Footie Forever
Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Quick hits - Liga week 20

(Should have put this before the previous post, but oh well)

What a week! Action, controversy, and above all, GOALS galore! Our Madrid side looked lethargic early on, but came back and put away pesky Cadiz (see the goals footage below). Let's take a look at some of the other interesting happenings around the league.

Getafe 5 - Espanyol 0 Holy bejesus, a five-goal outburst from the south Madrid side against the very team that knocked them out of the cup a couple weeks ago! It was Getafe's best ever goal output in the Primera, and served to further boost the reputation that has grown around Pernía, the nationalized defender who is now getting serious consideration from Aragonés, as well as Valencia, who look set to swoop in and sign him. His second goal, a free kick from a good 35-40 meters out was simply unbelievable (I am working on getting a video for you).

Depor 2 - Mallorca 2 My how the mighty falling. Depor, one of the teams I had been touting just a couple short weeks ago once again had an inordinate struggle at home against one of the lower sides, this time squandering a comfortable-looking two nil lead in the space of four minutes. Far more worrying for the gallegos was the loss of their spark and best player, Valerón to a knee injury that will sideline him for at least half a year. This is another blow to Spain's WC hopes, as Valerón was really finding his groove again and looked set for a re-call.

Real Sociedad 3 - Athletic 3 The Basque derby was a wild one, with la Real jumping out to a two-zero lead before the half behind their little Turk talisman Nihat (so, does this mean he is staying??), only to see Athletic climb back to square things up with two second half goals by their new signing Aduritz - looks like a great signing, to be sure. Real, however, re-took the lead just a minute later behind a nice goal by Skoubo, only to see Athletic claw back in injury time with a goal by Iraola. Both teams are straggling in the standings, especially Athletic, and it will be interesting to watch their progress in the second half of the season.

Betis 0 - Valencia 2 David Villa has booked his trip to Germany. It is that simple, my friends - he is playing well and this weekend scored two GREAT goals against punchless Betis. I like his touch and saavy in the box, and his finishing skills are impressive. Great signing by Valencia. Betis, despite the result, is still floating (just) above the relegation positions, but they will be another team to watch, as relegation is a distinct possibility.

Racing 2 - Sevilla 3 Sevilla had a couple of non-existent penalties (one surely, anyway) to thank for this result.

Villarreal 2 - Osasuna 1 See the Sevilla commentary above. Seriously, what has happened to Villarreal is a serious topic of debate these days, but I think they will be fine, actually. They are simply going through the rough part of their schedule and coming up against some hot teams. Osasuna, meanwhile has to be feeling a bit snake bitten, having played well enough the past few weeks to earn more points than they have. Raul Garcia (remember that name - he is only 19) scored a terrific goal from well outside the box, surely earning himself more looks from some of the big teams.

Zaragoza 0 - Atlético 2 My record for touting teams seems to be faltering... Zaragoza had a nice streak going but looked bad against a desperate Atleti that had not won since October. Nice play by Maxi Rodríguez put an end to that drought, though, as Atlético earned itself some much needed points. Perhaps a recovery similar to Madrid's is in the cards with their recently promoted manager.

Barcelona 2 - Alavés 0 Not much to say about the leaders' stroll against the bottom club. The scoreline was actually quite flattering to the losers, as Giuly hit the woodwork three times and Ronaldinho missed a penalty. Still, not having Deco, Etoo, and especially Xavi in the lineup is going to take its toll. There are at least some occasions that Barcelona look vulnerable, or at least something approaching "occasionally beatable," despite their now 18 game win streak.

Teams in form
Valencia - Now up to 2nd in the league, they have put together an impressive streak of clean sheets and are also looking like firm, firm candidates for a CL spot.
Real Madrid - Found a way to win against a scrappy side that had them against the ropes. Their play and results have shown dramatic improvement from a month ago.
Celta - Not really in form, so to speak, but still lying an unexpected and respectable 7th in the table.
Barcelona - Keeps rolling 13 consecutive league wins (18 in all competitive matches).
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The Table

1 Barcelona 55
2 Valencia 49
3 Real Madrid 48
4 Osasuna 46
5 Sevilla 41
6 Celta 39
7 Villarreal 38
8 Deportivo 37
9 Atlético 35
10 Zaragoza 33
11 Getafe 30
12 Racing 27
13 Real Sociedad 25
14 Espanyol 24
15 Athletic 22
16 Alavés 22
17 Cádiz 22
18 Mallorca 22
19 Betis 22
20 Málaga 20


Etoo 18
Villa 15
Ronaldinho 12
Diego Milito 12
Ronaldo 10
Tristán 9
Riquelme 9
Güiza 8

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