La Liga: Best 11 Players of Week 10

Barcelona lost their 3rd game of the season and they are now down in 12th position and 12 points behind current leaders Real Sociedad. Sociedad have won 70% of their games so far and have pulled out a 3 point lead at the top.

Real Madrid could only draw 1-1 away to Villarreal and Atletico Madrid have gone 2nd after beating Barcelona. Let’s see if any of your players made the team of the weekend below.

Goalkeeper: Jan Oblak- Atletico Madrid 7pts

Jan Oblak kept his sixth clean sheet of the campaign and one of the most important ones as Atletico Madrid overcame Barcelona 1-0 at home. Oblak had to make 5 crucial saves and now has 42 points overall.

Defender: Kieran Tripper- Atletico Madrid 5pts

Kieran Trippier has been one of the best defenders in Spain this season and has really grown as a player with Atletico Madrid. He helped to keep a clean sheet and shut out Barcelona.

Defender: Nacho Monreal- Real Sociedad 5pts

Real Sociedad won a tough game 1-0 over Cadiz and Monreal really put in a shift to keep the newly promoted side at bay. Monreal has kept 4 clean sheets so far this season and is valued at 8.5m.

Defender: Felipe- Atletico Madrid 5pts

Felipe is the 3rd best ranked defender in the league and helped to keep a 5th clean sheet for Atletico Madrid. This game at the weekend was more impressive given that he shut out Lionel Messi and co, as they beat Barcelona 1-0.

Defender: Zaldua- Real Sociedad 5pts

Not many defenders picked up points over the weekend in La Liga and the best defending teams have been Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad. Zaldua played well and maintained the back line superbly. He has only managed to start 2 games this season but could see that increase with this performance.

Midfielder: Yannick Carrasco- Atletico Madrid 5pts

What a game for Yannick Carrasco who scored the only goal of the match to beat Barcelona 1-0. Carrasco had just been booked and his game didn’t look so good but a few minutes later and just before half time he scored. He has scored 2 goals this season and now has a total of 17 points.

Midfielder: Gonzalo Melero- Levante 4pts

Levante drew 1-1 with Elche and Gonzalo Melero scored the opening goal of the game for Levante. He also put in a good shift in midfield and distributed the ball well. His value is worth 6m.

Midfielder: Angel Correa- Atletico Madrid 4pts

Angel Correa has appeared in the team of the week on many occasions and he has been a solid player for Atletico. He played a very pivotal role for the club as they overcame Barcelona 1-0 and at times kept Messi quiet.

Midfielder: Adnan Januzaj- Real Sociedad 4pts

Adnan Januzaj provided his first assist of the season as Real Sociedad beat Cadiz 1-0. He is the 2nd best ranked midfielder for the club and has 20 points overall now.

Striker: Oscar Plano- Real Valladolid 6pts

Oscar Plano opened the scoring for Real Valladolid as they beat Granada 3-1. He also set up the clubs 2nd goal and had an overall brilliant game away from home. It was Plano’s first goal of the season.

Striker: Lucas Perez- Alaves 6pts

Alaves were expected to lose to Valencia and sprung a surprise by drawing the game 2-2. Lucas Perez earned six points by assisting in the first goal for the club and then converting a penalty. The striker has scored 2 goals so far this season and his value is 4m.

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West Ham show their ambition in the transfer window

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Last season’s transfer windows were hugely underwhelming for West Ham supporters. To put how poor they were into context, just three of the players acquired –Marko Arnautovic, Chicharito and Pablo Zabaleta- will continue to represent the club’s first team this campaign, with only one of them a certain starter. The contrast between that one and this is incredible. Deadline day signings Lucas Perez and Carlos Sanchez, from Arsenal and Fiorentina respectively, takes the number of additions to 10, with the majority of them likely to at least push for a first team place.

These two transfers targeted two longstanding problem areas: depth upfront and in midfield. The eight previous names added to Manuel Pellegrini’s talent pool will also cause excitement for Hammers. In defence Lukasz Fabianski is a much-needed goalkeeping option, Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena will battle it out for a starting spot at centre back and Ryan Fredericks adds pace at full back. Jack Wilshere offers creativity in midfield following his free transfer. In the attacking areas, Xande Silva is a future prospect to keep an eye on, Andriy Yarmolenko will help add to the Hammers’ goal tally and there is of course record signing Felipe Anderson joining from Lazio, with the promise of keeping fans on the edge of their seats.

After last season’s debacle, which almost led to relegation and the response to it from supporters, especially during the 3-0 loss to Burnley, there was considerable pressure on the West Ham owners to change their approach during this window. With the appointments of Pellegrini as manager and Mario Husillos as director of football, there has been a lot more direction in the club’s recruitment this time around.

The significant thing about this for supporters –aside from the obvious fact that this should help better performances on the pitch- is that this is the first sign of what they had been promised upon their arrival at the London Stadium. When the club left Upton Park, David Gold, David Sullivan and Karren Brady promised that the move would take West Ham United to another level, with the stadium playing its part in attracting new talent.

It is impossible to pinpoint one aspect that has improved the club’s fortunes regarding transfers this time around; the appointment of Pellegrini and Husillos pushing moves through, pressure from supporters forcing their hand or a natural realisation from the owners that player recruitment needed to change. Whatever the reason, the important thing is that this has been addressed, and while it doesn’t guarantee success on the pitch, it should help the club towards their aspirations of eventually challenging for European places.

Even more importantly though, this will help to bring more of a feel-good factor to the Hammers, which has been so clearly missing since the move from Upton Park. This could bring much needed improvement for what has been a frosty relationship between the supporters and owners. When seeing the reactions from Newcastle fans towards Mike Ashley and his decision to not spend the desired sums of money yet again this summer, it is difficult to think what the reaction would have been in East London if past windows had been replicated, when last season’s protests are considered.

With attributing factors both on and off the pitch, it was imperative that West Ham had a successful summer transfer window ahead of the 2018/19 season. While the accomplishments can only be truly measured once the season has begun, the impression is that the club has spent well this summer. As the Hammers start their campaign on Sunday, in an away match against Liverpool, we can expect to see around six of the new recruits in action and while matches like this won’t define a season for a club such as West Ham, it will give a slight indication as to what the club has bought.


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Los 5 mejores delanteros de la jornada 10 en la Liga

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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

Arsenal win Champions League group amidst a positive season so far


The thumbs up and grin on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s face said it all- for the first time since 2011 his team had topped their Champions League group at the expense of French champions PSG. Arsenal had done it in style in the end by thrashing a very tricky Basel side 4-1 in Switzerland.

Over in Paris, PSG were reeling because they were the huge favourites to win the group- all they had to do was beat bottom placed Ludogerets- a team they despatched with ease 3-1 a few weeks ago. But nothing doing at the Parc des Princes. PSG fell behind and only an injury time goal by Angel Di Maria saved the French sides blushes, that match ended 2-2.

This win has been the culmination of a very good season so far for the Gunners. They are 2nd in the Premier League table and have lost just one game all season. Indeed the North Londoners haven’t lost a match since August. They are also scoring goals- 33 so far and only Liverpool with 35 have more.

Tonight Wenger opted to play Lucas Perez and the 28 year old Spaniard repaid his boss with a hat trick. And this is the thing, Arsenal has so many options now, one could see them going far in every competition they compete in.

As far as the Premier League is concerned here is a competition that the Gunners have not won since 2004, and with the competition on offer it will be incredibly hard for Arsenal to be raising that trophy come next May. Chelsea are looking irresistible as league leaders- though Arsenal are just three points behind. However there is the ever looming threat of Liverpool and Manchester City both clubs are just a point behind Wenger’s men.

In the Champions League Arsenal will be hoping that the fact they did not lose a game in the group stages is a good omen. The last time they did that they went all the way to the final in 2006 where in the end they were unlucky to lose to Barcelona who at that time were just emerging from their slumber to become one of the all time great club sides.

Of course it may not be all rosy for Arsenal even as group winners. Bayern Munich, Benfica and Borussia Moechengladbach are all potential teams that they could meet in the knock-out round. And then there is the pair off tomorrow night between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. Whoever loses that game will finish second.

But Arsenal and Wenger will and should remain positive, because despite not being the team that spends the most and being written off each season, there is an edginess about the team and a winning mentality lacking in previous seasons that could well see them pick up some meaningful silverware this season.

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Perez can prosper for Arsenal

Euro 2016

Since the sale of Robin Van Persie to Manchester United four years ago, Arsene Wenger has sought to sign a quality forward but has been thwarted in his efforts to do so on several occasions.

Perez possesses many qualities

However in the instance of Wenger’s pursuit of Lucas Perez, that has ended successfully, with Arsenal signing the 27-year-old striker from Deportivo La Coruna for £17.1m.

In capturing Perez, who is as yet uncapped at international level, Wenger has acquired a player who possesses an excellent all – round game and is well suited to Arsenal’s attractive style of play.

A superb finisher with great movement, Perez also links up and integrates well with teammates, whilst he is also adept at creating goal – scoring opportunities.

Perez vital to Deportivo’s fortunes

He consistently displayed each of those attributes for Deportivo last season, as in addition to scoring 17 goals in La Liga, Perez provided assists for another 10.  That meant that Perez was directly involved in 60% of Deportivo’s 45 La Liga goals, as he was instrumental in helping the club avoid relegation.

Before signing a permanent deal with Deportivo last August, Perez moved to the Galician club on loan from PAOK Salonika for the 2014-2015 season during which he scored six goals in 21 La Liga appearances.

Spells in Greek & Ukrainian football aid Perez’s development

As such over the past two years, the late developing Perez has performed consistently well in Spain, prior to which he enjoyed a fine season with PAOK.

In scoring nine goals in 32 Greek Super League appearances, Perez helped PAOK finish the 2013-2014 campaign as runners-up, whilst he represented great value for money for the club as they signed him for just €700,000 from FC Karpaty Lviv, with whom Perez spent two-and-a-half seasons.

In total for the Ukrainian club, he played 60 times and scored 15 goals, one of which was a penalty against PAOK in the two team’s 2011-2012 UEFA Europa League Play – Off round tie.

To date that is one of four goals Perez has scored in European Competition, with the other three arriving during his time with PAOK.

Outset of Perez’s modest career

As well as playing for Deportivo in Spain, Perez began his professional career with Atletico Madrid C in 2007, before moving on to Rayo Vallecano two years later.

Initially Perez played for the Madrid – based club’s reserve side, before being promoted to their first team during the 2010-2011season during which he scored his first La Liga goal to help Rayo to a 3-0 home win over Real Vallodolid in November 2010.

Despite that Perez was allowed to leave Rayo and join Karpaty Lviv on a free transfer, as his development as a player gathered pace during his time in the Ukraine.

Subsequently although Perez’s career is modest relative to that of Arsenal’s highest profile players, such as Petr Cech, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, having played throughout Europe the Spaniard has gained great experience, which will serve him well when representing the Gunners both domestically and in Europe.

Perez can become a success at Arsenal

The nature of Perez’s game, in the sense that it is characterised by his ability to link – up play, whilst creating and scoring goals, means that he undoubtedly has the potential to prosper at Arsenal, where the player’s technical ability will be fully appreciated not only by his new manager and team mates but also by the club’s supporters, who have long craved a striker of his quality.

Former La Liga champions Deportivo avoid relegation on final day

Deportivo La Coruna earned a 2-2 draw against La Liga champions Barcelona to secure their survival on the final day of the domestic season. The Blue and Whites were 2-0 down to Barcelona, but pulled off a miraculous comeback that has kept them in the division against all odds. While supporters and players rejoiced after securing survival, the contrast in yearly objectives over the last decade is staggering.

10 years ago, Deportivo were competing in the Champions League, and did the league double over Real Madrid. Times have changed considerably, with two top-flight relegations suffered (2010/11 & 2012/13), and points tallies all below their usual 60-point marker. Prior to the more current dark days, Deportivo were competitors in the division, regularly finishing strong in the top-half of the table, and performing well in European competitions.

Deportivo even won La Liga title in 1999/2000, and were runners-up the following season, which also saw them make it to the Champions League quarter-finals – navigating their way past Juventus (Italian Serie A), Paris Saint-Germain (French Ligue 1), AC Milan (Italian Serie A), and Galatasaray (Turkish Super Lig). Victories in the league against Barcelona and Real Madrid were not uncommon given the talented squad they had at their disposal, but they are light years away from those heady heights.

In recent years, survival has been a trophy in itself, and finishing level on points with Eibar, who suffered relegation, is a situation supporters must be distraught to be in. Deportivo will be remembered by many supporters as the surprise package side who dispatched of such heavyweights as Bayern Munich (German Bundesliga), Manchester United (English Premier League) and AC Milan (Italian Serie A) in the European competition in 2003, and their reputation was greatly enhanced as a result.

Past glories will serve them no good now. Survival has been accomplished, but there is little guarantee as to whether Deportivo can survive again next season. Goals were incredibly hard to come by over the course of the campaign, with their top scorer Lucas Perez managing just 6 goals. Few stood out in the Deportivo side, and manager Victor Sanchez pulled off a miracle keeping them afloat after being given just a month in his new job to secure their top-flight status.

Sanchez was in the side that won the 1999/2000 title, and is now managing them during a delicate period. There are not many top sides who have suffered such a high-profile fall from grace as the White and Blues, but for now they can enjoy their survival.