La Liga Gameweek 8: Winners/Losers – Moyes Under Pressure

t was another feisty week of full weekend after a two week international break, and here we are once again discussing the winners and losers from the game day 8 in the La Liga BBVA.

Winners

 Celta Vigo

First in the list of winners for the game day 09 in the La Liga BBVA features Eduardo Berizzo’s Celta Vigo, who managed to win a tough away fixture against Marcelino Garcia Toral’s Villareal.

In a tough fixture away from home, the winning team was on the ball straight away, and took away the lead in the 40th minute. However, a red card right after the 1st half, went in the favor of the visitors.

But even then, visitors had to grind it hard and got the winner in the last minute of the regular time. Eduardo Berizzo would be glad to take away all 3 points back home from a match where he would have been pleased to even get a point from this fixture.

Atletico Madrid

Next in the list of winners for the game day 09 in the La Liga BBVA features Diego Simeone’s Athletico Madrid, who managed to win a crucial match away from home to stay in the title’s race.

In a match where the defense of the visitors was put to test, Simeone’s men came out with flying color and manage to register a comprehensive win on the road. Star of the show for the visitors was Frenchman Antonio Griezmann, who is proving to be a real star for the Spanish giants this season.

Barcelona

Last in the list of winners for the game day 09 in the La Liga BBVA features Luis Enrique’s Barcelona, who thrashed Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou.

The most impressive thing about Barcelona’s victory was the fact that Luis Enrique’s side is currently under pressure due to different injuries, but they didn’t let that affect their squad at the weekend.

Star of the show for the home side was Brazilian star Neymar, who stood up in the absence of Lionel Messi and get past 4 times against a crumbling Vallecano’s defense. A win would have given a much needed belief to the defending champions, who were facing tough times after being put under pressure after injuries to different players.

Losers

Villareal

First in the list of losers for the game day 09 in the La Liga BBVA features Marcelino Garcia’s Villareal, who lost to Celta Vigo at home, which saw them sliding down to 5thin the league.

Garcia’s men were top of the table just a few weeks back, but after consecutive defeats there is a lot to think for the manager as to what he should do to turn it around.

However, there is some positive sign for the home team, as their resilience after going a goal down and getting down to 10 men, Garcia’s men were able to come on equal terms and nearly got a point in what was a tough fixture at home. Garcia will hope that the kind of character that was shown by his team even after going a goal down will help them turn around their form in the weeks to come.

Real Sociedad

Next in the list of losers for the game day 09 in the La Liga BBVA features David Moyes’s Real Sociedad, who suffered another defeat and the pressure is mounting on the Welshman after his side’s poor start to the season.

Moyes will be bitterly disappointed in a match where his team had most of the possession, had more shots on goals and had more corners, but couldn’t able to capitalize on the chances. Moyes knows that the time is running out for him and he needs to turn it around quickly if he has to stay in charge of the club for a long time.

Eibar

Last in the list of losers for the game day 09 in the La Liga BBVA features Luis Mendilibar’s Eibar, who will be bitterly disappointed after controlling most of the match after taking an early lead, but lost 2 crucial points because of an error from Spanish Goal Keeper Asier Riesgo, which lead to the equalizer. Mendilibar’s side remained pretty much in the control throughout, and the manager will hope that his players will learn a lesson or two from the draw, and will be able to put up a more disciplined performance in a tough fixture when they will visit Camp Nou next weekend.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

La Liga Gameweek 7: Winners/Losers – Barcelona Suffering

Match Day 07 in the La Liga BBVA featured some close games, some upsets and some predictable results, which was worth watching for, especially before a two week International Break. Here we are summing up the action from match day 07 in  La Liga BBVA in our winners and losers reviews of the week.

Winners:

Sevilla

First in the list of winners for the match day 07 in the La Liga BBVA features impressive Sevilla, who managed to pull off a great win against defending champions Barcelona at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. The home side took full advantage of the injury prone Catalan’s side, who looked out of sort for most of the part. It was Sevilla’s 2ndconsecutive league win, which now sees them sitting in the 12th spot, 2 points clear of the relegation zone. The star of the night for Unai Emry’s men was Danish left winger Krohn – Dehli, who provided an assist and scored a goal in a 2-1 victory over the Spanish giants.

Getafe

Next in the list of winners for the match day 07 in the La Liga BBVA features resilient Getafe, who managed to get a draw against a Celta Vigo side, who thrashed Barcelona few weeks ago at the same venue. Getafe went into the match knowing very well that they would have to show the attitude of real resilience to get anything out of it, and their defensive line did just that. The star of the show for the away side was Goalkeeper Guaita, who managed to pull off some great saves to keep a clean sheet, which proved to be enough for the Fran Escriba side to take a hard fought point back home.

Levante

Last in the list of winners for the match day 07 in the La Liga BBVA feature impressive Levante, who managed to pull off their first win of the season, and that too came against the league leaders, Villareal. The home side was given a big favor in the 36thminute, when the Villareal left back Jokic was sent off, that proved the turning point in the match for Lucas Alcaraz’s men. Hero of the match for the home side was the young Brazilian striker Deyverson, who scored a late winner for Levante who climb two positions up to the 18th, after clinching their first win of the season.

Losers:

Barcelona:

First in the list of losers for the match day 07 in the La Liga BBVA features defending Champions Barcelona, who is now clearly suffering from the lack of depth in their squad on the back of a lot of injuries in the recent past. Luis Enrique’s side was below par in a battle where they did not look like a team that won the treble last season. Injuries to Iniesta and Rafinha exposed their depth in the squad, and the departure of Pedro to Premier League giants Chelsea already seemed a bad deal, as there are no replacements available in case of an injury to any one out of MSN. Neymar was the standout for the Catalans, as he had very little support from Luis Suarez, who had an occasional night off.

Celta Vigo

Next in the list of the losers for the match day 07 in the La Liga BBVA features Celta Vigo, who couldn’t break through the defense of Getafe in what was an expected victory for the home side, especially considering their performance against the defending champions at the same venue. Eduardo Berizzo’s men remained in total control of the match throughout, but even after having 18 shots on goal, out of which 7 were on target, Celta couldn’t able to break the resilient defense of the visitors, which dented their hope to reclaim the top spot in the league this week.

Villareal

Last in the list of losers for the match day 07 in the La Liga BBVA features league leaders Villareal, who even after their first defeat of the season, finished the week at the top of the league, mainly thanks to a draw in the Madrid Derby. Marcelino Garcia will be bitterly disappointed after losing a match against a side, who were at the bottom in the league, and was still on a hunt for their first victory. The visitors had to face a setback in the 36th minute, when Slovenian left back Bojan Jokic received a red card, and the visitors were down to 10 men with nearly an hour left to play. Garcia’s men tried all they could to get a point to take back home, but it was a late goal from young Brazilian striker Deyvorson, which proved enough to end a near perfect run for the visitors.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

Tops and Flops on Champions League Day 02

Second Match Day in the Champions League has come to an end, and it was nothing less than two nights of a spectacular set of matches that viewers had the opportunity to see. Here we are back with the Tops and Flops from the UEFA Champions League from the Match Day 02.

Tops:

Olympiacos:

First in the list of Tops for the Match Day 02 in the UEFA Champions League is a real Surprise! And that surprise is Olympiacos, who defeated Arsenal at Emirates in a surprise result. Olympiacos were heavily under-dogs going into a match, as Arsenal were desperate for a win after a loss in a first match. In a match that was highly dominated by the home side, Olympiacos defended well throughout with sheer resilience, and a bit of luck that helped them talking the lead thrice, out of which they were successfully defended the lead third time, which was enough for them to take all three points back home, which can prove a pivotal role in advancing to the round of 16.

Benfica

Next in the list of Tops for the Match Day 02 in the UEFA Champions League is another surprise in the form of Benfica, who managed to beat 2013/14 finalist Athletico Madrid at Vicente Calderon.

Going into the match, Benfica was tipped as under-dogs since Athletico was in more than a decent form in the buildup to this match. However, in the match where Benfica was dominated throughout the match by the home side, it was the winning team’s defensive line that deserved all the praise, especially former Brazilian Goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who had more than a decent performance between the sticks. Gaitan was the star man upfront for Rui Vitoria’s side, as the Portugese teams are now in a commanding position to qualify for the next round, after earning maximum points from the first two matches.

Manchester City

Last in the list of Tops for the Match Day 02 in the UEFA Champions League is English giants Manchester City, who managed to win a crucial away match in Germany against Borussia Moenchengladbach. In a match where City were desperate to win, Manuel Pallegrini’s men were looking for a leader to step up and take the team across the line, and it was none other than Goalkeeper Joe Hart, who stood up for the blue side of Manchester and made a crucial save in the 20th minute. Even after countless attacks, City went behind in the 54th minute, and all looked a little too bleak for the Pallegrini’s men, as they again looked set to go out from the early stage of this competition. However, an own goal from Andreas Christensen and a penalty in the 90th minute from Segio Aguero sealed a crucial victory for the Pallegrini’s men on the road, which can go a long way in taking them through the group stage this season.

Flops:

Arsenal

First in the list of for the Match Day 02 in the UEFA Champions League is English giants Arsenal, who is now facing a group stage exit, after losing 2 out of 2 matches, and that too against oppositions many thought Arsenal would be hands down favorite to win again. Arsene Wenger opted to play David Ospana in place of Peter Cech, which raised many eyebrows, and seeing the performance of Ospana, brought more misery for the Frenchman, who refused to give answers as to why he did not pick Cech in such a crucial match if he was fit. Arsenal would be gutted to not being able to convert 18 shots on goals, out of which 9 were on target. Home side dominated the visitors throughout the game, but it was the Gunners defense, which was the real cause of concern for Wenger, who now have to face Bayern in back to matches, in a situation where his team needs to win at least 3 out of the last 4 remaining matches.

Chelsea

Second in the list of for the Match Day 02 in the UEFA Champions League is another English giants Chelsea, who lost to Porto in what was a below par performance from the defending English Champions, who were the deserving loser’s on the night against an energetic Porto. Mourinho’s men were beaten on the night when he dropped Hazzard and Matic on the bench. The visitors by pace, in the physical department and were slow to react defensively, as Julen Lopetigui’s men were deservingly winners on the night when Mourinho came back to face the team with which he managed to win the Champions League back in 2004.

Chelsea’s problem in defense and in the central defensive midfield was evident once again, as Mourinho looks short on defensive options and the need of John Stones seems ever more evident for the blues if they are to make any significant progress this season.

Athletico Madrid

Last in the list of for the Match Day 02 in the UEFA Champions League is Spanish giants Athletico Madrid, as they suffered a shocking defeat against Benfica at home. Diego Simeone’s men were outright dominant throughout the match, but they failed to convert the chances. Athletico took the lead in the 23rd minute but failed to capitalize on it, and were poor on the defending front. Griezmann had another star performance for Simeone’s side, as he looked a part for the men in red & white. Martinez had another disappointing night for his new club, as he still did not look the kind of player he was once at Porto. For Simeone, it’s another setback which he will like to get over, and will try to get his team back on track in La Liga after back to back defeats in the week.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

La Liga Gameweek 6: Winners/Losers – Madrid Flop

With 3 matches in a week, the action La Liga BBVA is heating up and teams are looking to cement their place in the top half of the league. With the action heating up, so is our winners and losers from match day 06 in La Liga BBVA.

Winners:

 Malaga

First in the list of winners for the Match Day 06 in La Liga BBVA features Malaga, who managed to get an impressive nil – nil draw at the Santiago Bernabue against a star studded Real Madrid. This result becomes even more impressive looking at the fact that the visitors had to play last 10 + minutes with 10 men. Star of the show for visitors was their man between the sticks, Carlos Kameni, who managed some crucial saves, along with the Captain Weligton, who proved to be the real leader in crunch times, which proved vital as Javier Garcia men took a point back home, which would have felt nothing less than a victory.

Villareal

Second in the list of winners for the Match Day 06 in La Liga BBVA features the new league leader Villareal, who continued their impressive start to their new campaign with a 1-0 victory over Athletico Madrid. Before the match, there was a sense that Villareal might be able to upset the former League Champions, and the doubts were turned into a reality when an early goal from Leo Baptistao proved enough for the yellow submarine to earn all three points. The real star of the show for the home side was their Goalkeeper Areola, who managed some crucial saves for the winning side. A win also meant that Villareal is now top of the league, a point above Barcelona, which is an achievement itself for Garcia Toral side, and he would hope that this will make way for a return to European competition next season.

Sevilla

Last in the list of winners for the Match Day 06 in La Liga BBVA features Unai Emery’s Sevilla, who finally managed to get their first win of this new campaign. Before the match, Unai Emery was under pressure as his side was in the relegation zone, but a crucial win at the weekend means that his job is safe for now. The match was pretty much evenly balanced, as both teams had plenty of shots on goal. However, it was the winner from the substitute Konoplyanka in the 86th minute, which proved the deciding goal of the match. Unai Emery will hope that this win will kick start their new campaign, and he will look to get back into the top half once again with more impressive shows in the matches to come.

Losers

Real Madrid

First in the list of losers for the Match Day 06 in La Liga BBVA features Real Madrid, who once again looked toothless in their attacking game, for which they were renowned for. After having more than 25 shots on goals, and with more than 10 shots on target, Benitez has some serious work to do before El Classico and Madrid Derby. Cristiano Ronaldo couldn’t get his 500th professional goal, whereas a lot of chances went missing for the Los Blancos. With a draw, Madrid has also lost the top spot to Villareal, and is now placed at 3rd, behind Barcelona.

Athletico Madrid

Second in the list of losers for the Match Day 06 in La Liga BBVA features another Madrid giants in Athletico Madrid, who lost a crucial away game against Villareal away from home. Coming into this match, Diego Simeone’s man was in a pretty good form of late, and were hoping to at least take a point back home from a difficult fixture. However, their attacking performance was once again questioned by the Villareal defense, as a goal in the 14th minute proved enough for the home side to grab all three points. New signing Martinez had a disappointing night, as Simeone will hope for a better show from his new singing in the matches to come.

Real Sociedad

Last in the list of losers for the Match Day 06 in La Liga BBVA features David Moyes’s Real Sociedad, who were held at home for a nil – nil draw by a struggling Athletic Bilbao. Sociedad manager David Moyes was under serious pressure couple of weeks back, and he would have been hoping to get a better result in a home fixture, that too against a team that looked short on confidence on the back of some poor results. However, the home side were unable to break the deadlock and couldn’t convert to any significant chance throughout the match. Moyes will hope that his strikers will come to the party in the matches to come, as he will look to steer the ship towards safety once again this season.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

La Liga Gameweek 4: Winners/Losers – Betis Flying High

Match Day 04 in La Liga had some delicate touches, and had some nasty battles as teams tried to get as many points as possible. We will talk about all the important actions in our weekly Winners and Losers from the La Liga Match Day 04.

 

Winners:

Real Betis

First in the list of winners is a surprise inclusion in the form of Real Betis, who continued their impressive start of the season after earning a hard fought draw at Mestalla stadium while playing away from the home. The importance of the draw even become more significant considering the fact that Pepe Mel side had to play nearly all of the 2nd half with 10 men after midfielder Daniel Ceballos received 2ndyellow of the match in the 48th minute.

The star of the show for the away side was their center back Heiko Westermann, who, along with Goal Keeper played a hugely significant part in what could prove to be a precious point at the end of the season.

 

Celta Vigo

Next in the list of winners for the match day 04 in BBVA La Liga features Celta Vigo, who won an impressive game away from home against 2 time consecutive Europa League winner Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium. Sevilla always proved to be a tough opponent to deal at home, but Eduardo Berizzo’s men were up to the task and were two nil up inside the first 30 minutes of the match, which proved enough to seal all three points for the away side.

The star of the show for the winners were their left sided attacking Spanish midfielder Nolito, who had an assist and a goal to his name in a famous away victory for the sky blues, as they will look to push for a spot in Europe next season.

 

Atletico Madrid

Last in the list of winners for the match day 04 in BBVA La Liga features Diego Simeone’s Athletico Madrid, who once again showed their true color in an away match against Eibar. Simeone’s man looked totally in command throughout the match and were in full command right from the beginning. Simeone’s man had more possession, more shots on goal, and look absolutely in command, both defensively and offensively.

The most pleasing thing for the Spanish giants is the signs of revival of the old Fernando Torres, who went missing for a very long time, but so far had 2 goals in 4 appearances for the red & white, and Simeone will hope that his star striker will carry on his good form for the rest of the season.

 

Losers:

Valencia

First in the list of losers for the Match day 04 in BBVA La Liga features Valencia, who could not able to get all three points against a new promoted visiting Real Betis. The result becomes even more disappointing for the home side as they had the numerical advantage in the 2nd half after the visitors were down to 10 men in the 48th minute.

However, Nuno Santo’s side couldn’t able to break the deadlock after considerable chances against the opposition. This is the 2nd consecutive disappointing result for the home side within a week, as they lost to Zenit in the Champions League opener just a few days at home. Nuno Santo’s side will need to get their act together if they are to qualify for the Champions League against next season, as their start is being disappointing after his team managed to win only 1 out of first 4 league matches.

 

Sevilla:

Next in the list of losers for the Match Day 04 in the BBVA La Liga features Unai Emery’s Sevilla, who lost at home against visiting Celta Vigo. Sevilla, who under Unai Emery had tremendous success domestically as well as on the European stage, would have hoped to win their first match of the campaign, failed to live up to their expectations and were truly the 2nd best in the match.

This is Sevilla’s 2nd defeat in 4 matches, and pressure is mounting on Sevilla’s head coach, as they currently lie on the bottom of the table with 2 points in 4 league games. Unai Emery will have to turn it around quickly or he might face a potential exit from the club.

Real Sociedad

Last in the list of losers for the match day 04 in the BBVA La Liga seaon 2015/16 features David Moyes Real Socieddad, who lost another game and are now in the relegation battle after managed to earn only 2 points from the first 4 league matches of the new campaign. David Moyes’s side were in control till the 42nd minute of the first half, when Goal Keeper Ruli was sent off and the whole complexion of the game changed.

Sergio Gonzalez’s Espanyol made full use of the numerical advantage and first equalized in the 44th minute and then took a lead in the 2nd half. Moyes’s man got the equalizer in the 86th minute, but 4 minutes conceded the 3rd goal which proved enough for the visitors to take all three points back home. Moyes will have to turn around quickly before pressure started to mount on his position at the club.

This article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

La Liga Gameweek 3 – Winners/Losers

After a couple of weeks off due to International Break, La Liga was back in full action this weekend, and so are we with the list of Winners and Losers from La Liga Game Day 3, which is stated below.

Winners:

Barcelona

Barcelona feature in the winner’s category for game day three, where they ended up as a winner in a tough fixture against Athletico Madrid. Even though the match in terms of stats, were pretty equally distributed between the two teams.

However, Athletico took a lead in the 51st minute through Fernando Torres, but the reigning champions were not ready to go down without a fight and eventually came out as a winner with a breathtaking free kick from Neymar and a late goal from a very delighted once again father, Lionel Messi.

Real Madrid

Next in the list of winner’s for the game day three in La Liga is red hot Real Madrid. Madrid faced Espanyol on the road, which was a relatively easy fixture away from home, but Madrid made it look far easier than we all thought at the beginning. Playing without creative James Rodriguez, Real looked totally in control from the beginning and went three – nil up inside the first 20 minutes, thanks to ever reliable Cristiano Ronaldo.

Bale and Benzema were also in sublime form along with Ronaldo, who himself scored 5 goals in a match and became the highest scorer in La Liga for Real Madrid, surpassing club legend Raul in just 6 season after his record move from Manchester United in 2009. Real will hope to carry on this momentum into the Champions League opening fixture, where they will play against Shakhtar Donestk on Tuesday at Santiago Bernabue.

Las Palmas

Last in the list of winner’s for the game day 03 is La Liga is newly promoted Las Palmas. Playing away from against a bigger club Celta Vigo, Las Palmas went down to 10 men when their regular goalkeeper were red carded in the 11th minute, and were also 3-1 down in the 49th minute but the newcomers refused to give up the fight.

Having been dominated in pretty much throughout the match, Las Palmas were fortunate as well with an own goal from Pablo Hernandez, which made a way for a potential comeback that was completed in the 74thminute by David Simon.

Losers:

Atletico Madrid

First in the list of loser’s features Diego Simeone’s Athletico Madrid, who lost to Barcelona at home. Having been featured in a tough fixture, Simeone would have hoped to at least get a draw out of it, especially after going a goal up in the 51stminute. Simeone’s men were short of creativity, and Grienzmann and Koke had a night to forget.

Thiago was the star of the night for the red and white, but overall there is a lot to worry about for Diego Simeone as he and his team suffered their first defeat of the season in a crucial match at home.

Celta Vigo

Next in the list we have Celta Vigo, who after such a dominant performance and with playing against 10 men at home against newly promoted Las Palmas. Celta Vigo had a man advantage nearly throughout the match after Palmas Goalkeeper Javi Varas was red carded inside the first 12 minutes of the first half, and they looked all settled for a big win when they went 3-1 up in the 49th minute, but somehow managed to blow the lead away.

Defensively, Celta were all over the place and were extremely poor to say the least. Apart from the defensive lapses and an own goal, Celta Viga dominated the match in all aspects and had a total of 19 shots on goal, out of which 13 were on target. However, they would be bitterly disappointed as they failed to win a match while playing at home against a team who were playing with 10 men and are just recently promoted.

Malaga

Last in the list of losers for match day 3 in La Liga, we feature Malaga who had a disappointing draw against Eibar at home. Malaga who finished in the top half of the table last season were facing a team who escaped relegation by nothing more than miracle, and even after controlling the match in nearly every department, but Javi Garcia’s men’s were unable to break Eibar defense which was disciplined and were ready to put their body on the line.

Even though the match ended as a draw, Javi Garcia will take it more like a defeat as he would have hoped to earn more points in such fixtures, especially while playing at home.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

Winners & Losers from La Liga Match Day 02

La Liga Match Day two comes to and end, and it was an intriguing weekend of Spanish football that we all witnessed. With nearly all big teams finding their form this week in La Liga, we have a very interesting roundup to our winners and losers list from La Liga match day 02.

Winners:

Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid emerged on the of the winners list, after a pretty impressive thrashing of Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium. Sevilla were the aggressor in the game, but it was the finishing of Athletico Madrid that proved pivotal for the other half of Madrid.

Gabi was instrumental in the middle of the park and proved to be a real leader who wanted to excel from the middle, whereas it was Antonio Griezmann from the wings who provided that much-needed pace from the wings and provided 2 assists in the game. Overall, Diego Simeone should be a relieved man after getting out with a comprehensive win in a comparative tie at a very tough venue, which made them earn 3 precious points in the league.

Eibar

Eibar feature at no 2 on the winners list this week, after earning a more than impressive win against Athletic Bilbao. Athletic probably started the game as favorites on the face of their recent performances against defending Champions Barcelona, but it was anything but. Eibar pretty much dominated the match from the right go, and Athletic had little to show against the outright winners.

Eibar had 8 shots on target, compared to Athletic 1, which shows the kind of dominance they had. Eibar was more clinical in terms of possession, as they were only dispossessed 12 times compared to Athletic’s 21 times. Saul Berjon prove to be the real hero for the home side, as he scored a goal as well as provided an assist in a 2-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao. In all it was a professional performance from Eibar that will see them having more confidence in the games to come.

Deportivo La Coruna

Last on the list of winners for match day 02 in La Liga is Deportivo La Coruna. For a team who avoided a relegation battle on the last day of the league last term, a draw on the road against a team who will feature in the Champions League this season is nothing more than a victory.

Even though there is nothing much to be made of their performance throughout the game, but a result lie this will prove to be a big boost for the side who was in danger of being relegated and had to draw their last match against Barcelona in their own backyard.

Losers:

Valencia

The first team to feature in the list of losers for Match Day two in La Liga is Valencia. Valencia had a relatively easy task when they faced Deportive La Coruna at home. Considering that Deportivo just escaped relegation last season and Valencia will feature in the Champions league, the home side would have hoped to finish the match with 3 points, but they would be bitterly disappointed with the results keeping in mind that they had enough chances to seal the victory and this was one of the easiest fixture to play at home in the league.

Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao features on the second in the list of losers for Match Day two in La Liga. Seeing Athletico play in such a commanding manner against the defending champions 3 times in the recent past, one would have hoped to see them get past Eibar, but it was a total day to forget for Ernesto Velverde’s side, as they were out rightly beaten in every department in the match.

Considering the fact that they only managed to hit one shot on target in the whole match, shows they didn’t deserve any points against Eibar. Velverde will hope that this will be a one-off case, and his team will bounce back from back to back defeats and will regain their form that they showed against Barcelona.

Sevilla

Last in the losers for Match Day two in La Liga features Sevilla. Sevilla had a tough fixture when they face Atheltico Madrid, but it was a home fixture and since they also feature in the Champions League, a three nil home thrashing was not expected.

Sevilla had a decent match in terms of stats, but after the departure of Carlos Bacca this season to Milan, they find it hard to find the back of the net even after creating some impressive chances. Lack of finishing paid them heavily as they were comprehensively beaten by the team who they would have hoped to at least get a point from.

Unai Emery’s track record with Sevilla speaks for itself, but with losing two key players in the last two seasons, this season will surely test his managerial skills and it is yet to be seen if he can keep Sevilla at the level they have been over the past two seasons.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

La Liga Game Week 1 Winners/Losers

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.

Winners:

Sporting Gijon
GIJON, SPAIN - AUGUST 23: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid duels for the ball with Luis Hernandez of Real Sporting de Gijon during the La Liga match between Sporting Gijon and Real Madrid at Estadio El Molinon on August 23, 2015 in Gijon, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

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

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.

Rayo Vallecano

rayo-vallecano-valencia-2015-2016-620-11

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.

Losers:

Real Madrid

1672975-35458060-2560-1440

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

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

villarreal

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.

5 Best Signings to watch out for in the Champions League Season 2015/16

With days passing by, and teams gearing up for the new seasons, a lot of deals have come to a close and some deals are yet to be completed. Here we have a list of 5 players, who will be most instrumental in their team’s progress in the Champions league next season.

Sami Khedira:

1st in the list is Juventus jackpot signing once again, as they signed a World Class player in Sami Khedira for free. Khedira’s contract came to an end at the end of the last season and Juventus convinced him to join the club, where Pirlo have already left the club and there were still rumors that Pogba or Vidal might follow him in the coming days. Khedira’s presence will give a much needed boost to the already strong Juventus midfield, as he will bring in the experience of playing at the Bernabue along with winning the World Cup with Germany last year. His performance for the Los Blancos have been on a slide ever since the departure of Jose Mourinho from Madrid, and Ancelloti’s attacking mindset did not give him room to shine for the whites in the last 2 seasons. This will be his chance to be counted and show the World once again as he will get the chance to play in a more defensive looking Juventus this season, which should give him more breathing space to perform at the highest level.

Raheem Sterling:

2nd in the list is English highly rated 20 year old winger Raheem Sterling, who has finally completed his transfer to Manchester City after a long transfer saga. Manchester City bought him for a whopping £49 Million, which made him the most expensive English player ever. His arrival at the Etihad will give a much needed fresh breath of air to the city attack, which haven’t had many inclusions in the last season. His pace will help the blue side of Manchester, along with Aguero upfront that will have the capacity to create trouble for any opposing defense in Europe. Even though he is yet to perform in the Europe’s elite club competition, but his quality will give immense boost to the struggling City side who always had a hard time progressing in the Champions League.

Morgan Schneiderlin

Next in is Manchester United’s new boy Morgan Schnerderlin. Red Devils’ have done a great business this season, especially in the midfield with the arrival of a highly rated French International Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton. Schneiderlin had an amazing time with Southampton where he participated in the revival of the club from the 3rd tier of English football with back to back promotions. His presence in the middle of the park brings calmness to his fellow players, and he has the capacity to hold the ball or win the ball back at a crunch time. With United making a comeback to the Europe’s elite competition after a season’s break, Schneiderlin could prove to be an Ace in the book of Wild Cards of Louis Van Gaal.

Jackson Martinez

Our 4th player in the list is Athletico’s new boy Jackson Martinez, who is featured in our Top 5 signing in the Europe so far due to his performance for his former club FC Porto. He was their go to man when the team needed him and had the presence of the traditional center forward. He is a nightmare for defender’s to deal with his pace, height and strong built and it is fair to say that Diego Simeone finally managed to find the right replacement for Diego Costa. With the arrival of a quick and solid center forward in Jackson Martinez, Simeone and Athletico will be hoping to once again produce the heroics of 2013/14 season, where they went all the way to the final and lost to their City rivals Real Madrid.

Bastian Schweinsteiger:

The last in the list is another signing from Manchester United, who have left Bayern after spending his whole career there. With Bastian joining United, the red devils will finally have an experience midfielder, who have tasted victory at every level for the club and the country. With him in the side, United can expect to have a warrior in the park, who is ready to give it all to make it tough for the opposition. Louis Van Gaal will hope that Schweinsteiger will use all his experience and help the red – devils to reach the glory that they were known for.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

Real Madrid: Iker Casillas’ career hangs in the balance as David De Gea nears move to Bernabeu

Real Madrid, after having a serious debacle last season where they finished the season empty handed after winning La Decima the season before, is looking to strengthen their squad this season. Madrid has long been an admirer of David De Gea from the days when he used to play for cross-town rivals Athletico Madrid, but couldn’t convince him to come to Bernabeu back in 2011. However, this time around, De Gea seems to be more convinced about a move to the Los Blancos side, and there’s no doubt there is a need to strengthen their defensive line with a more assured man between the sticks.

Casillas, a world class goal-keeper, probably the best of his generation and his record speaks for himself. However, he has had a hard time for Real Madrid and Spain in the recent times, and had to face the anger and disappointment of the Bernabeu faithful last season. He had a mediocre World Cup and was one of the prime reasons for the La Roja’s early exit from Brazil. His form throughout the season raised eyebrows of many, and led to questions as to why Navas was not being started more often, a proposition Ancelotti, at the time was not willing to accept. Mistakes such as a first goal against Atletico at the Vicente Calderon in the league match, that opened the gates for the worst defeat for Madrid against their noisy neighbours in the league, made Madrid pay a heavy price in the end as Madrid lost the league even though they were four points clear at the top after Christmas break.

De Gea, on the contrary, had one of the best, if not, the best season for the Red Devils in 14/15, where he was among the best goalkeeper’s throughout the season along with Chelsea’s Courtois and spurs Hugo Lloris. De Gea seemed the only assured block in a defense of uncertainty for United throughout the season. He was quick on the feet, and had the ability to stay big in one-on-one situations. He is the one prime reason as to why United were able to qualify for the Champions League, as he earned them some precious points.

Looking into exclusive stats from SportsMatrix, De Gea had 30.8% good saves compared to 19.4% of Casillas throughout the league in 14/15, and also had nearly double of spectacular saves of 15% compared to 7.8% of Casillas during the same time, which exactly proves why Madrid is after this young Spaniard and is willing to let go their living legend.

Another important factor that is influencing Madrid’s decision to go for the United number one is his young age, and at the age of 24 and given the amount of talent he possesses, he will surely stay on at the Bernabeu for a while to come.

De Gea is all set to leave Manchester United for the Spanish giants if media reports are to be believed, as the deal is seems to be coming to closure in the next few days. However, the real question is where does Casillas go on from here? Casillas, who is still only 34 despite the fact that he seems to have been around for an eternity. The World Cup winner will be looking to switch to a side where he will get a first team role, and either Arsenal or Tottenham could be possibly the destination for the Spanish legend.

Indeed, it now seems Arsenal is in for Chelsea’s Peter Cech as they are looking to end their goalkeeping woes should keep their eye on Casillas situation in case they won’t be able to land the Czech international. Spurs on the other hand, seems to have resigned to the fact that their star man Lloris will leave the club for Manchester United in order to get Champions League football, and they would love to get the experienced Spaniard to take over the charge between the sticks.

Casillas’ leadership quality along with his experience as a keeper where he has spent all of his life at a club of the size of Madrid is bound to help any side in need of a goalkeeper. For Casillas, a change of club might help him to regain the lost form and become the keeper he once was, which will be a great spectacle to watch out for.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

Real Madrid: Gareth Bale must now translate Wales form into silverware at Los Blancos

Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale suffered a loss of form in 2015.

When Real Madrid signed Gareth Bale from Spurs, there were expectations that he along with Ronaldo and Benzema would prove to be that goal scoring threat that Madrid lacked. First season was all of that, where the arrival of Bale brought that potency to the Los Blancos attack that was missing for the past two decades. He brought that pace, that energy, that hunger for goal which was lacking in the Madrid attacking mix, and that was one of the reasons as to why Madrid managed to win the much awaited La Decima and a Copa Del Rey in his first season. Astonishingly, all of that was achieved without Bale having a pre-season with the Los Blancos due to injury problems.

When all of us thought that Bale would be more than just the success he proved in his first season come the second season, he could not live up to te hype. He had to face criticism from the Bernabeu faithful that one never deserves, but all of that was not unjustified. His stats over all throughout wasn’t the worst bit; it was his performance in the big matches that made sections of the fans and pundits turn against him.

However, during the same spell, his performance while playing for his national team Wales was at another level. OCTA stats suggest in detail that Bale’s performance were contrasting while playing for Madrid and Wales. Before last night’s match, Bale had an impressive 0.62 Goals per game while playing for Wales, which is nearly 50% better than what he produced for Madrid (0.42 Goals per game). His shots per game is nearly double while playing for the national team (4.87 shots per game) than that of Madrid (2.47). His dribbles are more than double when he is on national duty (4.25 per games), compared to while representing Los Blancos (1.98). The most interesting stat from OCTA was his passes per game, which actually decreased to 21.3 when he is representing Wales, which is nearly 5 passes short of when he plays for Real Madrid (26.1) per match. This last stat pretty much sums it up for why Bale is having a hard time adjusting at the Bernabeu.

Considering the fact that he passes the ball less for Wales suggests that he takes the responsibility, which is in complete contrast to what Real Madrid wanted of him throughout the last season. With Wales, his team mates pass him the ball, and hope that he will create a chance and finish it himself, but with Madrid it seems that Bale’s role is more of an assisting hand to get Ronaldo mostly on the scoring sheet. He was being jeered by the Bernabeu crowd last season and accused him of not passing the ball to Ronaldo. That gesture seemingly affected Bale’s confidence all together, and in the matches afterwards, Bale was always looking to find a pass rather than taking the responsibility of finishing the job for which he was picked for. He seemed restricted and confused throughout the later part of the last season, which led to a below average season for Los Blancos.

All of those stats reveal that his performance declined significantly while playing for the all whites, which is rather surreal to believe considering the difference in quality two teams possess. As we look into  the finer details, one thing that stands out is that Bale doesn’t get treated the same manner at Real Madrid, as he is being treated in the Wales dressing room, and that makes sense too. In Wales dressing room, he is the most highly accomplished player, playing in probably the biggest club in the world where he has won the Champions League  & is being tipped to be the long term replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo. But in Wales, he is their Cristiano Ronaldo already, he is their go to man, a role which he evidently seems to enjoy & he proved it last night again with a match winning performance against the star studded No. 2 ranked team in Belgium, and have virtually sealed Wales’s birth in the next year European Championship.

Another reason as to why Bale’s performance dipped in the last season was because of the noticeable absence of his former Spur’s mate Luka Modric, who was out for a good part of the season due to multiple injuries. Modric seems to be the one man out of all the Real Madrid players who understands what Bale is, given their time together at Spurs, and what quality he brings to this team, and that’s why Bale’s performance seems to rise to another level when Modric is playing. This is evident with the fact that Bale’s goals per game record when Modric was around in the 15 matches that they started together was 0.53, which is nearly double to when Modric didn’t start for Madrid (0.29 goals per game)

To conclude, one must admit that Gareth Bale is the sole reason as to why Wales are just inches away from reaching their first major tournament after more than five decades. His performance for Wales throughout these Euro Qualifiers once again re-emphasizes the fact that he belongs to the best in the business. Rafa Benitez, the newly appointed manager of Real Madrid was there last night as Bale outshone the likes of Hazard and others stars to take Wales home, and he would have been impressed by the Welshman performance last night. However, the real question is to see is if Benitez will be able to transform the Gareth Bale of Real Madrid into the same Gareth Bale of Wales, because if he would be able to achieve that, than Madrid are looking for a much brighter season ahead.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.

La Liga review: Barcelona farewell Xavi in style, Deportivo’s great escape

La Liga comes to an end after yet another exciting weekend and Barcelona are the newly crowned champions of Spain. The last weekend had some spectacular moments to remember, so without further ado, we review the final weekend of La Liga action.

Ronaldo – 3rd Pichichi in a row

Cristiano-Ronaldo-Real-Madrid-celebrates

Barcelona & Messi may have won the league, but it’s Real Madrid’s talisman Cristiano Ronaldo who won the Golden shoe award for the third time in row after scoring a hat-trick against Getafe after 33 minutes of the first half. Madrid went on to win their game 7-3 with Chicharito, Jese, James and Marcelo were the other scorers. Ronaldo also created history by becoming the highest scorer in one season in La Liga ever, with an astonishing tally of 48 goals this season.

Deportivo – A GREAT escape

Deportivo-la-coruna

Deportivo miraculously came from two goals down against Barcelona at Camp Nou to escape relegation which looked certain for most of the match. Desperately needing a point against the newly crowned Spanish Champions, Deportivo hopes were all but gone when they went two goals down with 30 minutes remaining in the second half. But an inspirational performance saw them levelling inside 10 minutes, with goals from Lucas Perez and Diogo Salmao. Granada also escapes relegation with a hard-fought point against the former Spanish champions, Atheltico Madrid at home.

Valencia – Champions League is ON

Valencia celebrate Champions League qualification. Source: Getty.

Valencia qualified for Champions League qualification after a two-year drought. Valencia needed to get a win to keep their fate in their own hands against Almeria, who were fighting for survival and also needed a victory to boost hopes for escaping relegation. Valencia went down twice, but came back both times and finally went into a lead in the 80th minute with a goal who else but Paco Alcacer.

Ancelotti rules out AC Milan return

Carlo Ancelotti

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelloti reveals that it’s either Madrid or Nothing for this year in his plan. There were reports suggesting that Ancelloti might go back to Milan after a potential sacking due to trophy-less season, at the Bernabeu, but the Italian was quick to refuse that and express his desire to take a break from football if he will be sacked in the coming days.

Barca bid farewell to “graceful” Xavi

Xavi-Hernandez-Barca-farewell

The Camp Nou faithful bid farewell to the club’s one of the great legend, Xavi Hernandez with a La Liga celebration after an intense draw against Deportivo. Xavi had more than impressive career at Barcelona, with more than 760 appearance for the Blaugrana, with 27 titles in total, including eight La Liga titles.

The article was originally published on Playingfor90.com

La Liga Preview: End of an era at Barcelona, UCL spots up for grabs

As the curtain draws on La Liga for yet another season, Azeem Siddiqui previews the final round of fixtures.

La Liga finally comes to a conclusion this weekend and after much speculation about whether the last two weeks would be suspended. The La Liga title may already be decided, however, there are still a Champions League places and the final Europa League spot which have yet to be finalised. With that said, here are few things to look out for in this final weekend of Primera Division action.

Seville or Valencia, who will finish 4th?

Valencia need a win against Almeria to secure Champions League football next season. Source: Getty Images.

The UEFA Champions League qualification round is up for grabs both for Valencia and Seville, where just a point separates the two on the 4th and 5th position. A win against Almeria will ensure that Valencia will play at least in the qualification round of Europe’s elite club tournament, or better, could even propel them above Atletico (provided that they lose). A draw or a defeat, on the other hand, would open gates for Sevilla to potentially show off and qualify for the Champions League twice, who have to win a tough one against Malaga at La Rosaleda.

Two spots up for grabs in the relegation battle – who will avoid it?

Atletico

With the last day of league shaping up, it’s still anybody’s guess who is going to follow Cordoba into the footsteps of relegation, with only two points separating Granada, Deportivo La Coruna, Eibar & Almeria. Eibar has the easiest of the fixtures out of all the other three teams as they take on the already relegated Cordoba. And it seems Deportivo and Granada both would do well if either someone managed to avoid slipping into to the 2nd division. The former will take on the newly-crowned Spanish champions, Barcelona, at the Camp Nou will the latter will take on the former champions Atletico Madrid, who are also looking to secure Champions League football.

Fight for the Pichichi

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

The rivalry between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi remains a pivotal talking point as La Liga draws to a close. With Messi eyeing a third Treble with Barca and a potential Ballon d’Or award next year,  the battle for the league’s top scorer will come down to the wire. Four goals currently separate the two players, but with Barca playing Deportivo, scoring a hat-trick, perhaps even a double hat-trick, shouldn’t be unimaginable.

Carlo Ancelotti’s final match?

Carlo Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti will most probably manage the Los Blancos for the last time after a trophy-less season at the club. He came under huge criticism following a dismal week, where Madrid held to 2-2 & 1-1 draw at home in must-win matches against Valencia & Juventas that not only ended the club’s La Liga hopes, but also back-to-back Champions League dreams.

Xavi’s farewell

download

Barcelona will bid farewell to one of the greatest midfielders, not only in their club history but of his generation with a rout against Deportivo. Xavi had earlier announced that he would leave Barcelona at the end of the season and will join Qatari football club, Al Sadd. The 35-year-old has enjoyed an illustrious career in Barcelona, in which he appeared in more than 760 matches, scoring 84 goals and won 23 titles for Barcelona, including eight La Liga crowns.

The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com

Isco could be the missing piece for Real Madrid

Isco had an astonishing start to his Real Madrid career last season, but a change in formation saw him losing his place to Angel di Maria in the starting lineup.

It did, then, appear that it would be Isco rather than Di Maria who would be sweating over his future at the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer. But, alas, it was Di Maria who departed for Manchester United.

There were plenty of suggestions that Isco could leave the club, particularly following the arrivals of James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos, but things can change very quickly.

Real Madrid lost Bale due to injury and that proved to be the blessing in disguise. Isco finally get an extended run in the first team for the first time this season and he proved why Madrid paid big bucks for him in the first place.

In 10 games this season, Isco provided four assists and scored one goal for Los Blancos, but that’s not all as his work rate over this period of time has been phenomenal.

In the Champions League, Isco has made 3.7 tackles per game, which is better than the likes of Sergio Ramos (2.1), Pepe (2.5), Marcelo (3.3), Luka (2), Kroos (2) and James (2.3). Only Alvaro Arbeloa surpasses Isco with five tackles per game.

Looking at the defensive tackles collectively from Champions League and La Liga, Isco seems to be the man Madrid depends on with an average of 2.6 tackles per game, better than Sergio Ramos (2.1), Pepe (2.3), Varane (1.6), Kroos (2.3) and Modric (1.8). Only Marcelo and Arbeloa out pass Isco in this department.

Not only that, Isco’s passing accuracy is also notable with 89 percent in La Liga, which is better than the likes of Bale (81.1 percent), James (87.8 percent), Karim Benzema (82 percent) and Cristiano Ronaldo (83.1 percent). Only Modric (91.3 percent) and Kroos (93.6 percent) outperformed Isco in that area.

Isco time and again proves his versatility to open opposition defence with his swift touch and the understanding of the game, which often gives the impression he is far older than just 21.

He has an impressive 1.6 key pass average per game this season which is better superior to Kroos, Bale and Modric. Isco also shows the ability to press the opposition when needed and hold the line when the situation demands him to do so. It was due to these performances that Isco received a standing ovation the Classico win over Barcelona.

His performances in the recent past strengthen his relationship with Bernabeu faithful, and that was evident in recent poll held by Madrid owned newspaper Marca, where 82 percent of the people voted in favour of starting Isco keeping his placed ahead of Bale.

Madrid seems to finally have balance that they were lacking before and things are looking better, at least domestically, than a year ago.

78423

 

‘Same Heights Where They Were’ – Real Madrid

Real Madrid season so far is nothing but a story of a horse, who somehow find a way to come first but was not satisfied with it, and then find a way to come lower in the ranks and now is wondering where have I gone wrong?. Los Blancos for all the last season looked like a team who could have won Treble at one point.

They were leading the league table and were already in the semi-final of Champions league 4th season running, and already clinched the Copa del Rey title as well.

It looked all likely that Ancellotti’s men will be able to win an unprecedented treble, but they had to content with two trophies after a list of injuries haunt their season somewhat.

Even then, the much-awaited La Decima was an icing on the cake for Ancellotti’s men last season.

However, this season Madrid’s hierarchy somehow found a way to unsettle the squad and so far have already lost the Spanish super cup, along with first two league games as well.

Having dominated the whole of last season, the real question is what went wrong for the 10-times European Champion?

To begin with, first and foremost, Madrid set their priority completely wrong compared to last season.

Their problem last season was their defensive line, as it is hard to trust Pepe, while Varane had some fitness issue to deal with.

One good center back would have helped Madrid in strengthening their defense & a player like Hummels would be an ideal fit for the team alongside club captain Sergio Ramos, and it would have been one of the best center-back partnership in the world, but Madrid seemingly missed the bus.

The other issue was in the midfield, where Los Blancos had issues last season with Luka Modrid injuries, where they had to rely heavily on ageing Xabi Alonso.

However, Ancellotti find perfect player to add to that bunch in Germany’s Toni Kroos, but with his arrival, Madrid hierarchy let Alonso leave, which weakend the midfield once again.

With Xabi leaving immediately, it didn’t give Kroos much needed time to settle in quickly.

Another blunder that Madrid made was signing Jamas Rodriguez at the cost of Los Blancos player of the last season Angel Di Maria.

Rodriguez was undoubtedly the player who took all the lime light in the recently concluded FIFA World Cup, but was he the only man Madrid needed? The answer is clearly no.

The former AS Monaco striker is an amazing kid to have around, but is he the right man to replace the likes of settled Di Maria? The answer is once again no.

He needed time to develop into a player on which Madrid can depend on so that he can develop into a product who can perform under an immense pressure of playing at the Bernabue.

Di Maria, on the other hand, was the spark that took Real Madrid back to the days of glory with a double in the last season. He was the player of the season for the Los Blanco’s beyond any doubt.

Letting him go, as in the case of letting Xabi go after signing Kroos, again took away the chance for Rodriguez to settle into this squad, & might prove a problem in the time to come for Ancellotti.

Real Madrid lost the initiative they had over their rivals last season with flaws in their system of transfer policy which cannot be over looked and they would do really well in overcoming their flaws and reach any way near the same heights where they were last season.