The Spanish Weekend Review: Episode 17

This weekend had a bit for everyone. The traditional powers struggled with Real Madrid and Barca grinding out victories, Atletico being foiled by the brilliant Racing custodian Tono and Valencia winning courtesy a controversial penalty. There were goals aplenty along with several ‘upsets’. Bilbao had their winning streak halted by a resurgent Deportivo, although it is possible that they had another eye on the return leg against Barcelona in Copa Del Rey.  Real Sociedad finally lost and that too to relegation contenders Zaragoza. Sevilla somehow managed to win 1-0 courtesy Kanoute’s solo strike and one hopes the victory is just precursor to what is about to come next. Pellegrini lifted Malaga out of relegation zone with a 2-1 victory over fellow relegation strugglers Sporting. Hercules’ troubles seem to be just beginning with a demoralizing 3-0 loss to Mallorca.

Stars of the Week:

Angel Di Maria/Pedro/Adrian

These 3 players are absolutely inseparable as far as their weekend’s performances and their respective values to the teams are concerned.

While Di Maria didn’t score any goal, his performance was truly a sight to behold. He won a penalty and provided a sumptuous assist to setup the second. He could have easily scored a 3rd goal had he been more selfish. More than that it was his commitment to the team’s cause by willing to track back and tackle, that warmed the Bernabeu faithfuls’ hearts. He truly loves playing in the white shirt.

‘Pedrito’ or ‘Little Pedro’ seems a title of the past. This Pedro is no longer a boy.  By scoring twice, he showed that he is a confident young man who can shoulder the responsibility. Although the first goal had a hint of fortune to it, the second one provided ample proof of his class. A first time curling shot from outside the box secured 3 points for his side and kept Barcelona at the top of the table for one more weekend.

Outside the top 2, it was Adrian, whose brace inspired ‘Depor’ to victory over a depleted Athletic Bilbao side, thereby continuing their resurgence. These points could prove invaluable come the end of the season as despite everything it is still doubtful that Deportivo will not be in a relegation dogfight.

‘Pedrito’ has grown up.

Match of the Week:

Real Madrid 3 – 2 Getafe

See-sawing, pulsating and dramatic are the words that can be used to describe this match. After cruising to a comfortable 2-0 lead, Real Madrid looked to be in control. However, they were picked apart by the brilliance of one of ‘their own’. A sublime piece of skill by Parejo reduced the deficit to 1.

After Ronaldo made it 3-1 for Real, it seemed game over. However a late goal by Getafe and expulsion of Arbeloa seemed to jangle some nerves and even Mourinho admitted that it was a tense finish. Overall, Getafe gave the much hallowed Real Madrid a big time scare, although with a bit of help from the referee.

Goal of the Week:

Daniel Parejo against Real Madrid.

Real Madrid seemed to be cruising to a regulation victory over cross town rivals Getafe when lightening struck. Parejo, their ‘cantera’ product, dribbled past one player, then jinked two defenders and finally launched an RPG in the top corner of Casillas’ near post. It was truly a bitter sweet sight for a Madrista, who could not help but feel happy for one of their own, while at the same time see their team’s lead being reduced to half. It takes a considerable amount of skill to beat Casillas at his near post, and Parejo displayed that amply.

Pass of the Week: Angel Di Maria to Mesut Ozil – Real Madrid’s 2nd goal

If this is what a half finished product looks like, then the football world is in for a treat when Di Maria truly blossoms. His darting runs were always his trademark. But the way he has started to score and pass, it seems Real have bought a truly special player. The defence splitting pass to Ozil was truly a sight to behold. The pass was so exquisite that even Zidane and Xavi would have been proud of it. A perfectly weighted ball to Ozil between four defenders made it look even more mesmerizing. It was indeed one of the best passes thus far in the season.

Angel Di Maria: Hallowed be thy name

Watch the pass of the week and goal of the week here.

The Race for the Golden Boot:

1Cristiano RonaldoReal Madrid1719
2Messi, LionelBarcelona1417
3Llorente, FernandoAt. Bilbao1711
3Villa, DavidBarcelona1611

Save of the Week:

Antonio Toño (Atletico Madrid vs Racing Santander)

Toño is undoubtedly the keeper of the week. His bagful of saves kept the Atletico hordes at bay. Of particular note were the saves in the 2nd minute to deny Aguero and keeping out a 37th minute piledriver. Judging by this performance, Toño will have a major say in where Racing finish at the end of the season.

Tono in action

Flop of the Week:

Referees in Real Madrid and Valencia matches

Usually one can say that Mourinho loves to gripe against the referees. However, in this match he can be forgiven for saying that the referees punish Madrid, and his players are judged on different benchmarks than others. A flurry of fouls and cards were awarded against Madrid while the Getafe players were left to roam scot-free. To add salt to injury, Arbeloa was also expelled.

The winner scored by Valencia was so much offside that Juan Mata could have very well been standing in the stands. An absolute shocker of a decision and Espanyol can truly feel that they were robbed off a deserving point.

Team of the Week:

The Team of the Week comprises of top performers of the week from all the teams to have played over the weekend. The following players picked themselves with superb performances for their respective teams.

Antonio Toño (Racing Santander) (GK)

Daniel Alves (Barcelona) (RB)

Marc Torrejón (Racing Santander)  (CB)

Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) (LB)

Xabi Prieto (Real sociedad) (M)

Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid) (M)

Parejo (Getafe)  (M)

Borja Valero (Villareal)  (M)

Ronaldo  (Real Madrid) (F)

Pedro (Barcelona) (F)

Adrian (Deportivo) (F)

46 Responses to “The Spanish Weekend Review: Episode 17”

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  1. La Liga says:

    Alves was absolutely rubbish except for the two assists. I don’t think that they are reason enough to feature in the team of the week.
    Xavi made 156 passes against Levante. Hightest by any mortal till date. Yet he’s not there. Hilarious.
    IMO, Di Maria dived. It was a controversial decision.

  2. Jayant says:

    I’d agree with the comment above that Xavi probably should be there but that said he didn’t have a great start to the game. He did improve once Thiago came on though.
    For me, if any defender from Barca should be there it should be Abidal. Man of the Match for me. Abidal was a rock in defense.

  3. prakhar says:

    @La Liga and @Jayant
    I think Alves actually played quite well. Yes he did have a relatively poor game by his standards, but 2 assists, of which the first was very good is not a laughing matter.
    In the end it was a call between Busquets and Abidal. Taking into account that Busquets was played out of position, with no one to guide him, he did very well and hence was there in Team of the week.
    Xavi complete a lot of passes bt neither of them started a move or was an assist. Against bottom feeders Levante, who were always sitting back, 156 passes don’t mean much.

  4. Jayant says:

    Well I would argue that he was playing practically as a DM and that Xavi’s game is more than pure stats, but I guess in the age we live in I can’t blame you for going on pure stats.

  5. prakhar says:

    It is not just about stats, it is about effectiveness. Xavi didn’t really impose himself on the game like he usually does. Abidal’s bad pass had almost led to a goal and he had given away a penalty which was not awarded. But I guess, we agree to disagree. :-)

  6. La Liga says:

    If Abidal wasn’t included because he almost gave away a penalty, then Di Maria too should be excluded for diving to get a penalty. Now you would argue that Di Maria was really fouled inside the box. However, most feel otherwise.

  7. Jayant says:

    Actually apart from the penalty, Abidal was brilliant and that playing along side a part time CB. Xavi wasn’t at his best in this game but like I mentioned, with Smasch off and him slipping into effectively a DM role, he controlled the tempo of the game quite well.

    I’m probably ok with the Xavi call but on Abidal we shall agree to disagree. :)

    @La Liga – Di Maria dove. There is no doubt about that but he was the best player on the pitch for Madrid.

  8. prakhar says:

    @all. Di Maria dove. But it still doesn’t take away the fact that he was instrumental. Also, it was a close callb/w Abidal and Busquets and I sort of expect a perfect performance from a defender. But jayant said; let’s agree to disagree.