La Liga Talking Points – Who Will Be Kings of Madrid?


Welcome to La Liga Talking Points, a weekly column running throughout the season in which we take a look at the key stories and talking points from Spanish football’s top flight. With an inevitable focus on the biggest teams, such as Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona, there will also be a worthwhile nod toward the rest, we take a look at how the league is shaping up each week and what to look out for going forward.

Hardest Game to Call this Weekend – Sevilla – Barcelona

Following a disastrous start to the season by the Europa League champions Sevilla finally picked up their first win of the season last weekend on the fifth time of asking, beating Rayo 3-2 at the Pizjuan.

Unai Emery will be dismayed by the poor start of the season by his team, who ended last year not only as Europa League winners for the 2nd consecutive season, but with a respectable 5th place finish in La Liga.

Their form hasn’t improved in Europe however, losing 2-0 at home to Juventus on Wednesday night. Fernando Llorente and Vitolo are both doubts, with Yevhen Konoplyanka and Kevin Gameiro competing for their place as a result.

FC Barcelona meanwhile will be buoyed by their comeback victory at home to Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday. Sergi Roberto and Luis Suarez came to the rescue to keep their elite ambitions for the Champions League alive.

The squad remains bare thin however, with Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi are the high-profile injury absentees for the visitors, while Thomas Vermaelen and Rafinha will also miss out.

Munir could come into the attack on the right-hand side, while Javier Mascherano is expected to step into midfield. Marc Bartra could retain his place in defence, while Claudio Bravo may return to league action after a lengthy lay off.

Saturday poses a huge test for Luis Enrique’s squad. Granted Sevilla have been poor, but without Lionel Messi Barcelona are undoubtedly not going to be as ominous an opponent.

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A draw seems the likely outcome for Saturday’s clash.

Who Will Be Kings of Madrid?

It’s now two consecutive losses for Diego Siemone’s men, following their 1-0 loss to Benfica in the Champions League.

The hypothesis for now seems to be a team in transition under Simeone. The Argentine manager has looked to slowly change Al Atleti to a more aesthetically pleasing side, but for now there seems to be some hiccups along the way.

The fixture list will be as testing as ever for Atleti in the coming weeks with a trip to the Anoeta followed by a visit of Valencia.

Real Madrid fans will still be reeling from their missed opportunity to stay top of the league, following their 0-0 at home to Malaga last weekend. The draw saw them drop to 3rd in the table and two points behind leaders Villareal.

In Europe however, Madrid remain on course for a comfortable qualification to the knockout stages; winning 2-0 away to Malmo midweek courtesy of a brace from the inevitable Cristiano Ronaldo.

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    Celta the Real Deal?

    Celta remain in high spirits following their sensational 4-1 win over Barcelona, but last week’s 1-1 draw wit Eibar was a return to reality for the Galician based outfit.

    Eduardo Berizzo’s side go into Friday’s match in superb form, having yet to taste defeat after six La Liga games so far. While the Barcelona victory will stand out, it is results such as 2-1 away at Sevilla which underpin the quality of Celta so far.

    Friday poses a tough test of Celta’s mettle. Having been held to a draw by Eibar last time out it is up to the Andalusian’s to prove they are the real deal, and are worthy of a place in the upper echelons of the division.

    Yellow Submarine to Stay Afloat?

    What a few years it has been for Villareal; relegated just three seasons ago, the small side now lead La Liga, revived from the pain of their past.

    Villarreal have recorded three consecutive wins in La Liga, with Marcelino’s side one of the early season pacemakers. Furthermore, the away side have only conceded one goal during the same period.

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    It is rather unreasonable to expected the Yellow Submarine to remain at the top of the table for much longer. The chasm in finances between the club who play at El Madrigal and the obvious elite is too large.

    Yet, for now, they shall stay at the top, given the depths of quality their hosts are currently lacking.