Barcelona secure emphatic league title in Game of the Week


Our La Liga game of the week saw a Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona run out 4-2 winners at the Estadio Riazor as they overcame a robust Deportivo La Coruna side to claim a 25th title.

With Barcelona knowing that victory would be enough to reclaim the highest domestic honour from bitter rivals Real Madrid, the visitors came into the tie focused solely on the goal of sealing a title that has been months in the making.

And it appeared that the game was set to go according to the script early on, when Philippe Coutinho met a Dembele pass first time to swing the ball inside the far post on six minutes – netting his 11th goal across the Premier League and La Liga in 2017/18.

The visitors then doubled their lead a little over half an hour later when Messi  took down a looped Luis Suarez ball before driving it past Deportivo keeper Martinez.

However, if Barcelona had expected that they might walk to the title then they were gravely mistaken.

Just two minutes after Messi had put Barcelona two goals ahead, Lucas Perez then halved the deficit when he rounded off a counter attack to score his sixth goal of the season and put himself on 29 points.

Emre Colak then put the hosts level, capitalising on some slack Barcelona defending to put his side level on the 64 minute mark and earn himself a place in our team of the week.

This proved to be the wake-up call that Barcelona had needed, with the league leaders having been guilty of coasting after the break.

Despite their renewed vigour, it wasn’t until the 82nd minute that Barcelona finally made the break-through – Leo Messi again the creator in chief as he turned several Deportivo defenders before stroking home after an audacious one-two with Luis Suarez in the box.

Suarez then set up Messi for a third time just three minutes later, as his team mate ensured he would be taking home the match ball to add to his La Liga winner’s medal.

The hat-trick goal caused scenes of delirium among the Barcelona players and topped off a scintillating solo performance from the Argentine who now has 154 points and 32 goals for the campaign.

The Catalan side must now host arch rivals Real Madrid as they keep their collective thoughts on the prospect of finishing the campaign with an unbeaten run in tact – something that would in itself be a tremendous accolade to the successes of their campaign.

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La Liga Team of the Week


With Barcelona in action in the cup final, this was an opportunity for players from other sides to stake a claim for a place in the team of the week – here’s how they got on!

Daniel Gimenez, Real Betis – 14 points

The Spaniard has continued his excellent record in a Betis shirt, securing his fourth clean sheet in his fourth appearance of the campaign.

Betis successfully closed out a weakened Atletico side to rise to fifth in the division, with Gimenez hitting 28 points.

Antonio Barragan, Real Betis – 12 points

The one time Liverpool player is enjoying a successful time of it at Betis, playing a valuable role in his side’s strong run in.

Barragan now has 29 points – thanks in no small part to his six assists and 10 clean sheets.

Luisinho, Deportivo La Coruna – 10 points

The Portuguese defender has been at La Coruna for an extended period now and will be feeling the pain of their dreadful campaign as much as anyone.

The fact he has -10 points for the campaign highlights just how rare an occasion this weekend’s exploits have been for the side this season.

Jordi Amat, Real Betis – nine points

On loan from Swansea City, Amat has been a regular in our team of the week recently – thanks to his side’s tight back line that has conceded very few goals in the past few rounds.

Two clean sheets in one week have seen him hit nine in total and 20 points for the campaign.

Marc Bartra, Real Betis – nine points

Having struggled for game time at Borussia Dortmund for the first half of the season, Bartra will be considering his move to Betis to be somewhat of a master stroke.

In his short time at the club, the La Masia product has produced 35 points and nine clean sheets for his side.

Tomas Pina, Alaves – six points

Pina sees himself hit the team of the week thanks to his first goal of the campaign in his 27 league appearances.

The disappointment of his team’s defeat to Girona will be cushioned by an emphatic victory at Las Palmas.

Alvaro Medran – six points

Medran netted one of four in his weekend’s demolition of an all-but-relegated Las Palmas as they put in the quality of performance that they have largely been lacking this season.

With two goals in eighteen appearance, Medran will see his performance as a platform to build from in what has otherwise been a disappointing campaign.

Sergi Darder, Espanyol – six points

Darder had a Sunday to remember this weekend as he set up both of Gerard Moreno’s goals in their 2-0 victory over an off colour Girona.

Despite their disappointing run in the league, Darder has still managed to accrue 20 points in 2017/18.

Adnan Januzaj, Real Sociedad – four points

Another player hitting a purple patch, Januzaj has secured 31 points this campaign with three goals and four assists to thank for it.

He may have had a rough time of it over the past few seasons but the Belgian is showing glimpses that he may come good on his initial promise.

Munir El Haddadi, Alaves – eight points

On loan from Barcelona, Munir has broadly had a successful campaign – netting nine goals in his 26 games.

On 41 points for the campaign, the one-time Spanish international has been a relative bright spark in what has otherwise been a subdued season for Alaves.

Gerard Moreno, Espanyol – eight points

His side may sit in sixteenth in the table but Moreno is certainly not to blame for the side’s deficitis this campaign.

With 14 goals to his name, Moreno may well be eyeing any opportunities to move on from Espanyol come the summer.

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Deportivo hope renewed but is it too late?


The old line of ‘waiting ages for a bus, then two come at once’ was applicable to Deportivo La Coruna but the questions remain of whether those buses have arrived too late and whether they will take them to their desired destination. They are hoping the terminus will be La Liga but there is real concern their upturn in form has come too late.

Depor went 14 games without a victory – seven under Clarence Seedorf – before edging out Malaga in a relegation battle and then securing an impressive win at Athletic Bilbao with striker Adrian Lopez  netting four times across the two games. A draw at home to Sevilla on Tuesday night was not ideal but it keeps their slim hopes of survival alive. Continue reading

Malaga, Las Palmas and Deportivo all face relegation

Deportivo down

With just one victory in their previous 19 La Liga outings, Levante finally lost patience with boss Juan Muniz and replaced him with B team coach Paco Lopez. Remarkably, despite just three league wins and 21 points from 27 matches – they had not yet been dragged into the division’s relegation zone, but they feared the inevitability.

In Lopez’s first game at the helm, a late goal from experienced full-back Coke won a valuable three points at Getafe and the following week, Ghanaian striker Emmanuel Boateng found the winner against European-chasing Eibar. Levante had stopped the rot and have a six-point cushion to the bottom three which, despite nine matches remaining, feels decisive. Continue reading

Clarence Seedorf: A gamble for crisis-stricken Depor


Deportivo La Coruna’s appointment of Clarence Seedorf grabbed headlines and cranked up the interest level in the struggling Galician club. The Dutchman’s predecessor Cristobal Parralo won just three games and suffered nine defeats in 15 outings, with Depor slipping into La Liga’s relegation zone.

The last three matches in particular have been painful. A 7-1 defeat at Real Madrid, throwing away a two-goal lead at home to Levante to draw 2-2 and a 5-0 loss at Real Sociedad, who had won only three of their previous 18 games. Each match witnessed a capitulation which would be concerning once, but in three consecutive games it constitutes a crisis. Depor have plenty of gifted players -including the late January addition Michael Krohn-Dehli – yet over the course of the last few months, they have been a rudderless mess. Continue reading

Deportivo and Celta Vigo face pivotal Galician derby

Galician Derby

Most attention on Saturday will focus on El Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona, but later than evening one of La Liga’s most intriguing regional derbies will get underway. Whilst neither Deportivo La Coruna nor Celta Vigo will be involved in this season’s title race, this match is equally as important.

Depor striker Lucas Perez – who returned to the club from Arsenal on a loan deal over summer – has already taken an early jibe at their Galician rivals: “Even the city’s mayor wants to take the club out of the city… they know they cannot fill the Balaidos and their patience has run out and now they want to relocate.” Saturday’s clash is not at Celta’s Balaidos stadium but at the scenic Estadio Riazor, in the coastal city of A Coruna, in a potentially crucially match for both clubs. Continue reading

Video preview – Rotations and injuries cause chaos across Europe

Nicholas Carroll is back with another Euro Fantasy League preview ahead of the upcoming round of fixtures. Continue reading

Best Defenders in La Liga – Week 8


This past weekend in La Liga it was generally entire defensive lines that won out, rather than individual defenders. Continue reading