With the La Liga season still being a week or so away from getting underway, let’s take a look at how the league’s sides are getting on in their preparations for the upcoming campaign. There were plenty of sides based in the Spanish top flight in friendly action over the past weekend, so let’s head all the way back to Saturday and move forward with how each side performed. Some were up against trickier opposition than others of course, but there were one or two results which stand out as somewhat surprising – in this instance, it’s usually been for the benefit of the Spanish sides. Opponents ranged from Premier League across to the German Bundesliga, so there has been plenty of travel endured, and plenty of action enjoyed.
On Saturday, Girona welcomed Tottenham Hotspur to Montilivi, and you would have to say they performed well above expectations! For a side who finished 10th in last season’s La Liga and lost more than they won, to take the game to one of the Premier League’s high fliers and end up thumping them has got to be seen as a triumph. Admittedly, the Spurs side was a young one, but Girona looked sharp, clinical and skillful – the better team won on the day. It wasn’t even close. Some Lilywhites fans may point to the fact that manager Mauricio Pochettino was missing several key players who are still absent following their World Cup participation, but there were first teamers left out who had made themselves available as well.
This was clearly designed to be a test run for the less experienced players to get a taste of the action, though starters did include some talented individuals such as Heung-min Son, Lucas Moura, Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, and Serge Aurier. Moura had actually fired Spurs into the lead within the first quarter of an hour, but goals from Juanpe, Anthony Lozano, Portu and Aleix Garcia (on loan from Man City incidentally) put Spurs to the sword. Elsewhere, Sevilla hosted Segunda División side Extremadura UD and claimed a surprisingly narrow 2-1 victory. The match was somewhat sluggish though Sevilla must be credited as the harder working side – their victory could have been more comfortable had Ever Banega scored from the spot right at the death.
On Sunday, Espanyol enjoyed a similar time of things as Girona in that they claimed a win over a Premier League side. They visited Turf Moor where they overcame Burnley 2-0, thanks to goals from Didac and Sergi Darder. Sean Dyche had rested some of the players who took part in the extra-time win over Aberdeen in last week’s Europa League clash, but again Espanyol were worthy winners for their efforts. Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid managed a 1-1 draw with Stuttgart, with Daniel Didavi’s opener being cancelled out thanks to an equaliser for the visitors through Joaquin Munoz.
On Wednesday, Real Sociedad host Deportivo Alavés in an all-La Liga clash, while Villarreal welcome Real Zaragoza in the pick of the upcoming friendlies.
If you fancy yourself as a Euro Fantasy League manager, why not get involved and register your team? It is always fun, and gives you the opportunity to show your tactical nous (or psychic tendencies, if you prefer) against other like-minded fans around the world.
If you feel La Liga specifically is more your cup of tea, then head over to Fantasy Liga, where you can play a version of the game containing only players and teams from the Spanish game. That is always an alternative if you prefer a more specific style of fantasy football management.