LaLiga Thoughts, Matchday 10: Sarabian Nights, Girona do the thing, Atlético do theirs


  • Valencia continued its pulsating start to the season with a 2-1 win at rock-bottom Alavés. Giovanni de Biasi’s men gave los Che the ball, but they still managed to score off two errors: a giveaway which resulted in a Simone Zaza strike (his ninth of the season) and a penalty tucked away by Rodrigo.
  • Atlético Madrid simply cannot get out of their own way. They played really well for about 65 minutes of their 1-1 home draw with Villarreal, but dropped more points from a winning position (and failed to make Ángel Correa’s stunning opener stand up) when Carlos Bacca nodded in with less than 10 minutes left. Despite their struggles, though, Atlético are unbeaten through 10 weeks and tied for third.
  • Athletic Club always give Barcelona a good game, and Saturday at San Mamés was no different. Cuco Ziganda’s out-of-form and shorthanded side made Barça work for a 2-0 win that I think was somewhat harsh; Athletic really did have good opportunities in the second half. But one side had Paulinho, the other didn’t. Like, who cares about Messi? They should rename it the Paulinho d’Or.
  • Big win for Sevilla in a game which ended after midnight at the Sánchez Pizjuán. Pablo Sarabia put the team on his back and carried them to a 2-1 win over plucky Leganés. Eduardo Berizzo needs someone to step up and take the reins at this somewhat-directionless side; the Spanish winger may just be his man.
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Pablo Sarabia touches, 10/28 vs. Leganés. Goal and assist circled, because I miss John Madden.



  • My son Mikel Oyarzabal’s early goal was not enough for Real Sociedad at Getafe in the early game. Jorge Molina buried the winning penalty five minutes from time after Ángel Rodríguez chested down well and lashed into the net. Getafe have the league’s second-lowest possession percentage (41%) and have completed under 66% of their passes (worst in LaLiga), but they have the look of a solid mid-table side.
  • GIRONA. I don’t care that Portu’s flick into the goal was inches offside, and I don’t care that Real Madrid are going to be absolutely unstoppable come March. This is a result that makes football so great, a newly promoted side from Catalonia taking down a giant from the capital amidst hostile political tensions raging around Spain. Pablo Maffeo was superb at right back, Pablo Machín’s set up was brilliant, what a win.
  • Very positive stuff from Eibar against Levante. I mean, sure, they conceded twice from three shots, but they fought back with their first goals of the month to secure a draw and passed the ball with intelligence and purpose. Anaitz Arbilla took the free kick of the weekend to cap an excellent display.
  • Málaga won! Málaga won! Míchel’s men showed real fighting spirit to notch their first victory of the season, a late Recio penalty handing them a 2-1 win over Celta Vigo. Celta should be much better than they are; a nightmare at the back.


  • The Las Palmas disaster continues unfettered after their latest home defeat, this time to Deportivo. Loïc Rémy scored another excellent goal, but Jonathan Viera went off injured, the Canary Islanders fell apart defensively (again) and got beat 3-1. Celso Borges’ solid season in Depor’s midfield continued two goals off his head.
  • Espanyol notched a solid home win against Betis. Gerard Moreno scored the only goal; I’m telling you, he’s mad underrated.

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