three rounds of fixtures, with dates and times so that fans can schedule accordingly. While this should be good for me in the long run, right now it sucks because it just shows me which matches I’m going to miss, FCB v Atletico Madrid in particular on 9/24.

I’m taking a week off. One of my best friends is getting married on Saturday and I’m supposed to preach a sermon at church the following Thursday. Hope to be back in October.

Morbo Minute–La Liga is Rubbish

The big La Liga talking point during the International Break was the TV contract and the state of the league.  Sevilla President Del Nido held a summit of the other 18 top flight teams, with attendance being mixed.  Forza Futbol put together a roll call on their website.  Barca and Real Madrid have made some concessions but there is a sense that more is needed if the league as a whole to improve.  Every sight I visited gave some sort of opinion about the current state of the league, what they think of the non-powerful clubs and what might happen in the future.

Barcelona Football Blog commented that on the current TV $ brouhaha.  The author concedes that Del Nido is on to something and that the financing and competitiveness of the league needs to improve so that all benefit, even the Big Two.

Doctor Sid took a couple of views over the last 7 to 10 days.  Early in the International Week he looked at the possible crossroads ahead for the league and the Big Two.  It may come to point where a breakaway league may be the only option.

After all the hubbub of Round 2 and the possible mirage that the league isn’t just the Big Two, he tried to put things in perspective.

However, Phil Ball at Soccernet took a rather contrarian view to the shouts of equality.  He even criticized Barcelona’s playing style.  HERETIC!!!

As for the games . . .

Real Sociedad v FCB

Going into the weekend, Lee Roden at EL CENTROCAMPISTA wondered if FCB would use 3-4-3 again.    I watched a replay of the match knowing the result (2-2) but had to see it for myself.  FCB got two early goals, which were well constructed, but these papered over the cracks of turnovers, especially out of the back, and a lack of sharpness. Last season they did not step on the throat of their opponents, and this happened again, with the Blaugrana taking the foot off gas after getting off to the fast start.

In the second half, a great effort and intense pressure from Real Sociedad created the first goal, then a brainfart by Villa led to second.  From then on, Real Sociedad believed and gave Barcelona everything they could handle.  Even the introduction of Messi could not save the Blaugrana.  Strange game like the end of last year.  Barca in control up 1-0, then goal, then PK, down 2-1 and first loss in over 30 league games.  Very odd game.

@BarcaTheOffside posted shortly after the game: Barça have only won 7 of their last 22 Liga matches after international break. (via @2010MisterChip)  Ouch.

Just a quick note on Real Sociedad, didn’t see much of Griezmann but thought Xabi Prieto was lively.  Took players on and set up first goal.

Bassam at Real Madrid Football Blog wrote about the third striker Los Merengues still hasn’t been signed.  Doesn’t look like it matters as they recovered from a brief scare from Getafe to win 4-2.

I also watched the Valencia v Atletico Madrid replay.  I felt Valencia was grinding, not spectacular but solid.  Los Che had some moments with decent interplay and really getting the fullbacks involved, but it seems as if Soldado spurns a lot of chances to get his goals.

As for Atleti, they have a good base going forward.  They could use a little more width, but Adrian looked like quality. Los Colchoneros had few chances but the ones they had were quite dangerous.

Overall, a decent match with end to end action.  Thought the two sets of defenders were less than convincing.

Some odds and ends . . .

The gang at Forza Futbol broke down La Liga transfers in several ways.  Very interesting to see in the information graphically, plus who was doing most of the spending.

Sam Hughes at EL CENTROCAMPISTA shed some light on the legacy of Fred Pentland.  Great little history lesson.

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So this week is European action.  Check out my extensive and in-depth preview if you haven’t already.  Looking forward to matches this weekend, which I will again miss because I say yes instead of no.

Morbo Minute–Week 2=Week 1

As I mentioned in my previous Old Futbol Buffet post, I missed all of the matches on Saturday and Sunday. I didn’t even know Real Madrid had thrashed Real Zaragoza until Monday afternoon. I spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday gathering articles and reading blogs in an attempt to catch up. Here are some of the things that caught my attention.

Phil Ball reflected on the opening weekend of La Liga, which saw Valencia surprisingly score and ship goals, Atletico Madrid not surprisingly not score, and Real Madrid annihilate Zaragoza in a weekend of goals, goals, goals around Europe.

El Centrocampista took a look at FC Barcelona’s defensive permutations as they cope with injuries, suspensions and thinness at the position. In the game against Villarreal they opted for Abidal, Busquets and Mascherano in the back.  Barcelona Football Blog went all out in a two part tactical breakdown of Villarreal and FCB.  Really good reading.  Part 1 Part 2

Sid Lowe commented on the opening weekend as well, focusing on Cuper’s knack for finishing second and Negredo’s performance for Sevilla against Malaga.

Speaking of Malaga, Forza Futbol had Christian (@christianmcr) on from Euro Sport and Event Management, and he provided almost an hour of information and passion regarding the Malaga project. That was the word he used over and over. He explained the short and long term goals of the club; the vision of the academy to provide players for the squad a la FCB; the current four year sponsorship deal—advertising for UNESCO; and the social consciousness of the club, which includes diverting revenue from friendlies and saving a club from relegation. Definitely worth a listen as Shiekh Abdullah bin Nasser al-Thani attempts to create a force which will compete with the Big Two.

 

Just a few things as I close . . .

Four of the Spanish teams in Europe (Valencia, Villarreal, Atletico and Sevilla) are without shirt sponsors, after failing to agree deals.

Matt from @Inbedwimaradona discusses the globalization of football & what happens when you wear your favorite kit around town.

Forza Football put together some Spanish Kit Porn.  Doesn’t have everything but helpful if you haven’t bought a jersey for the upcoming season.

A decent preview of Athletic Bilbao from SpanishFootball.info.

Atlético signed Colombian attacker Falcao. Hopefully he will provide the goals lost with the departure of Aguero (Manchester City) and Forlan (Inter Milan)

Finally, if you have not seen Getafe’s promotional video for this seasonWarning: NSFW, it is a car wreck that cannot be missed.

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