La Review: Messi shows humanity as Sevilla continue to suck
Well, there’s fight in the old La Liga dog yet. The cricket scores that the blog expected in Barcelona and Real Madrid’s home matches against Granada and Levante never materialised, with both sets of opposition players doing their utmost to poop the big boy parties. Villarreal and Celta Vigo continue to give warm tingly feelings by extending fine, sturdy starts to the season, but the warning bells are ringing loud and hard in the Sánchez Pizjuán after a home defeat leaves Sevilla at the bottom of the table.
Messi shows ‘human’ side in Levante win
“There's not a lot human about Messi,” admitted Luis Enrique after Barcelona’s 4-1 victory over Levante. That one part missing from his Borg hive mind (sorry, non-Star Trek-ers) is taking penalties, after the Argentine missed out on a hat-trick with just the two goals and an assist in the win that had to wait until the second half after some fine resistance from the visitors.
There was a whiff of rotation in the air for Barça, as Enrique has to cope with a shortened squad from now until January when the transfer ban ends. Jordi Alba, Luis Suárez, Sergi Roberto and Andrés Iniesta were all on the bench, and all remained there with Enrique using just the single substitution. All the big guns could be needed on Wednesday against a hot-to-trot Celta Vigo.
Barcelona 4-1 Levante
LA LIGA RESULTS
Celta continue sensational start to the season
Although Celta Vigo must be completely tickled pink by Sunday’s 2-1 win at Sevilla on Sunday, there must still be a lot of shin-kicking at last week’s 3-3 draw at home to Las Palmas. That blemish ruined what would have been a perfect start to the season. Instead, it's three wins from four to keep Celta nicely up in the Champions League places and hoovering up enough points to avoid any kind of flirtation with relegation.
Meanwhile, a fairly traumatic start to the season continues for a Sevilla team whose only positive in the loss was Fernando Llorente finally getting off the mark with a trademark header.
Sevilla 1-2 Celta Vigo
Atlético Madrid show title credentials at Eibar
Once again Atlético Madrid are running a stealth campaign, with no one noticing that the team could be top-two contenders should Barcelona’s strained squad suffer yet more shortages and Cristiano Ronaldo takes sudden retirement to enjoy self-portrait painting. Indeed, the Rojiblancos roster is looking positively plump with five forwards delivering goals. Jackson Martínez and Luciano Vietto couldn’t find a way through at Eibar, so Fernando Torres and Angel Correa came on to both score and provide assists for each other.
Eibar 0-2 Atletico Madrid
Madrid moans over non-demolition of Granada
An indifferent result for Real Madrid, a tough one for Granada but a good day for La Liga in that what was expected to be close to the 9-1 demolition of last season ended up being a fairly tight 1-0 victory at the Bernabéu. Even Marca and AS sided with the underdog in this game, with the latter's Alfredo Relaño calling it a “moral victory for Granada,” after a dubious offside call for an opposition goal.
LLL was pleased as punch for the immensely astute Granada coach, José Sandoval, a gentleman with whom the blog spent a happy hour watching him go over tactics and plans on an iPad in his Rayo days. The man himself was a in a grump after the game, though, saying that the club underestimated his team by having a poll on the website about how many goals Madrid would score, although that is probably the work of sponsors as opposed to the minions of Mordor themselves.
A quick note on the General Assembly that Real Madrid had for members on Saturday. Florentino Pérez pointed out that he had “won everything it’s possible to win,” and that anyone who shows any form of dissent is a traitor to the Real Madrid cause.
Real Madrid 1-0 Granada
Murmurs of discontent in Mestalla as Valencia battle against Betis
Who’d have thunk it! Trouble at t’mill for Valencia, with a big booing of the players and a call for coach Nuno to be kicked out after a goalless draw with 10-man Betis to follow home defeat to Zenit in the Champions League. However, Valencia being Valencia, the dissatisfaction is more to do with an institutional turf war between factions behind the outgoing president over the summer, Amadeo Salvo, and the Peter Lim-Jorge Mendes clan currently in charge of the club. This is a saga building up speed rather quickly.
Valencia 0-0 Real Betis
Villarreal coping with weekly double dates
Two teams facing gruelling Europa League campaigns, but two teams that are coping with them in very different ways. That was the story of Villarreal facing Athletic Bilbao. The Basque side showed their intent in the game by leaving Aritz Aduriz and Raúl García on the bench, severely hampering the visitors in the goalscoring department. Not an issue for Villarreal, though, in a very rotated squad from Thursday for a 3-1 win that sees the Yellow Submarine in third, having dropped just two points from four games.
Villarreal 3-1 Athletic Bilbao
Getafe benefit from slim pickings against Málaga
That was probably a very long night for the spectators in the Coliseum. (Lucky there wouldn’t have been too many of the poor souls.) At least Getafe fans would have been happier having seen their side pick up its first three points of the season with a 1-0 win over Málaga, but the goal came within a couple of minutes of the match starting, meaning that the whole match experience may not have been a great one.
The Málaga massif would have been really upset, though, stuck on the barren fringes of Madrid on a Friday night and their team now without a goal in four games. However, Javi Gracia was ruing the fact that his team had not played anyone that was either a bit rubbish or just not bothered. “We have taken on two Champions League teams, a third was against an Eibar in good form and now a side desperate to win.”
Getafe 1-0 Malaga
Two wins for Spain’s second-favourite teams
Those of a more romantic nature in La Liga would have enjoyed away wins for Sporting and Rayo, after slow starts to the season. Sporting beat Deportivo 3-2 in a match where all the scoring was over after 34 minutes. Meanwhile, Rayo held onto a 1-0 lead at Las Palmas to keep the dressing room nice and calm, according to Vallecan boss Paco Jémez.
Deportivo La Coruna 2-3 Sporting Gijon • Las Palmas 0-1 Rayo Vallecano
More misery for Moyes at Real Sociedad
Real Sociedad 2-3 Espanyol