LaLiga match previews

LaLiga returns on Friday night and there are some interesting matchups to look forward to over the whole weekend.

Enjoy these games before another international break kicks in next week!

Real Sociedad Vs Leganes

Key men: Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad); Martin Braithwaite (Leganes)

Prediction: Real Sociedad 2 – 0 Leganes Continue reading

Match previews of this weekend’s Spanish LaLiga action

Spanish top-flight football returns this weekend after the international break.

There is a full schedule of 10 LaLiga games to keep us interested between Friday night and Sunday night.

At the moment, Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid side leads the way, two points clear of Barcelona at the top of the table.

Newly-promoted Granada has been the surprise package of the season so far, flying high in fourth place after 8 games. Continue reading

LaLiga match previews for this weekend

Time for more top-class Spanish football now. It’s our LaLiga preview.

Barcelona Vs Sevilla is the game of the weekend in Spain but Real Madrid against Granada is another one that should be a cracker, especially for all the neutrals.

Get ready for some top-class Spanish football action over the next few days as the LaLiga table slowly begins to take shape.

Here is our look ahead to all ten games in LaLiga this coming weekend. Continue reading

Why Real Madrid are getting better every week under Zinedine Zidane

For Real Madrid there will be enquiries into why their Champions League campaign has not started off on the front foot, but in the league everything seems to be taking shape, with coach Zinedine Zidane perhaps in the midst of his most difficult and testing season.

Last night Real could only draw with Belgian side Club Brugges at the Santiago Bernabeu which led to the inevitable boos, though in truth the match, which finished 2-2, would have felt like a small victory after the home side found themselves 2-0 down.

That match followed their first game in the group stages where they were easily beaten by PSG in Paris by 3-0. The defeat in Paris was probably overblown- a lot of very good teams are going to lose their this season, true the result wasn’t good but it wasn’t catastrophic either. What followed felt much more important.

So it was back to La Liga where Madrid had been making heavy weather of their results, to be fair eternal rivals Barcelona were too. But the fixture list did not look good for Zidane’s men. Following the PSG defeat they would have to play early front runners Sevilla away from home and also stay on the road to play the derby against Atletico Madrid, a side genuinely after the La Liga title this season.

Many thought that down south in Spain, Madrid would falter and yet they didn’t-they won and kept a clean sheet to boot. The final score reflected the closeness of the game with a 1-0 result, but that was still 3 massive points for Los Blancos.

The next match was set up as two genuine rivals for the league went head to head in Madrid, and that match ended 0-0 with the majority of the game being a midfield battle which became quite fascinating to watch. Eden Hazard in particular was given praise for getting physically stuck into the match. Hazard has arguably struggled this season for the club despite coming back from injury, but he should improve over time.

The draw at Atletico has suddenly put Madrid on top of the standings, albeit on goal difference and a top squeeze down to 5th place but still amongst all the criticism’s and the bla bla bla, Madrid under Zidane are top of the league and that is all that matters.

There will, of course, be more twists and turns and Madrid do not look like the polished finished article just yet. But with Gareth Bale to come back from injury and some emerging talent in the form of Rodrygo et all there is a lot of hope for Madrid. They need to steady that Champions League ship though.

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Lionel Messi’s injuries are hampering season for him and Barcelona already

It’s normally the case that by the end of September Lionel Messi has yet to score a goal this season but the 2019/20 season has started out in a frustrating manner for the Barcelona legend.

Messi has been injured for the majority of Barcelona’s games and has only played twice in the league and once in the Champions League when Barcelona drew 0-0 away to Borussia Dortmund. So 3 games in and no goals and niggling injuries has certainly hampered Messi’s start and of course his team have suffered too.

Barca are in 4th place after seven games and have already lost two games, the good news perhaps is that despite a stop/start beginning to their season and the fact that their away form has been questionable they are only 2 points behind league leaders and eternal nemesis Real Madrid.

It just shows to go how important a player like Messi is, as Barcelona have simply not been the same without him. True at times Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez have taken games by the scruff of their neck but in general not even these two great players can add the missing touch to a team who are so dependent on the Argentine play maker.

Messi now has another injury after coming back from one and coach Ernesto Valverde who first thought it would be nothing serious is sweating over Messi’s fitness. Alas whilst Messi will miss the next league game and Champions League one, the blessing in disguise for the club is that Messi most probably will not be available during the international break for Argentina. Keeping him fresh for a possible return before the end of October. Well that is the plan anyway.

Valverde himself is under his own pressure and was lucky to keep his job last season after the team failed so miserably against Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final. But the board have stuck by him, after all he has won a few La Liga titles and done so in style.

Of course it has not all been bad for Messi who actually picked up the FIFA The Best award based on last season where yet again he scored over 50 goals on the way to helping Barca win the league title. A title this season would be even more remarkable given that Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid seem up for the challenge this season.

What is sure is that Barca need Messi back as soon as possible because if his injury problems continue it could well derail the club’s season and Messi could end up have quite a forgettable one.

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Fantasy LaLiga picks for the upcoming weekend’s games

We have another full schedule of LaLiga games coming up in Spain this weekend.

It’s time to look ahead to the upcoming games as you decide on what changes, if any, to make in fantasy LaLiga.

Have a read and see if any tips stick out which might suit your fantasy LaLiga team this weekend.

Continue reading

Football turns back time as Lionel Messi wins The Best Fifa Award

Lionel Messi has won ‘The Best’ Fifa award ahead of Virgil van dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo and it feels as though the clock has been turned back.

This isn’t to say that Messi didn’t deserve it, because technically he is far and away the best player in the world, but it had been a few years since Messi had picked up any type of best footballer award and it will be very welcome to him that he has been recognised once more.

Messi was brilliant in the league as usual as Barcelona won another title and in all competitions he scored over 50 goals, which for his age and consistency is just simply breathtaking.

There would be disappointments for him of course. Namely the Champions League where it was clear that Barcelona threw away the chance to win it. Having a superb run into the semi final 2nd leg and leading Liverpool 3-0, they disintegrated at Anfield and lost 4-0 to lose 4-3 on aggregate. Had they kept their shape and nerve surely they would have beaten Tottenham in the final?

In the Copa del Rey, Barcelona were shocked and beaten in the final and the Copa America ended yet again in misery for him. But Messi for the first time in a few years has been recognised for his consistency in the past season, and that should be applauded.

Liverpool’s Virgil van dijk might feel aggreived along with betting punters as he was 1/5 to win the award, and his name did seem on it. Van dijk was instrumental in Liverpool’s Champions League win and the club came 2nd with 97 points in the Premier League too Manchester City. He had a wonderful season no doubt.

Missing from the gala event in Italy was Cristiano Ronaldo and given that he now plays in the country one has to wonder if information slipped out to the Juventus hit man that he wasn’t going to win the award, and so stayed away. If so this should be a story given that betting is permitted on the event, but it will probably go mostly unnoticed.

Ronaldo would have felt upset and after winning the league with Juventus and the UEFA Nations League with Portugal he might just have a point. Are UEFA declaring that the Nations League isn’t really that important after all? If it had been the Euro’s surely that would have been enough for Ronaldo to win the award.

What can be agreed at the end of the day is that the whittled down nominees are all great players and deserved to win, there can only be one and as good as he is maybe Messi’s victory has come as a surprise to some.

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A preview of gameweek 5 in LaLiga

Football, football, football.

Here is our preview of all ten games in LaLiga this coming weekend.

Osasuna v Real Betis

Key men: Roberto Torres (Osasuna); Nabil Fekir (Real Betis)

Prediction: Osasuna 1 – 1 Real Betis Continue reading

Early season issues must be left behind by Real Madrid

Many expected Real Madrid to struggle early on this season after what was a tumultuous summer for the capital club. However, an impressive 3-1 away win over Celta Vigo on opening weekend suggested that things would all right after all. It didn’t take long for those suggestions to wash away.

Real Madrid have won just one of their first three fixtures of the new La Liga season. For context, Zinedine Zidane’s side are already five points off rivals Atletico Madrid at the top of the table. The problems of last season continue to afflict this group of players. On the basis of what we have seen so far, nothing has been solved over the summer.

Injuries have been a factor in this. Eden Hazard was Real Madrid’s marquee signing of the summer, joining from Chelsea for a deal worth around £100 million. However, the Belgian has yet to make the field for his new team, sidelined through injury as Real Madrid have struggled to find traction.

Ferland Mendy has only just returned to first team action, playing in the defeat to Villarreal before the international break. Luka Jovic, a big money sining from Eintracht Frankfurt, has so far struggled to find a place in Zidane’s team, with some even speculating that the Serbian striker’s stay at the Santiago Bernabeu could be a short one.

On top of this, Eder Militao has yet to make his Real Madrid debut, with Sergio Ramos and Nacho Fernandez both suspended for the Champions League opener away to Paris Saint-Germain next week. Teenage forward Rodrygo has also been denied his first team bow up to this stage.

Perhaps it’s wise that Zidane has, by design or not, phased in Real Madrid’s squad overhaul, but results have been disappointing over the early part of the season and the capital club must hit the ground running when they return from the international break. They don’t have any more time to waste, especially with Atletico Madrid enjoying such a strong start to the season.

The Santiago Bernabeu is not a happy place right now. Only Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema have found anything close to their top form in the first three Liga games of the season. This season was meant to be one of change. They can’t hold off that change any longer.

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