Revista de La Liga Matchday 2: Atletico run riot as Real Madrid slip up

La Liga

Real Madrid are unable to keep up with Real Sociedad, Barcelona and Leganes, who are all on six points from the opening two games.

Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid – Marco Asensio showed the Bernabeu crowd once again that he is a star in the making if he isn’t one already. The 21-year-old opened the scoring against Valencia from 20 yards in the 10th minute. Only for Carlos Soler to bring the visitors level – a fine team move which finished with Lato setting up the Spaniard for a tap in.

Valencia’s new signing from Internazionale, Geoffrey Kondogbia, shone throughout the match and appears to be a shrewd signing. He slotted the ball past Keylor Navas from the edge of the area with 13 minutes remaining.

It appeared that Valencia were going to take an impressive three points from Marcelino’s first away game as manager, however, Real’s man of the moment secured a draw for Los Blancos with a free-kick. The match was an open affair and both attacks kept the goalkeepers busy. Neto, in particular, was impressive in the Valencia net – and ensured that Valencia did leave the Bernabeu with something by tipping a late Benzema header onto the post.

Zidane said after the match that he was happy with the performance but not the result – the Madrid manager believed that his team “deserved more” and “could have won the game.”

Madrid – who were missing key players such as Ronaldo and Ramos, as both were suspended, and Varane due to injury – were forced to play Casemiro in central defence. Valencia, on the other hand, appear to have spent well in the transfer window and their opening displays of the season will give their supporters reason to believe that this season should end with a challenge for the European places.

 Mendizorroza, Vitoria – Barcelona made it two wins out of two in the early stages of the new La Liga season with a 2-0 victory over Alaves on Saturday evening. Messi scored both goals for the Blaugrana but they were after a missed penalty by the Argentine in the first-half.

The deadlock was broken when Messi’s shot received a deflection from Alexis to send it past Pacheco. The second came ten minutes later when the Alaves defence gifted Barcelona the ball on the edge of the penalty area from which Alba headed to Messi who slotted the ball into the net.

Messi – whose double saw him pass the milestone of 350 La Liga goals – could have had a hat-trick when his 20-yard shot hit the bar. He was once again a cut above the rest.

Maximum points so far for Valverde’s side and things seem to be falling into place. Paulinho came on in the final stages for his debut and Ousmane Dembele is scheduled for his medical with the club at the start of the week.

Although this was not a vintage Barcelona performance they capitalised on Alaves errors and ensured that the result was the same as when these two sides last met in May’s Copa del Rey final.

Los Otros Puntos

  • Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad put on great attacking displays when beating Las Palmas and Villarreal respectively. Atletico scored twice in the first five minutes on their way to an emphatic win in Gran Canaria. Angel Correa and Yannick Carrasco fired Atletico into an early 2-0 lead before former West Ham loanee Jonathan Calleri headed the hosts back into the game in the 58th minute. But the visitors sealed the points through Koke’s double and after Jonathan Viera was denied by Jan Oblak from the penalty spot nine minutes from time, Thomas Partey added a fifth at the death. Real Sociedad, on the other hand, disposed of an underwhelming Villarreal side with goals scored by Willian Jose, Prieto and Juanmi. Villarreal still don’t convince under Fran Escriba – seeming too defence-minded and playing with the shackles on.

 

  • Along with Las Palmas; Malaga haven’t started the season well. A defeat away at Girona on Saturday came five days after a 1-0 defeat against Eibar at La Rosaleda on Monday evening. Malaga are notoriously slow starters – having to embed numerous new signings into the squad – yet the quality of the squad this season is more questionable. Javi Gracia did an incredible job in recent years at Malaga – making them far greater than the sum of their parts. However, this season might be a difficult one for Michel and Malaga.

 

  • Leganes are joint top with Barcelona and Real Sociedad – defender Martin Mantovani’s goal away at Espanyol ensured that Los Pepineros continue their impressive start to the season.

 Los Resultados

Real Sociedad 3–0 Villarreal

Real Betis 2–1 Celta Vigo

Alaves 0–2 Barcelona

Girona 1–0 Malaga

Levante 2–2 Deportivo La Coruna

Las Palmas 1–5 Atletico Madrid

Eibar 0–1 Athletic Bilbao

Espanyol 0–1 Leganes

Getafe 0–1 Sevilla

Real Madrid 2–2 Valencia

El Jugador de la Semana: Marco Asensio (Real Madrid)

About the Author

Oliver Miller
European Football Writer - currently specialising in La Liga @oliver_miller