Sergio Ramos is Real Madrid’s penalty king

ramos

Sergio Ramos has emerged as a surprise goal scoring replacement to Cristiano Ronaldo, with four La Liga goals already this season.

Whilst Ramos is not expected to get anywhere near Ronaldo’s goal tally over the course of a season, he has established himself as the Portuguese international’s replacement penalty taker at the club.

Defender Ramos, successfully took the club’s first penalty in the post-Ronaldo era, in their European Super Cup final defeat to Atletico Madrid in August.

From there onwards, he has taken four penalties in La Liga, against Girona, Leganes, Real Valladolid and Celta Vigo – all games that Real have gone on to win.

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Benzema enjoying life under Solari

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The confirmation of Santiago Solari as the permanent boss of Real Madrid has dominated La Liga news in the last two weeks.

Solari has impressed in the brief time he’s been in charge, winning four out of four games in all competitions, stabilising the club following a tumultuous start to the season, under former boss Julen Lopetegui.

The biggest story of his time at the helm has been the form of Karim Benzema, who has rediscovered his goal scoring touch.

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Sevilla keep the pressure on Barcelona

Pablo Machin

Sevilla returned to second place in the La Liga table, with a 2-1 home win over Espanyol last weekend, sending a clear message to leaders Barcelona in the process.

Pablo Machin’s side replaced Espanyol as the closest side to Barcelona, with Joan Francesc Ferrer’s team slipping down to sixth following the loss.

Sevilla completed a double victory for Andalusia over Catalonia in Gameweek 12, with city rivals Real Betis inflicting Barcelona’s first home La Liga defeat of the season with a 4-3 victory at Camp Nou.

They have also taken advantage of Real Madrid’s inconsistency at the start of the season, to establish themselves as the main challenger to Barcelona, at this stage of the campaign.

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Mertens returns to starring role for Napoli

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-GENOA-NAPOLI Napoli’s impressive 5-1 Serie A demolition of Empoli last weekend showed how they are returning to dominant form in Italy.

They now look set to pick up their annual pursuit of rivals Juventus, who are chasing an eight consecutive Serie A title, with Napoli trailing in third, by six points.

The biggest news for Carlo Ancelotti’s team also been the explosive nature with which they have beaten teams in recent weeks – with talisman Dries Mertens at the heart of it. Continue reading

Celta Vigo: infuriating but great entertainment

Celta Atletico

Sunday night’s thrilling 3-3 draw between Real Betis and Celta Vigo was unquestionably the standout match of the weekend in La Liga, and a strong contender for game of the season to date. It was a thrilling end-to-end encounter packed full of stunning strikes, disallowed goals, the rattling of the woodwork and a sideline scuffle.

For the visiting Galician side, the game served as a microcosm of their season to date – demonstrating their huge strengths and gaping weaknesses. Responding from two goals down with fearsome attacking play before blowing their lead in the final moments, then both creating and allowing clear chances in the dying minutes. Continue reading

Barcelona must afford patience to talented Ousmane Dembele

Dembele

It has been 15 months since Barcelona shelled out an initial €105m to bring talented French forward Ousmane Dembele to the Camp Nou. Should all the ‘attainable clauses’ be met, the Catalan giants will pay Borussia Dortmund a further €35m.

The 21-year-old hit the equalising goal for Barca at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, just as he struck the decisive winning goals at Real Valladolid and Real Sociedad earlier in the campaign. Yet watch closely and he did not celebrate with his teammates. In fact, he barely celebrated, jogging back to the halfway line. Continue reading

Romagnoli the hero again for AC Milan

romagnoli

AC Milan and captain Alessio Romagnoli are beginning to make a habit of dramatic late winning goals in Serie A this season.

The latest, a 96th minute strike from the former Roma youngster, sealed a vital 1-0 win away at Udinese.

Gennaro Gauttso’s side have had to dig deep and show real resolve to pick up points in recent weeks, with three back to back wins moving them up into fourth place in Serie A.

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In form Inter Milan continue dominant Serie A form

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Inter Milan are the most in form side in Serie A, with Luciano Spalletti’s registering their seventh straight league win on Saturday.

They saw off Genoa in style at the San Siro on Saturday, with an emphatic 5-0 victory, keeping them in second place in the table, ahead of Napoli on goal difference, and six points behind leaders Juventus.

Whilst Max Allegri’s side are still unbeaten so far this season, in domestic and European competition, they did drop points in a 1-1 draw against Genoa in October.

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Huesca slip into free fall after strong start

Huesca

La Liga new boys Huesca are beginning to find life in the top flight tough going, after an excellent start to their first ever season in the division.

After finishing in second place in the Segunda Division last season, Huesca sealed their first ever foray into La Liga, alongside Rayo Vallecano and Real Valladolid.

The season started well for the club from Aragon, with an opening weekend win away at Eibar, followed by a 2-2 draw at home to Athletic Bilbao.

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Vinicius Junior the rising star at Real Madrid

Vinicius Junior

On Friday, Madrid’s two main sports newspapers – Marca and Diario AS – both published the same poll, with both returning overwhelming verdicts. The question was very simple: ‘Should Vinicius Junior start for Real Madrid in their next league game, against Real Valladolid?’ In Marca, 87% of respondents voted ‘Yes’ while in AS, the figure was 90%.

The question came in light of the Brazilian’s first ever start for Los Blancos as he led the line in Wedensday’s 4-0 Copa del Rey victory at Melilla. The 18-year-old did not find the net in the rout, but he played superbly and showed not only great promise but a degree of maturity. Continue reading