As it was the opening day of the new season in La Liga, the action was back on as the teams started their campaigns show their supremacy over one another. However out of all the action packed weekend, we will look at 3 teams who we believe ended up the first La Liga week as a real winner and 3 teams who ended up as the real losers.
Sporting Gijon features in the first place in our elite list of winners in the week 01 in La Liga season 2015/16. Sporting Gijon had a stern test first week against 10 times Champions League winner and Spanish giants Real Madrid, where anything but a defeat should have been considered as a victory. Sporting Gijon throughout the match looked like a team who was disciplined, and were willing to stay on the toes throughout the match.
Madrid in the 2nd half tested Sporting defence to the maximum, and had more than 25 shots on goals, out of which most of them were taken care of by the Sporting defence. Sporting also probably had the best chance of the game, where they were denied by the linesman when the ball struck inside of the bar and there was confusion if the ball landed on the line or over the line. All in all, Sporting were the surprise package of the week and were worthy of being placed in the top of our winners list.
Barcelona features in the list of winner even after unimpressive show, mostly down to the fact that they faced the same opposition against which they recently lost the Spanish Super Cup in a comprehensive manner. Barcelona were made to work hard as Athletic Bilbao were not ready to give up their stern grip on the opposition.
Messi also missed the penalty in the 31st minute, which made the case worse until Luis Suarez came to Luis Enrique’s side rescue with a 54 minute strike, which proved to be enough for the reigning Champions. The match should give Ernesto Valverdo a lot of hope in the coming season, as he will look to finish one better that what Athletic finished last time around.
Last in the list of the winners for the first week in La Liga 15/16 season is Rayo Vallecano, who held Valencia to a 0-0 draw at Campo De Futbol De Vallecas. Rayo Vallecano showed the kind of attitude that was needed to face a giant in the league, which paid dividend as they remained extremely competitive throughout the match.
Paco’s team looked relatively settled throughout the match and had a far more share of possession than their rivals, and had the same amount of shots on target and off target as well. Many would argue that Valencia’s intensity was not up there as their eyes were set on the Champions League qualification clash with Monaco, but it’s Rayo Vallecano who will finish first week as a winner in the elite list.
Real Madrid feature as the top team in the loser’s list for La Liga Week 01. Rafa Benitez men were outright favourites to get the job done, but after having more than 25 shots on goal, Spanish giants were unable to break the deadlock that proved costly in the end. Los Blancos looked far lesser threatening in the absence of their star striker Karim Benzema. The decision to play Jese as the men in front of the goal did not pay dividends.
Modric and Kroos along with Isco looked threatening throughout the game, but it was Gareth Bale, who looked like the real go to men after being played in his new position. Even though he did not complete the job for the new boss, but he was one the positives that came during that match. With 2 of their bitter rivals winning in the first game, Benitez will have to come with new ideas if he is to challenge Barcelona and Athletico for the Title.
Valencia also features in the losers list this week after their more than disappointing show against Rayo Vallecano in the first week of La Liga season 15/16. Valencia had a relatively easy away fixture, but their performance lacked intensity and Rayo Vallecano managed to put on a really impressive show. Rayo Vallecano kept more of a possession and made sure that Valencia’s attack was neutralized with the slow game play. For a team who will participate in the Champions League this season again, a performance like that will be a severe blow in a bid to qualify for the Europe’s elite competition this season again.
Villarreal is the last team to feature in our elite list of losers for the Week 01 in La Liga this season. Villarreal had a competitively easy fixture with the newly promoted Real Betis, but it proved anything but that. Betis dominated the game from the right go and stats shows that they were bitterly unlucky to come out with just a point in the match. Villarreal looked nervous and were not at the same level as people associate with yellow submarine.
The lost possession more times, were far below in the possession, have nearly 60% less shots on goal compared to Real Betis and so on. All in all, for a team who had a more than decent performance last season, their performance was not up to the mark and they would have to improve pretty much everywhere to reach the same level where they were last season, if not better.
The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.