Gameweek 27 saw Barcelona get back some form after a decent win against Deportivo at home. More importantly, Alexis Sanchez got back to the scoring sheet with a goal and an assist to Lionel Messi. The Chilean has been at the receiving end for his indifferent form this season but if this match’s anything to go by, then bright days are perhaps in sight.
Barcelona had a strange line-up, with Villa, Tello and Alexis starting in attack, Cesc, Song and Alcantara in midfield and Puyol, Mascherano and Adriano in defense along with Alves. It’s evident that the usual suspects were rested before the crucial home-tie against Milan coming up mid-week. However, the pleasant thing is that Alexis had a great outing. He scored the first with his head from an Alves cross and set up the second for Messi, who came on as a substitute for Villa around the hour-mark.
The team went through a lot of ordeal in the last few weeks and Vilanova’s absence and Roura’s indifference to step-up and assume the mantle of the boss has perhaps cost the team a cup or two. Mascherano, in particular had a great game and might just get the nod to start against Milan.
Real Betis keep up their hope to play in Europe next season after the win against Osasuna, who are just 4 points clear off the drop zone. With 9 yellow cards and a red, this can certainly termed as a volatile match with as many as 36 fouls committed. While Jorge Molina and Ruben Castro got the goals for Betis, Gato Silva pulled one back for Osasuna, but it wasn’t enough. While Molina scored a stunning header and Castro slid past the goalkeeper, Silva’s was a rather simple tap-in.
The inevitable happened. Real Madrid leapfrogged Atletico Madrid and are second in the league table now. Simeone’s side had been a revelation this season and it’s perhaps a little demoralising that with matches against Valencia, Real Madrid and Barcelona coming up, it seems unlikely that they can rise up to the second spot, again. In the match against Sociedad, at home, the hosts looked frustrated and received as many as 5 yellow cards, especially after Prieto scored, just 8 minutes into the second half. With as many as 20 fouls committed, Atletico did not look lively with Radamel Falcao having an off day. Prieto looked offside and perhaps a sense of injustice prevailed.
Real Madrid’s strikers too had a bad day. Higuain and Benzema, despite their talent, haven’t been in the best of forms for quite some time. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace taking his season’s tally to 26. Despite the heroics of Varas, Celta did not do enough to hold Jose Mourinho’s side. Real Madrid rested Alonso, Ramos, Coentrao, Varane and Arbeloa and Celta took advantage of that, only to be rebuffed by Diego Lopez, time and again.
Athletic Bilbao and Valencia aren’t doing well this term and both look unlikely to feature in Europe’s premier cup competitions next season. Having resigned Llorente to Juventus next season, Bilbao are looking to reduce dependency on the lanky marksman and Aduriz has been the regular starter this season. The 32-year old is perhaps a makeshift replacement of Llorente and Bilbao might just have to look outside to fill the void next season. Muniain, who came on as a substitute, scored the only goal of the match. Amidst interest from the likes of Bayern Munich (and Pep Guardiola) for Muniain, Bilbao are looking to brace themselves for a mass exodus next season.
Mikel San Jose had a great game and looked comfortable at his position as a defensive midfielder. While Adil Rami’s lackadaisical clearance allowed Muniain to score from inside the box, Soldado’s impossible miss didn’t help Valencia’s cause wither. Perhaps Fernando Torres in his current form too could have scored the one that he missed from a couple of yards out.
Full Time Results
- Real Betis 2 (19’Jorge Molina, 80′ Ruben Castro)
- Osasuna 1 ( 73′ Gato Silva)
- Rayo Vallecano 2 (9′ Chori Dominguez, 76′ Piti)
- Espanyol 0
- Valladolid 1 (41′ Manucho)
- Malaga 1 (8′ Demichelis)
- Barcelona 2 (38′ Alexis, 88′ Messi)
- Deportivo 0
- Mallorca 2 (16′ & 66′ Alfaro)
- Sevilla 1 (61′ Negredo)
- Athletic Bilbao 1 (80′ Muniain)
- Valencia 0
- Levante 0
- Getafe 0
- Celta Vigo 1 (63′ Aspas)
- Real Madrid 2 (61′ & 72′(p) Ronaldo)
- Atletico Madrid 0
- Real Sociedad 1 (53′ Prieto)
- Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) – 40 goals
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – 26 goals
- Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid) – 21 goals
- Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla) – 14 goals
- Ruben Castro (Celta Vigo) – 13 goals
- Andres Iniesta (FC Barcelona) – 13 assists
- Cesc Fabregas (FC Barcelona) – 9 assists
- Lionel Messi ( FC Barcelona) – 9 assists
- Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid) – 7 assists
- Benat (Real Betis) – 7 assists
- Rakitic (Sevilla) – 7 assists