La Liga: Best 11 Players of Week 29

Week 29 looks like it was a turning point in La Liga was a huge blow to Atletico Madrid’s chances of winning the title. Atletico lost 1-0 away to Sevilla and have seen their huge lead cut down. Real Madrid are only 3 points behind and if Barcelona win their game in hand they will only be 1 point behind. Is the writing on the wall for Atletico? It looks increasingly likely.

Barcelona didn’t play at the weekend but they remain the best in form side in La Liga and have earned an incredible 28 points from a possible 30.

Let’s take a look below at the players who impressed the most as La Liga returned this past weekend.

Goalkeeper: Bono- Sevilla 7pts

Bono has been here so many times and is clearly one of the best goalkeeper’s in Spain this season. This was his 13th clean sheet of the season and what it was as Sevilla marched to Champions League qualification as they beat league leaders Atletico Madrid 1-0.

Defender: Ferland Mendy- Real Madrid 5pts

Ferland Mendy has been of Real Madrid’s best defenders this season and he earned another 5 points at the weekend to take his tally to 53. He has helped to keep 11 clean sheets so far.

Defender: Nacho- Real Madrid 5pts

Nacho has 30 points now as Real Madrid beat Eibar 2-0 at home to keep yet another clean sheet and possibly close in on the league title. Nacho made some great judgments on the ball and had a solid game.

Defender: Pedro Lopez- Huesca 5pts

Pedro Lopez showed a lot of maturity at the back for Huesca as they pulled off a terrific result to beat Levante away from home by 2-0. He’s hardly played any games this season and that is why he only has 9 points overall. His value is worth 5m.

Defender: Alberto Moreno- Villarreal 5pts

Alberto Moreno was part of a Villarreal defence that kept a clean sheet as they went to Granada and won 3-0. Moreno now has a total of 5 points given that this was indeed his first game for the club this season.

Midfielder: Marco Asensio- Real Madrid 6pts

Marco Asensio had an interesting game for Real Madrid as they beat Eibar 2-0. He scored the opening goal but it was ruled out by VAR but then a couple of minutes later he made amends for that and scored a proper opening goal.

Midfielder: Casemiro- Real Madrid 4pts

Casemiro has had a solid and professional season with Real and he assisted in the clubs first goal as they beat Eibar 2-0. Casemiro now has two assists for the season and has a total of 40 points so far.

Midfielder: Jesus Navas- Sevilla 4pts

Jesus Navas helped out at the back at times as Sevilla beat Atletico Madrid 1-0. Navas also assisted in the only goal of the game, to round up a very good performance from the midfielder. Currently he is the clubs 4th best midfielder so far.

Midfielder: David Ferreiro- Huesca 4pts

David Ferreiro assisted in Huesca’s goal as they beat Levante 2-0 at the weekend to earn a good 4 points. He has 3 assists now and is ranked at number 1 Huesca midfielder with a total of 23 points.

Striker: Gerard Moreno- Villarreal 14pts

It was a special weekend for Gerard Moreno who doesn’t always get the credit that he deserves. Villarreal beat Granada 3-0 and he scored all the goals to get a hat-trick. Moreno now has 19 goals this season and is 2nd in the top goalscorers.

Striker: Iago Aspas- Celta Vigo 8pts

Iago Aspas had a terrific game as he scored and assisted in the other 2 goals as Celta Vigo beat Alaves 3-1. Aspas has had a good solid season and has appeared in the team of the weeks a few times now. He has 10 goals and has also assisted in a further 10.

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Ferland Mendy once again proves he belongs at Real Madrid

In Marcelo, Real Madrid boasted the best left back in the European game for the best part of a decade. Indeed, the Brazilian has been a near ever-present at the Santiago Bernabeu in recent years, but it became clear towards the end of last season that change was needed. Real Madrid required a new left back.

They found that new left back in Ferland Mendy, signed from Lyon last summer. The Frenchman took a month or two to grow accustomed to his new surroundings, and his new teammates, but has quickly established himself in the Real Madrid. He has become Zinedine Zidane’s favoured choice at left back, over Marcelo.

Against Alaves, Mendy demonstrated how he has become such an important figure for Real Madrid this season. While the visitors to the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano, where Los Blancos are playing while the Santiago Bernabeu is redeveloped, held their own for the majority of the contest, they struggled to cope with the direct running and dribbling of the French full back.

Time and time again, particularly in the opening 45 minutes, Mendy burst through to the byline and cut back for a teammate. It was only through the wastefulness of those teammates that he was denied an assist, although he did win the penalty kick that led to Karim Benzema’s opener.

Marcelo has been rotated in an out of the Real Madrid starting lineup by Zidane this season, with the Brazilian somewhat rejuvenated by the competition now being provided to him by Mendy. Indeed, the veteran has been able to find better form this season than he did last season, when his decline looked terminal.

But Mendy still offers another dimension over his Brazilian teammate. Zidane wants his Real Madrid side to play an energetic, high tempo game that sees plenty of running and vertical movement from attackers. Mendy embodies this. There are few better currently at the Santiago Bernabeu than him at driving at opponents and forcing them into decisions. From that, opportunities frequently come.

If Real Madrid are to go the distance and clinch only their second La Liga title in eight years, the performances of Mendy will have been a major factor in getting them over the line. The French left back has become a reflection of what Zidane wants to achieve at the Santiago Bernabeu.

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Ferland Mendy continues to improve with every Real Madrid appearance

Before Saturday’s Madrid derby, there was frequent debate over who Real Madrid’s best left back was – Marcelo or Ferland Mendy? The former had been Los Blancos’ first choice left back, one of the best full backs in Europe, for around a decade, but the latter has impressed of late, making his mark since the summer move from Lyon.

Zinedine Zidane’s selection of Mendy to face Atletico Madrid was a show of faith from the French boss in his countryman. Marcelo was left on the bench for the derby, one of Real Madrid’s most significant fixtures of the season so far, and Mendy justified that decision by shining.

Indeed, the 24-year-old was crucial to the 1-0 win which moved Real Madrid six points clear at the top of La Liga with Barcelona set to host Levante on Sunday evening. His drive and energy in moving up the left wing opened up the Atletico Madrid defence and created pockets of space and angles that otherwise wouldn’t have been there.

Of course, Mendy’s most telling contribution came in the assist he made for Karim Benzema’s match-winner, sending in a cross for the French striker to finish first time. The through ball from Vinicius Junior to Mendy was also key, but the left back made the run to give his teammate an outlet.

Zidane deserves some credit for the way Mendy has flourished over the past few weeks and months. The Frenchman suffered a difficult start to life at the Santiago Bernabeu, turning in a number of questionable performances following his transfer from Lyon. But Zidane stuck with Mendy, rotating him in and out of the first team to give him time to improve. Now, he is nearly undroppable for the big games, the ones that matter most.

The improvement of Mendy is reflective of Real Madrid’s as a whole over the course of the season to date. Los Blancos struggled to get going in the early part of the campaign. Zidane might even have lost his job had another defeat followed the shock loss to Real Mallorca. Since then, though, an effective team unit has been forged.

Indeed, Real Madrid have built momentum over the last few months and the form of Mendy has helped them do that. Marcelo will still be rotated in and out of the team by Zidane, but when it comes to picking his strongest side there will be little question in the Frenchman’s mind over who should be at left back.

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Dybala’s brother hints at departure and Juventus linked to OL’s Mendy


Paulo Dybala’s brother and manager Gustavo gave some worrying remarks to the Argentinian’s radio show Fubolemico yesterday: “There is a strong possibility that he leaves Torino, he needs a change of sceneary. He was at ease in Italy, but now he no longer is. He is not comfortable any more, like several other Bianconeri, he will not be the only one to bolt. He does not have any personal issue with Cristiano Ronaldo, but their fit is a problem on the pitch. He is young and needs to play.”

Sticking with agents, the one managing Olympique Lyonnais’ Ferland Mendy talked to Tuttosport about Juventus’ interest: “He has had an excellent season and he is only 23. He has debuted with France and half of Europe is pursing him. Continue reading

Barcelona linked with Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal


La Liga leaders Barcelona have been linked with a shock move for Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal, according to media reports in Spain.

The Spanish international is rumoured to be interesting Ernesto Valverde’s side, in a story by Catalan newspaper Diario Sport, this morning.

Despite tying current first choice left back Jordi Alba to a long term deal at the end of February, cover in the position has been a real concern for La Blaugrana at times this season.

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