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
Vicente Iborra looks set to return to La Liga, after 18 months with Premier League side Leicester City, with Villarreal is likely destination.
Iborra, who won three Europa League titles during his time at Sevilla between 2013 and 2017, was signed by The Foxes to bolster their midfield options following the exits of N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater, to Chelsea.
The move was heralded as Leicester moving in the right direction after big name departures, as the 2015-16 Premier League champions saw off a number of interested parties to get the deal over the line.
Villarreal begin their Europa League campaign against Rangers on Thursday night, and the Yellow Submarine need a positive result to kick start their La Liga campaign.
Javier Calleja’s side finished the 2017-18 season strongly, winning four of their last six La Liga games to seal a fifth place finish, and Europa League football for 2018-19.
However they have not been able to pick up where they left off at the start of the new campaign, with two defeats and a draw in their first three league matches.
That miserable run was ended last weekend, with a much needed 1-0 victory away at Leganes, but the issues remain.
The first weekend of the season in La Liga saw Real Madrid, Barcelona, Levante, Real Socieded, Sevilla, Huesca and Athletic pick up victories, while Valencia and Atletico Madrid shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw. Let’s take a look at which players could shine for their clubs this weekend.
GK – Oier (Levante)
Oier was one of five goalkeepers in La Liga to pick up seven points at the weekend, helping Levante win 3-0 away at Real Betis. Valued at 5.50m with a promising set of fixtures coming up, the 28-year-old could be worth looking at.
Seemingly with each transfer window that passes, the amount of money being spent by leagues around the world continues to soar. In the Premier League and Serie A alone, clubs have combined to collectively spend a mind numbing 2,159,150 billion euros this summer. In comparison, La Liga sides have been more prudent, spending a combined 689,920,000 million euros. Indeed, much of the attention garnered by the league this window has centered around the players who are departing Spain.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus naturally hoarded most of the oxygen, as Real Madrid lost one of the best players in the world and undoubtedly the sport’s most marketable star. Many have wondered what the ramifications would be to the league as a whole, however that has not stopped other clubs from making history with their acquisitions.
Eight clubs have broken their transfer fee record so far this summer (Alaves, Atletico Madrid, Eibar, Espanyol, Girona, Huesca, Rayo Vallecano and Villarreal), proving that many clubs are financially healthy and willing to compete. Nevertheless, there has still been a flurry of shrewd signings that could prove to outperform the fee they were originally purchased for.
Without further adieu, let’s take a look at three players who could pleasantly surprise for their clubs this upcoming season.
Daniel Wass (Valencia) – It has been a relatively quiet window for La Liga’s biggest surprise team of last season. First year manager Marcelino orchestrated an incredible turnaround for Valencia, guiding the club to a 4th place finish on 73 points — just three behind 3rd placed Real Madrid. Going into the summer, the primary objective of Los Che was to hang on to their on-loan stars — such as Geoffrey Kondogbia and Goncalo Guedes — who were instrumental in the teams ascension. While Guedes’ future is still anything but certain, Valencia were able to iron out a deal to keep Kondogbia at the Mestalla long-term.
Nevertheless, Marcelino was steadfast in his determination to improve the depth of his squad and he did just that with the signing of Daniel Wass from cross country rivals Celta Vigo. At a bargain price of €6m, Valencia have secured an incredibly versatile player who can fill in at both full back positions and across the entirety of midfield.
The right side of the midfield was a particularly thorny issue for Marcelino a season ago, but he now has the services of the experienced Dane, who featured over 100 times the past three seasons and became a mainstay in Galicia.
Takashi Inui (Real Betis) – Another surprising outfit from a season ago was none other than Real Betis. After a difficult stretch, Los Beticos righted the ship to finish an impressive 6th in the table. In an effort to build on that, Quique Setien’s side have been very busy shopping with a particular focus in the bargain aisle.
Seeking out quality players with expired contracts, Betis was able to find a gem in the form of Japan international Takashi Inui. After a sparkling World Cup, in which he scored twice and became one of his nation’s most beloved players, Inui decided to burn his commitment to Eibar and instead move to Andalucia on a free transfer.
The Japanese winger played 34 times for Eibar in La Liga last year, notching five goals for the offensively challenged side. At 30 years old, Inui will now feature for a setup that harbors ambitions of qualifying for the Champions League under the tutelage of a manger renown for his attacking style of play. In what is likely the last big contract of his career, Inui will be determined to show that his performance in the World Cup was merely just a preview of what’s to come.
Gerard Moreno (Villarreal) – Who ever said mistakes can’t be undone? Three years ago, Villarreal sold Gerard Moreno to Espanyol for 50% of his rights and a poultry fee of 1.5 million euros. The forwards departure hardly made waves at the time, yet Moreno would prove to be one of the league’s most productive bargains over the course of his stay in Catalunya.
The Spaniard was especially potent a season ago, as he bagged 16 goals in La Liga, only three fewer than Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann. Moreno’s prowess in front of net was imperative in saving Espanyol from potential relegation. Scoring nearly 50% of his sides goals, Moreno was the attraction for Los Periquitos.
Villarreal were undoubtedly impressed; setting a club record by splashing out 20 million euros in order to retain his services. The pressure will be on Moreno to replicate his form, yet all signs point to the 26-year-old continuing to grow into his own. Finishing fifth last year, Villarreal will hope to do one better this time out and land themselves an automatic Champions League spot. With Moreno leading the line, they should have every opportunity to make their dream turn into a reality.
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Villarreal have been busy during the close season period, and the Yellow Submarine have spent €70 million on new players ahead of the 2018-19 La Liga season.
There have also been a number of big name exits from the club in recent weeks, with highly rated young midfielder Rodri departing for Atletico Madrid.
However manager Javier Calleja has secured his key targets ahead of the new campaign, and they looks set for a strong season.
The main new face at El Madrigal is striker Gerard Moreno, who comes in from Espanyol for a fee of €20 million.
La jornada número 10 no ha quedado marcada por ser la más goleadora, sin embargo destaca el hecho de que todos los equipos, salvo dos (Athletic y Betis), hayan anotado al menos en una ocasión. Estos son los 5 mejores delanteros de esta jornada liguera y los arietes que han ofrecido el mejor rendimiento durante el fin de semana. Continue reading
El trofeo Zarra vuelve a dar de que hablar. ¿Quién será el máximo goleador español? El Pichichi parece claro que se lo disputarán entre Suárez, Messi y Ronaldo. Pero… ¿y el gol nacional? Por ahora, la clasificación está del siguiente modo. Pero, ojo, porque siempre hay sorpresas: un mala racha o una lesión pueden resultar muy negativas, mientras que un par de semanas inspiradas o un triplete puede voltear todo en un abrir y cerrar de ojos.
Iago Aspas – 14 goles
El gallego está cuajando, una vez más, una campaña espectacular con el Celta y es su referencia ofensiva. Ya ha despertado el interés de Lopetegui y sigue ganando enteros para continuar en la Roja a base de goles. Son goles, ¡y golazos! Pero lo más importante, decisivos para su equipo.
Gerard Moreno – 11 goles
El catalán ha batido todos sus récords y está cuajando una temporada espectacular. Su mejor marca estaba en 7 tantos, esta campaña puede doblarlos si mantiene este promedio. El Espanyol mira de reojo Europa con su ariete titular.
Sergi Enrich – 10 goles
Otro jugador que está despuntando. El balear es el máximo goleador del Éibar y es una pieza clave en las aspiraciones de los armeros en esta temporada. El equipo se encuentra en una situación tranquila de la tabla gracias a sus tantos.
Muy de cerca, les siguen con 8 goles otros jugadores con perfiles y roles muy diferentes. Pedro León se está hinchando a marcar goles con el Éibar, aunque su demarcación sea el centro del campo; Aduriz, que a pesar de estar lastrado por las lesiones y por la edad, sigue demostrando su olfato de gol; Rubén Castro, otro delantero al que no le pesan los años; y Álvaro Morata, que pese a ser habitual verle en el banquillo, lleva más goles que el delantero al que suele sustituir: Benzema.