Surprisingly, Real Sociedad and Leganes have started the La Liga season unscathed maintaining a 100% record – Barcelona completes the three teams on the log with maximum 6 points when they beat Luis Zubaida’s Alaves. Atlético Madrid nailed a marker on the Canary Islands pummeling Las Palmas 5 – 1, newcomers, Girona got one past Malaga while Getafe erred losing 0-1 to Sevilla – Levante could only manage a draw at home to Deportivo La Coruna.
Real Madrid and Santiago Bernabeu was left stunned on Sunday night when Valencia held the La Liga Champions to a 2 – 2 draw. Despite conceding two goals, Alaves’ Fernando Pacheco mans the post – means he had one hell of a game when Barcelona came to town, saving Messi’s penalty and making a staggering 14 saves altogether. After spending 8 years with Real Madrid, his seems to be a stalwart in this Alaves team. Right Back is occupied by Sociedad’s Aritz Elustondo, been keeping an eye on the San Sebastian Indigene since he made his La Liga debut two years ago, then 21 – you could see that he had natural abilities with positional awareness. Two years on, he has grown in leaps and bound and was evident against Villarreal ; buzzing on the byline, robust in tackles and looking to bomb forward at every opportunity. Aymeric Laporte for the second week in a row gets the call and fully deserved, Ziganda is beginning to make Laporte believe in himself. The salient point about this is that Bilbao are playing better as a defensive unit and can be lauded due to Laporte’s ‘resuscitation’. 33 year old Martin Mantovani also ticks the Centre back position after a monumental display away to Espanyol, putting his body on the line when desperate measures were needed and going to the other end to secure 3 points for Leganes ; Atlético’s Lucas Hernandez slots into the left back position this week after a fantastic display at Las Palmas, I would be worried if I was Felipe Luis
Koke and Yannick Carrasco where the Ying Yang twins who completely massacred Manolo Marquez’s men at the Gran Canaria with the former scoring two goals and latter assisting two and scoring a goal himself. It was a domineering performance from the midfielders; Geoffrey Kondogbia of Valencia (on loan from Inter) gave a reminder on Sunday night why he was once tipped as the next Patrick Vieira after squaring up against the Supreme of Real Madrid. Kondogbia wasn’t fazed, his long limbs like tentacles closed down space for the Merengues to operate and when in possession, he was tidy, capping it off with a goal. Whether he can continue to blossom, only him can answer.
Despite the off field feud between the workers in shorts and those in suits in Barcelona, Lionel Messi still managed to put that aside to score a brace, silencing the Estadio Mendizorroza taking his tally in the La Liga to a gut wrenching 351 goals. Simply incredible. Bilbao’s Legend Aritz Aduriz kicked off his season by getting and important goal with a neat precise strike past hapless Eibar keeper Marko Dmitrovic ; taking him to the top 20 in the Highest goal scorer in the La Liga history at 147 goals, aged 36 and still banging, that’s even more astonishing. Maximillano Gomez, scored in his team’s loss to Betis; currently eased to life at the sunny side of life in Vigo, now on 3 goals, kid only needs to get a sniff, he buries them, Coach Unzue will feel elated but am not sure if he would be, about his backline but you can be sure Gomez has given him one problem less to think about.
Gaffer of the week has to be Marcelino Garcia picks the accolades for the Coach of the week after astutely setting up his players to get a precious and well deserved point against Real Madrid. No one saw that coming.
**Pictures courtesy Marca, ESPN FC, UEFA