September 30, 2009

Barca, Madrid Look Human; Sevilla not far behind

Through the first five games of the young Spanish league season, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have quieted critics and find themselves tied, on a perfect 15 points apiece, at the top of the table. With that being said, Sevilla, who have rebounded from their first week loss, have won their last four and will play host to the aforementioned Madrid this Sunday. The biggest test of the year for Los Blancos while a chance for us to see if Sevilla can establish themselves as league contenders.

Two teams many considered serious contenders are still without wins five games into the season. Atletico de Madrid has struggled defensively, conceding away their first victory of the season in stoppage time at home against Almeria midweek.; however, in a similar fashion, Maxi finished home a sloppy Valenica clearance two minutes from time to salvage a point at the Mestilla on Saturday. Valencia on the other hand has given away four points in the last five minutes of their last two games, mistakes that are unacceptable for a talented team with desires to compete for a top European spot next season. Athletic Club Bilbao has come down to earth, losing their last two after an impressive start with victories in their first three games. Xerez picked up their first ever point in the Spanish top flight after an impressive nil-nil draw at Espanyol. Malaga has lost four straight after an impressive opening day win against the aforementioned struggling Atletico while Mallorca continue to play nearly flawless football. Asides from a couple weakly conceded goals mid-week against Sevilla (a game in which they really held their own on the road), Mallorca has been impressive thus far.

This upcoming weekend will bring us many intriguing matches right before a two-week break as players report for international duty. The aforementioned Sevilla vs. Real Madrid will surely be the game to watch, and I am going to say that Madrid’s lackadaisical form in the back will finally prove deadly as they are upset in the Andalucian capital. I know it may sound like an echo at this point but I have both Aletico and Villarreal recording their first wins of the season. Elsewhere, look for Mallorca and Deportivo to continue on form while Xerez will follow-up their first La Liga points from last week with their first La Liga victory this Sunday.

Tenerife 1 – Deportivo 3
Atletico de Madird 2 – Real Zaragoza 0
Barcelona 3 – Almeria 0
Getafe 2 – Osasuna 1
Valladolid 1 – Athletic Bilbao 1
Villarreal 2 – Espanyol 1
Racing Santander 0 – Valencia 1
Xerez 1 – Malaga 0
Sevilla 2 – Real Madrid 1
Sporting Gijon 2 – Mallorca 3

As for the prediction standings… El Partido Maravilloso took a beating the last week while Tim Stannard from Four Four Two’s La Liga Loca blog had a phenomenal set of predictions. La Liga Tickets Online neglected to put up predictions for the midweek games so their picks for the weekend’s matches were just doubled. The number in the parenthesis is, of course, number of game scores picked exactly right to serve as an end of the season tiebreaker.

1. FFT 28 – 22
2. EPM 24 – 26 (4*)
3. LLTO: 24 – 26 (2*)

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