La Liga: Why the Sky Isn’t Falling in Spain

The current feeling in Spain is just as the title states: The Sky is Falling!

Thinking about it today, I must be one of the only people that believes this isn’t the case. On Monday’s The Offside Podcast Ian and I chatted about this exact subject.

My thoughts on the pod were this. There are really two views you can take from this issue. The first is looking at it from the ‘galaticos’ point of view. If you are a madridista you probably are running to your nearest church praying to whatever god you choose. You’ve just bowed out of your fourth straight Champions League title in the round of 16, but 6th straight since winning the title in 2002. You are also out of the Copa del Rey and now only have the league to fight for.

This view is completely Madrid-centric (or Big Club-centric for that matter). Only the big clubs are sitting there, complaining about the terribleness that is happening in Spain. Reuters Soccer Blog ran a story about how the Spanish game is losing its touch as of late, and cites Madrid’s as it’s main source, but more criticizes their style of play for this downfall.

The favoured Spanish style of slow, patient build-up play has passed its sell-by date. Too many players and coaches confuse possession with danger, while opponents who play on the break are criticised as if they were adopting some sort of underhand tactic. Few Primera Liga sides possess the pace, verve and dynamism of sides like Roma, Arsenal and Manchester United.

I guess I can see where that is coming from. Fabio Capello was let go last year after Madrid’s title due to his supposed ‘boring’ style of play, but I have to say that Schuster’s style of play isn’t any more free flowing than his predecessor’s.

Still, the Reuters article doesn’t even talk about the League in general, but focuses the downfall only on what is happening in Europe. Could it be that simply Spanish football is having an off year? It’s more of a focus on Madrid football then anything concrete about Spanish football in general. Madrid’s success does not parallel that of Spanish football as a whole, unfortunately.

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La Liga: Sevilla’s Poulsen May Be Heading to Barcelona

So we get out of the Champions League and now we immediately start selling off players??

I first read this on <a href=”http://spanishfootballsports.blogspot.com/2008/03/fc-barcelona-has-agreement-with-poulsen.html#links”>Spanish Football and Sports</a> that Sevilla midfielder Christian Poulsen is headed to Barcelona come season’s end.

I read the <a href=”http://www.elsesports.cat/pesports/eeItem.jsp?itemid=261751&amp;seccio=barca&amp;item=noticies”>article in TV3</a> (note the article is in Catalan:TV3 is one of the TV stations in Catalunya) and basically it says that the contract has been confirmed, but Barcelona still has to convince Del Nido on the deal.  The sticking point also is that Poulsen has one more year left on his contract at Sevilla and the two clubs will have to come to an agreement on how to handle that.

Poulsen is a good midfielder.  He won’t score you many goals, but he knows how to defend and has played very well this season with Keita.

Barcelona are looking at the Danish midfielder to replace Edmilson who’s contract is up on June 30th and will not resign with the Catalan club.

One-Liner guide to La Liga- Jornada 24

La Liga keeps chugging along like tailgaters at a Buffalo Bills game. It’s Jornada 24 and I’ve decided to do something a bit different this week. I’ll still give out the Spanish cultural tid-bit so that you all may receive your weekly immersion. But, I’ll also drop a few links, quick stories about what happened in La Liga this week so that everyone can know what’s going on. In essence I’m making a more comprehensive preview, except for my brief previews that have evolved from one liners because well..thats hard.

By the way, I try my hardest to find stories on La Liga in English to link to for everyone, but part of the fact that I write about La Liga is because not many English blogs or Bloggers for the matter, are devoted to La Liga. Much of my reading takes place on Spanish Language websites or blogs, but when I can find the appropriate English links, I’ll give them to you all here. Vale?

Listos? Venga, vamos!

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One-liner guide to La Liga- Jornada 23

Your one-stop shop for some Spanish tidbit and then a one-line guide to these weekends games. Could be a question, could be a statement, could be a blatant run-on sentence so I can write whatever I want, who knows.

You Spanish tidbit for the day:

About half of my ITunes playlist is Spanish music, and now my new favorite group is ‘La Pegatina’. The group from Catalunya speaks to be since they sing songs in Castellano (Spanish) Catalan and Gallego (essentially a dialect of Portuguese, but spoken in Gallecia)

Here is there best song, in my opinion ‘Penjat’

For my next birthday I want to buy a box and learn how to play it, seriously.

Now, your one-liner guide to La Liga.

This week’s Menudo Partidazo

Sevilla v Barcelona (Saturday 10:00)

Sevilla’s Manolo Jimenez calls this game their final, but how much of a fight will a Bojan, Deco and Zambrotta-less Barcelona put up.

Saturday

Deportivo v Getafe

Deportivo praying to the fútbol Gods for a win to keep them clear of the relegation zone.

Murcia – Villarreal

One more loss could spell disaster for Murcia gaffer Lucas Alcaraz.

Sunday

Espanyol v Recreativo

The pericos are my surprise team of the year, sitting pretty on third place, eight points behind Barcelona; Recreativo suck.

Mallorca v Almería

Viva Almería! The little team that could, tied with Sevilla on 32 points go to the isle looking for their ticket into the UEFA cup 6th place spot.

Racing v Atlético

Danny Szetela is gone(sniff). Now La Liga is Americanless yet again. (but I had this inkling that there is another Yank somewhere in the ranks, but I’m not sure).

Athletic v Levante

Levante is in the red, terribly, as the players gave the club n ultimatium today to recoup their losses while sitting pretty in 20th place. Not a good day.

Osasuna v Zaragoza

Ziganda, Osasuna gaffer, hopefully won’t be choking any more assistants after serving his one-game suspension for the on the field incidents in the Sanchez Pizjuan.

Real Madrid v Valladolid

Madrid has a habit of dropping points to newly promoted sides this season; Valladoild is hoping the trend continues.

Valencia v Betis

Struggle v Stuggle characterizes these two teams as this season has not been rainbows or butterflies for either side.

This weekend’s GolTV Schedule:

Saturday

2:00 Murcia – Villareal

4:00 Sevilla v Barcelona

Sunday

1:00 Real Madrid v Valladolid

3:00 Valencia v Betis

 

 

 

La Liga: Jornada 20-A Derby, A Goal, A Team Struggling

Jornada 20 down in the books in La Liga and what a Jornada it was. Some of the more notable happenings in this matchweek.

—Saturday saw my Sevilla fall to a 12th place Getafe side in the 92nd minute. A back and forth game saw Sevilla draw first blood, but watched Getafe fight back in the second half. Sevilla, down 2-1 in the final minutes, were redeemed by Right back Drago in the 89th minute, but saw their hopes for a point crushed by Contra in the 91st minute. Struggling can’t describe what place we are in now. Luis Fabiano said in AS ‘We should be embarrassed to play this way’. As well they should. All Sevilla has left this season is the Champions League, which

— Sunday brought upon the fastest goal in La Liga history. Llorente scored 8 seconds into the Espanyol-Valladolid match thanks to a hail mary-esque pass springing him for the goal. Valladolid were victorious 2-1.

(Go here to see the goal, for some reason the video won’t embed)

—The Madrid Derby brought out another early goal, this time by Raul, who netted 30 seconds into the Atlético-Real Madrid game. Ruud Van Nistelrooy volleyed in a corner in the 42nd minute to put the madridistas up 2-0. (More on the Derby by Tim Stannard here) The win puts Real Madrid 7 points clear of Barcelona, who won 1-0 against Racing Santander (attended by CHI pundit Breton).

—Real Zaragoza broke their 10 game losing streak with a 3-1 win against Real Murcia. Zaragoza were led by Diego Millito’s brace, which gave Zaragoza’s newly installed manager Ander Garitano his first win at the helm. Abel continues to be a bust for Murcia this season.

The scores for this week were:

ATLÉTICO 0-2 R. MADRID
BARCELONA 1-0 RACING
ZARAGOZA 3-1 MURCIA
LEVANTE 2-2 MALLORCA
ALMERÍA 1-0 DEPORTIVO
VALLADOLID 2-1 ESPANYOL
BETIS 1-1 RECREATIVO
OSASUNA 2-0 ATHLETIC
GETAFE 3-2 SEVILLA
VILLARREAL 3-0 VALENCIA

La Liga: Sevilla Dethrowned as Barca Moves On

It’s been a tough year for Sevilla, and it’s just getting tougher now as the rojiblancos find themselves out of the Copa del Rey with a 0-0 draw today at the Camp Nou.  The draw puts Barcelona through with a 1-1 draw previously at the Sanchez Pizjuan.

The game was not worthy of the two teams in it.  It’s obvious that I’m a Sevilla supporter, but the referee’s for this Copa del Rey series were absolutly terrible.  I’m not one to complain about the ref’s, but seriously, this series took the cake.  It was enough to make my head spin, for both teams.

Sitting in front of my Arabic feed I was disgusted time and time again at the lack of calls for both sides.  I spare everyone from going into a epic rant about refereeing but as I previously said, it went both ways.

Tomorrow’s Copa del Rey games are:

Ida Partido Vuelta
09/01/2008 16/01/2008
0-0 Atlético – Valladolid Previa
2-1 Mallorca – R. Madrid Previa
3-0 Getafe – Levante Previa
1-0 Recreativo – Villarreal Previa
1-1 Athletic – Espanyol Previa
1-1 Sevilla – Barcelona 0-0
1-1 Zaragoza – Racing Previa
1-2 Betis – Valencia Previa

Your biggest game tomorrow is the Mallorca-Real Madrid clash at the Bernabeu.  Real Madrid are currently trailing 2 goals to 1, but only need a 1-0 win as Madrid would go through with the advantage in Away goals.

The Morning Hi-5-Weds 11/7

The best footy links you can check out while pondering why the British are so damn funny…

1) Barcelona takes to the field against the Scottish wall that is Rangers…(Barcelona Offside)

2) Another Sevilla blog, actually in English. Rafa is the head of starting up the Sevilla Peña in America...(Brigada Americana)

3) Beach Soccer anyone? Spain beats the US in the opening round of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup…(SI)

4) You think medics would know how to pick up a stretcher…(The Red Cauldron)

5) Phil Ball takes a trip to the Basque region. Don’t go near any ATM’s!!! (ESPNSoccernet)

And here’s some beach soccer action for everyone. Don’t forget to check out the Champions League games on http://www.live-footy.org. That’s where I’ll be.