The Spanish national team lost to Argentina in a friendly last week. While not quite causing a national panic, a return to the normality of La Liga was most welcome. Normality? IBWM welcomes Tim Hill.
After a week of mourning the death of Spanish football after a defeat by the now organised Argentina National Team, La Liga got back on track with a weekend of fixtures.
Some people in Catalonia probably didn’t don the black veils and start writing obituaries after Spain’s loss, how things quickly changed this weekend when after a Herculean effort by Alicante-based side Hércules resulted in a 2-0 loss for the Catalonian giants at home.
Nelson Valdez scored both of the goals. The first one goal coming from a typical playground mix-up between Victor Valdes and countless defenders and attackers, before the ex-Dortmund striker Valdez tapped it home. The second goal was a classier affair with a cross from the right finding Valdez unmarked in the middle, where he delicately placed it into the top-left corner.
As well as having procured the Celtic away kit for the season, Hércules CF have snatched David Trezeguet to partner Nelson Valdez up-front as well Football Manager steady-eddy favourite Franciso Rufete in midfield. Accompanying the newly promoted side is Roystone Drenthe, signed haphazardly by Real Madrid after an impressive youth tournament; his ability is not in question, more that is game intelligence and tactical awareness is similar to the standard found in primary schools over the country from 08:30 to 09:00.
This result ended a period of not losing at home for 16 months, that game was a pointless affair anyway as Barcelona had already won the title. However wet these hankies were at the Camp Nou, nothing could compare to the use of white hankies in Madrid
White-hankies for Mourinho already as Özil Shines
Who would have imagined? Madrid win with a boring 1-0 win, with Mourinho at the helm? Well I never! Turns out Madridistas are not pleased about this, removing their hankies from their ironed chinos and giving Mourinho and the Real Madrid board the most Spanish of disapprovals.
It has to be mentioned that Osasuna were organised and difficult to break down, resulting in permanently bolding Ricardo Carvalho having to force himself upfield to slot home after terrific play from Mesut Özil .
The ex-Werder Bremen player was the only bright spark on show at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, showing the movement and touches that made him a revelation during the World Cup. His ability to create is remarkable and his timing of runs and passes is something that sets him apart from other creative players. Cristiano Ronaldo was made to look like that your mate’s older brother who can kick the ball a lot harder than you whilst not doing much else.
In other news, Valencia sin Villa and Silva managed to beat Racing Santander at home. Juan Mata, a player who Real Madrid will inevitably try and purchase once di Maria proves he’s not worth €25m Euros, after leaving them at a young age, providing the assist and is the most significant figure at Mestalla this season.
Villareal scored four against Espanyol at the Madrigal, with the disconcertingly overly American Italian Giuseppe Rossi scoring two and assisting with one. The newly shaven bonnet of Borja Valero also impressed, scoring with a left-foot screamer, who of course moved from West Brom this summer. He looked comfortable peeling from the left and you could see why West Brom signed him in the first place.
However, it is Atlético that remain at the top of the league after their 2-1 win away at the usually insurmountable San Mamés in Bilbao. Diego Forlán once again provided evidence that he’s one of the best strikers in the world after a splendid finish after some great work by Sergio Aguero and a deft trap/back-heel/dummy from Simão. In a strangely British-looking affair (not surprising given Athletic’s British roots), Tiago managed to nod home after a fast counter-attack from Atlético before the British-suiting Fernando Llorente halved the deficit. Atlético however look more impressive and consistent than in their previous seasons and Sevilla should be closely looking behind them as Quique Sánchez Flores’ unit looks most likely to steal their usual third/fourth spot finish in La Liga.
Barcelona 0 - 2 Hercules
Valencia 1 - 0 Racing Santander
Real Madrid 1 - 0 Osasuna
Athletic Bilbao 1 - 2 Atletico Madrid
Getafe 4 - 1 Levante
Sporting Gijon 2 - 0 Mallorca
Zaragoza 3 - 5 Malaga
Villarreal 4 - 0 Espanyol
Sevilla 0 - 0 Deportivo La Coruna
Almeria 2 - 2 Real Sociedad
Tim will be writing regularly for IBWM but if you would like to read more from him, please visit his very fine blog.