Tag Archives: Atletico Madrid

Are Real Madrid now La Liga favourites?

Due to Liverpool’s Premier League dominance this season, many fans have cast an eye over European football in the search of a title race. It looked like a fantastic one was forming in Germany, with Bayern Munich stumbling through the campaign and all of Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Borussia Mönchengladbach showing impressive form.

Unfortunately, the appointment of Hansi Flick by the Bavarians turned out to be a stroke of genius, as they put together an incredible run only losing twice in the Bundesliga between 9th November and the end of season. The 1-0 win over Dortmund after the season’s restart all-but-killed the title race with six games to go.

Serie A was also shaping up very nicely, with Inter Milan and Lazio giving Maurizio Sarri’s ailing Juventus side a run for their money. Juve have since improved slightly but that tile race is very much still on. It’s Juve’s to lose, however, as they’re now four points ahead of Lazio with 10 games to go and eight points ahead of Inter.

The closest major title race now appears to be in La Liga. Unfortunately, it’s only a two-horse race and it’s between two of the biggest teams in the world. In a similar style to Bayern, Real Madrid started the season horrendously but now appear to have found some impressive form.

They sit two points ahead of Barcelona having played the same amount of games. Los Blancos have won their last five La Liga fixtures and put themselves in a great position to win their first title since 2016/17. It would also serve to keep Barcelona at arms-length in the fight to have the most La Liga titles in the history. If Zinedine Zidane’s men can deliver the title this season, they’ll have 34 titles in comparison to Barcelona’s 26.

In terms of the run-in, Barcelona have a very tough couple of games coming up. They’re home to Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night and then have an away trip to sixth place Villarreal. After that, however, the fixture list looks more desirable. They have the derby vs bottom-side Espanyol at the Camp Nou, followed by a trip to 14th place Real Valladolid. Next up is a home game vs Osasuna who sit in 11th and they round off the campaign away at 16th placed Alaves.

Real probably have the toughest fixture list out the two sides but not by a clear margin. They have three games that could be very difficult. The first is at home to fifth placed Getafe. That game is followed by a trip to San Mames to play Athletic Bilbao. A more appealing home match against Alaves is followed by the visit of Villarreal to the Santiago Bernabeu. They finish the season away at Leganes.

Barcelona have made a stuttering restart to the season, with draws against Sevilla and Celta Vigo allowing Real to claim top spot. Quique Setien’s inability to get the best out of Antione Griezmann is starting to cause fractions at the club. As well as this, the recent swap deal involving Arthur and Miralem Pjanic now means that one of Barca’s key midfielders is likely disgruntled at being forced out the club that he had no initial interest in leaving.

Beyond this title race, Barca seem to be a club in turmoil. Their recent transfer dealings have been questionable to say the least. Their wage bill is full of wasted talent that it will be hard to offload in a Covid-19 effected transfer market. Lionel Messi seems to look more unhappy game by game and the majority of the first choice eleven are heading well into their mid-30’s. It’s this ageing squad factor that makes the Arthur and Pjanic swap deal even more unusual. Arthur is 23, and Pjanic is 29.

Less and less players seem to be graduating from La Masia to any great effect in the first team, with Ansu Fati the current exception. Just in the past few days it’s been announced that promising academy full backs, Marc Cucurella and Marc Jurado, will be leaving the club.

Real Madrid seem to be riding the crest of a Karim Benzema’s inspired wave right now. The French forward has come into his own as the club’s main man since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure. The return of Marcos Asensio from a lengthy injury spell has given them a new attacking option, and the youthful Vinicius Junior is starting to fulfill his considerable potential.

If Barcelona were to deliver a third successive title to Catalonia, there’s a very real chance that it would merely paper over some very big cracks at the club. Setien hasn’t settled in as expected, and the squad is in need of a major overhaul.

A title for Real on the other hand may be the springboard for another era of dominance. While their squad still has some players the wrong side of 30, it looks in better shape than their fierce rivals.

La Liga Match Day 30 Preview: Tough Fixtures for the Top Two and a Relegation Six Pointer

La Liga’s blistering return to our screens continues over the coming weekend, with Barcelona and Real Madrid both facing tough away tests. There’s also a huge game at the foot of the table.

Table toppers Barcelona will be looking to strengthen their grip on the title but face a difficult trip to Andalucía to face Sevilla on Friday night. The Catalans secured a comfortable 2-0 victory over Leganes last time out, which took them up to 64 points but Real Madrid are not far behind. There’s just a two point gap between the teams following Real’s impressive 3-0 home win over Valencia on Thursday night.

Since the restart Sevilla have comfortably dispatched city rivals Real Betis 2-0 and laboured to a 1-1 draw with Levante. Despite that draw, however, they still sit in third place and are on track for Champions League football. The situation is still very tight behind them though, with just five points separating them in third and Villareal in seventh place.

Real’s difficult away game meanwhile comes at Real Sociedad, who, just like Sevilla are embroiled in the hunt for Champion’s League football. Their entertaining brand of football coming up against the superstars of Real Madrid should make for a fascinating encounter. Despite such a difficult start to the campaign Real know they’re in with a great chance of snatching the title back from Barcelona. With nine games to go however, they can’t afford any slip ups.

Two other teams involved in the race for Champion’s League football are Atletico Madrid and Getafe. They both have very winnable looking home fixtures this weekend. Diego Simeone’s side host 14th placed Real Vallodolid, who look like they’ve almost amassed enough points to avoid a relegation battle this season.

Atleti currently, however, are the lowest scorers of the top eight sides with just 37 goals. This lack of potency in attack means that home games against stubborn mid-table sides can become very frustrating for Diego Simeone’s men. This means an early goal could be vital. They found their shooting boots last time out by beating Osasuna 5-0 away from home. Getafe’s presentable fixture meanwhile is against 16th placed Eibar, who are only three points above the drop zone.

There’s a proper relegation six-pointer on Friday, as 18th placed Mallorca host bottom side Leganes. Mallorca currently have 25 points, while Leganes sit on 23. There’s a risk for Leganes that they could soon see themselves cut a drift, but a win on Friday would breathe new life into their campaign.

Here is the full fixture list:

Friday 19th June:

Granada vs Villareal 18:30 BST

Mallorca vs Leganes 18:30 BST

Sevilla vs Barcelona 21:00 BST

Saturday 20th June:

RCD Espanyol vs Levante 13:00 BST

Athletic Bilbao vs Real Betis 16:00 BST

Getafe vs Eibar 18:30 BST

Atletico Madrid vs Real Valladolid 21:00 BST

Sunday 21st June:

Celta Vigo vs Deportivo Alaves 13:00 BST

Valencia vs Osasuna 18:30 BST

Real Sociedad vs Real Madrid 21:00 BST

La Liga Preview: Seville Derby Kicks-off restart

After a break of three months, La Liga will resume this week with all eyes on the race for the title between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

After Madrid’s El Classico victory over Barcelona, the Catalan club’s lead at the top of the table has been cut to only two points. It isn’t just at the top of the table that remains interesting, there is plenty of interest in the battle for Champions League qualification, with just five points separating third placed Sevilla and seventh placed side Valencia.

At the bottom Espanyol, Leganes and Mallorca are separated by just five points with Celta Vigo and Eibar perilously close to danger.

The action resumes behind closed doors on Thursday when Sevilla entertain Real Betis.

Before the break Sevilla had picked up a useful point at Atletico Madrid with Real Betis gaining a well-deserved home win against Real Madrid. Real Betis have certainly struggled on the road this season, picking up just a single victory on their travels.

The hosts will be without Nemanja Gudelj who is currently serving a one match suspension, whilst Betis continue to be without Juan Lopez who is expected back in action shortly.

On Friday Getafe travel to ninth placed Granada.

Getafe certainly enjoy playing away, having picked up 21 points so far on the road. Before the break both sides picked up a point apiece and both teams have two victories out of their last five games played.

Granada could well be without as many as five regular players for Friday nights game with Antonio Puertas serving a one game ban and Angel Montoro doubtful alongside long-term absentees Alex Martinez, Quini and Neyder Lozano.

The visitors will be missing a trio of players due to suspension. Nemanja Maksimovic, Jaime Mata and Mauro Arambarri all are serving a one game ban with Filip Manojlovic out with a back injury.

Also, on Friday Valencia host Levante at the Mestalla Stadium.

Valencia will be looking to get back to winning ways again after just one win in their last five games-  a 2-1 victory over Betis, whilst Levante will be hoping to improve their dismal away record which currently stands at 11 losses on the road.

In the previous five meetings between the sides Levante have still yet to take a point of Valencia.

The hosts will be without Geoffrey Kondogbia due to suspension with Ezequiel Garay sidelined with a knee injury. For the visitors Ivan Lopez will miss the match due to a knee problem.

Four matches are scheduled for Saturday, with the action commencing with basement club Espanyol entertaining Alaves.

The hosts, who have managed just a single victory at their headquarters this season are up against 14th placed Alaves who have won just twice on their travels.

The home side will go into Saturday’s encounter without Diego Lopez who is serving a one game suspension, whilst Joselu will be missing for the visitors due to suspension.

Celta Vigo, who are only a single point ahead of the bottom three, face Villarreal at Abanca- Balaidos.

The home side go into the game on the back of no win in their last five, whilst Villarreal are winless in their last three games.

Vigo will be without Sergio Alvarez, who is still out with a meniscus injury. As for the visitors, they will be missing Rueben Pena through suspension, with Bruno Soriano, Ramiro Mori and Ramiro Guerra all out through injuries.

Struggling Leganes host Valladolid on Saturday evening at Estadio Municipal de Butarque.

In the last three meetings between the sides Leganes hold a record of two wins and a draw.

Leganes go into the game on the back of their last match before the enforced break which was a 2-1 victory against Villarreal.

Saturday will also see Barca travel to Mallorca in the last match of the day.

Despite an unblemished home form, Barcelona have struggled on their travels this season picking up 18 points from 13 matches.

In their last three meetings between the sides Barcelona have hit 14 goals, with Mallorca replying with just two.

The hosts will be missing Lumor Agbenyenu and Leonardo Koutris through injuries with Clement Lenglet out for Barca due to suspension.

Athletic Bilbao take on Atletico Madrid in the first of three games on Sunday.

The home side will go into the game with bags of confidence having won their last two matches against Vallodolid and Villarreal. Madrid are certainly becoming the draw specialist on their travels- so far having picked up seven- and three victories.

The visitors have doubts for Sunday game with Angel Correa, Joao Felix and Sime Vrsaljko injured along with long term Dario Poveda who is out for the season.

Second place Real Madrid take on Eibar on Sunday at the Bernabeu.

Madrid who are currently unbeaten at home will be strong favourites to take all three points having beaten Eiber four times in their last five meetings between the sides, however Real go into the game having had only one win in their last five games. Eiber have only one win in their last five games and that was against Levante.

Gareth Bale is a doubt for the home side, with Nancho Fernandez and Luka Jovic out. For the visitors, Gonzalo Escalante misses the match due to suspension.

The final match on a packed weekend of La Liga action sees Real Sociedad entertain Osasuna.

Fourth placed Sociedad are on fire at the moment having won four of their last five matches before the break.

Ander Guevara is a doubt for the hosts with Osasuna coming into the game without potentially as many as seven players.

24/7 football Weekly transfer round-up

Hello and welcome to the 24/7 Football’s weekly transfer round up.

English Premier League is all set to return from 17th June amid the pandemic and the games are to be played behind the closed doors. Despite the pandemic, the football operations haven’t come to a halt and has filled the football world with the rumors.

The traditional top six will be looking to end their season with European spots whereas the newly promoted sides apart from Sheffield United will be looking to avoid the relegation. However, these factors will not stop the rumour mill from discussing potential gossip and deals surrounding footballers.

Here are the top transfer rumours of the week

1) Chelsea close in on Timo Werner

After a quiet transfer window in 2020, Chelsea are expected to reinforce their side with few quality signings. Frank Lampard’s side have reportedly closed in on signing the RB Leipzig striker, Timo Werner, after triggering the €60 million release clause for the German striker.

 

The move to Stamford Bridge will come as a surprise for the Liverpool fans as they expected German striker to sign for the Anfield outfit. However, it is learned that the release clause was the major deterrence for Liverpool to sign the German international.

Also Read: CHELSEA LOOK SET TO SIGN TIMO WERNER FROM RB LEIPZIG

2) Gunners reportedly agree personal terms with Thomas Partey

According to the reports published in football.london, Arsenal have agreed personal terms with the Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey.  The midfielder has been a long term target for the three-time Premier League winners and reports are suggesting that Arsenal have made the breakthrough in the transfer.

 

The Ghana international has been phenomenal for Rojiblancos and their manager, Diego Simeone is a huge admirer of the player. He has asked the club to give a new contract to the player and extend his stay at the Spanish capital. However, Arsenal remain determined to sign the midfielder and increase their midfield options.

Despite the speculations, there is one major roadblock for Arsenal to sign Thomas Partey. According to Goal.com, Thomas Partey has asked for Champions League qualification before agreeing to sign for the Emirates-based outfit. So the major question remains, can Arsenal seal the deal for the Atletico Madrid midfielder?

3) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer targets Argentine wonderkid

It is no brainer that Manchester United have turned their attention to sign the prodigies and wonderkids across the globe after they saw the effectiveness of Daniel James, Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams in the Premier League. The low-risk signings have been a notable shift in Manchester United’s transfer policy and are expected to continue in the upcoming transfer windows.

 

According to Todo Fichajes, Manchester United are interested in signing the Argentine wonderkid, Thiago Almada from Velez Sarsfield. The player has a €22 million release clause and the Red Devils are willing to pay the hefty sum for the teenager’s signature. However, it has been revealed that Manchester United are not the only club looking to Almada but Arsenal, Manchester City and Atletico Madrid are also interested in the teenager. With this in mind, can the United Chief-Executive, Ed Woodward lure the player to Stretford End?

What is the state of play in Spanish La Liga?

Following the successful return of the German Bundesliga on May 16, the next of the leading European leagues to restart following the COVID-19 pandemic is the Spanish La Liga.  So how was it left when play was suspended on March 12?

Current situation

Well to start with Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid had just suffered a surprise defeat at Real Betis to hand the initiative back to reigning champions Barcelona.

The Catalan side currently hold a two-point lead over their fierce rivals, who remain in second.  The last time the league leaders played was on March 8, when they secured a hard fought 1-0 win over fourth place Real Sociedad thanks to a Lionel Messi 81stminute penalty.

Real Sociedad, however, bounced back just a few days later to secure a 2-1 win away at relegation threatened side Eibar moving them back up to fourth.

Atletico Madrid meanwhile, had wasted a 2-1 advantage at home against fellow Champions League hopefuls, Sevilla as they were ultimately held to a 2-2 draw.   The club from Seville currently sit third but are only two points ahead of Diego Simone’s side which is sixth.

The league’s surprise package so far this campaign has been Getafe, Jose Bordalas’s underdogs are fifth and have not only enjoyed league success but had also just knocked out last seasons Champions League semi-finalists, Ajax, to progress in the Europa League.

At the other end of the table, Barcelona’s local rivals, Espanyol, had suffered a 1-0 defeat against Osasuna leaving them six points from safety. Leganes and Mallorca are the other teams that currently make up the bottom three; however, Celta Vigo, Eibar and Real Valladolid remain very much in danger.

Next fixtures…

The league is set to resume on Thursday June 11 with the Seville derby between Sevilla FC and Real Betis. On Saturday June 13, league leaders, Barcelona are due to travel to face strugglers Mallorca, while Real Madrid will be looking to get their faltering title challenge back on track when they meet Eibar on Sunday June 14.

The plan is for the Spanish sides to complete their 11 remaining fixtures in just over a month, which would mean finishing on July 19.

La Liga chief Javier Tebas also spoke of plans to give a tribute to those who have died from the pandemic.  Fans will be encouraged to create audio recordings of themselves applauding the victims, which will be played in the 20thminute of each match.

Tebas said:

“Fans make football so special, and as they cannot be in the stadiums, we have created this initiative so they can play a part in the return of the competition and show their support for the heroes of COVID-19.”

How to watch?

La Liga fixtures will be available to watch free on Sky and Premier Player online for free throughout June.