Preparations continue for the new domestic season across Europe, with friendlies continuing to take place. In the case of La Liga clubs this week tended to see the first of the matches to take place, with managers finally being given their opportunity to assess their summer’s work and see what else is needed before it all begins again. From La Liga, Valencia enjoyed arguably the pick of the friendlies when they took on Turkish champions Galatasaray as part of their VCFonTour. Los Che tend to perform in some high profile friendly matches during their annual tour, and that was as evident as ever when they travelled to Stade St. Leonard for this battle against notoriously tough opposition.
Amidst UEFA’s official ruling yesterday confirming Milan’s disqualification from the upcoming Europa League campaign for breaching Financial Fair Play rules, along with constant rumours swirling over a possible majority takeover from Mediacom chairman Rocco Commisso, the transfer market was the last thing on the minds of Rossoneri supporters.
Yet, in the wee hours of the night, out of nowhere, sudden reports of Milan completing their first signing of the summer struck the web as Gianluca Di Marzio confirmed Croatian midfielder Alen Halilović was already in Milano and ready to undergo medicals ahead of his move to the club. Continue reading
Las Palmas have been relegated from La Liga following a disastrous season and the worry for the club now is how they will bounce back. Alongside Malaga, Los Amarillos have comfortably been the worst side in Spain’s top flight this season with boss Paco Jemez unable to steer them to safety, with just two wins in 20 attempts since his December appointment.
The worry for the Gran Canarian club is that they will need to rebuild their entire squad with a host of summer departures expected, including their eight current loanees of which star striker Jonathan Calleri is one. Continue reading
This week’s game of the week saw mid-tabled Alaves hand out a 4-0 thrashing to the now relegated Las Palmas, as many of their top performers earnt a spot in the team of the week.
After a first half in which the two sides delivered an uninspired, often insipid, 45 minutes. Nobody could have anticipated the flurry of activity that would come after the break.
The dead-heat was broken just six minutes into the second half – as an on loan Munir put the visitors ahead, heading home an easy finish from the centre of the goal after Wakaso did well to keep the ball in play. Continue reading
Seven points separated Las Palmas from Levante – and safety from La Liga relegation – going into Sunday’s crucial clash between the two at Estadio Ciudad de Valencia. It was a make or break game for the Canary Islanders – a win would give them hope of salvation while defeat would surely kill any lingering hope.
With five minutes of normal time remaining, anxiety was palpable around the stadium with the tie tantalisingly poised at 1-1. Then, Levante were reduced to ten men as goal scorer Coke was sent-off. With Las Palmas pushing for a vital winner and the game ticking into injury time, they were hit by a sucker punch from Jose Campana which looks set to end their three-year stint in the top flight. Continue reading
Las Palmas has been a hot bed of inconsistency this season, with issues on and off the field leaving the Canary Island club on the brink of La Liga relegation.
With no win in their last seven La Liga games, Paco Jemez’s side are six points from safety, with nine games remaining.
This run of form has them facing a return to the Segunda Division for the first time since 2015, and the situation could be made worse by some key exits if relegation is confirmed.
Sales have become part of Las Palmas’ strategy since their return to the top flight, selling players each season to balance the books.
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
Relegation is never easy to predict, but as leagues enter into their final stages across Europe, patterns of how things are going to go are beginning to emerge.
In La Liga much of the attention is focused on the top of the table, as Atletico Madrid tussle with Barcelona and the scrap for European qualification spots continues.
However the battle to avoid the drop promises to be just as engaging, with three sides set to fall through the trap door into the Segunda, and four sides still in real danger.
Bottom side Malaga look sunk already, with the Andalusian club currently on 13 points for the season, and on a run of 12 games without a win. Continue reading
Most eyes in Spain will be drawn to the clash between second-placed Atletico Madrid and Valencia, in third. Or perhaps the Catalan derby, or Real Madrid’s trip to Levante. But none of these clashes are the most important of the weekend. That honour undoubtedly lies with Malaga’s trip to Las Palmas – as La Liga’s bottom two go head-to-head on Monday night.
Malaga, the league’s lowest scorers, sit at the foot of the table but only one point behind Las Palmas, who have the division’s worst defence. Going into the weekend they lie six and five points from safety respectively and are in danger of being cut adrift. The reality is they each need approximately 25 points from their 17 remaining fixtures to have a hope of maintaining their top flight status – which works out at a win every other game. They have only won a paltry seven between them this season, while the winter exits of Vitolo and Loic Remy for the Gran Canarian side highlight the state both clubs find themselves. Continue reading
When the news of Paco Jemez’s departure from Mexican club Cruz Azul was confirmed last month, fans of La Liga collectively were put on alert. The 47-year-old had spent a year in the Central American country and Spain’s top flight was distinctly a less joyful place with his absence. The former Spain international has managed six Spanish clubs previously – including a nine-month stint at Las Palmas in the 2010/11 campaign – but is most well-known for his four-year spell in charge of Rayo Vallecano.
Jemez often endears himself to fans for his humour and authenticity whilst his dedication to the principles of high-pressing, high-tempo football sells him to neutrals too. He instructs his players to express themselves, to take risks and to excite the fans. This heart-stopping brand of football can be described as ‘all or nothing’ – a draw is closer to a defeat than a victory, after all. He will be hoping this style of play will benefit Los Amarillos’ attacking talent, such as Jonathan Viera or Loic Remy. Continue reading