Four things we learned on Day 8 of Spain

MADRID, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) – La Liga enter their second international break of the season after a weekend of surprises that leaves us with three teams tied for the top spot. Here are some things we learned this weekend in Spain.


After the Champions League loss to Benfica last week, it was generally believed that the loss to Atletico Madrid would be Ronald Koeman’s swan song at the club and no noise was made in the meeting room of the Barca.

However, ahead of the game, which Barca duly lost 2-0, club president Joan Laporta gave Koeman the public support that had been so visible by his absence in recent weeks, and rather than being shown the door, the Dutchman now looks likely to continue.

More cynical commentators believe that Laporta’s show of support is due to the fact that none of his candidate for the seat is keen on taking over what is practically an impossible job right now, and so Koeman is limping at least until ‘to the next defeat.


As for the game against Atletico, it was typical of Barca’s recent postings. The young players promoted by Koeman gave the proceedings some life, but were predictably lacking in experience in key aspects of the game. Atletico, with former heads such as former Barca striker Luis Suarez , was able to exploit these weaknesses and claim a relatively straightforward victory.

The big problem for Barca, however, is not that young people are inexperienced; it is that players with a wealth of experience such as Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique (and to some extent Frenkie de Jong) were just as guilty of mistakes as their proteges, and this is a much more difficult problem to solve.


Espanyol had only beaten Real Madrid three times in their last 32 encounters ahead of Sunday’s 2-1 win over leaders La Liga, and Real Madrid traveled to Barcelona as favorites for three other points.

However, Victor Moreno’s newly promoted side have further exposed the issues that have seen Real Madrid lose too many goals, with an uncoordinated defense in front of a midfielder not offering enough cover. Raul de Tomas and Aleix Vidal both exposed big gaps in Madrid’s defense and this time the creativity of Vinicius and Karim Benzema couldn’t save Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

Ancelotti will be hopeful that full-backs Ferland Mendy and Dani Carvajal will be in good shape after the international break, but given their injury records, the duo’s long-term presence cannot be counted on.


Getafe coach Michel Gonzalez and Robert Moreno of Granada appeared to have chances of being sacked if their sides lost their respective games to Real Sociedad and Sevilla, but Getafe drew 1-1 in a game they didn’t didn’t have a chance to win, and Real Sociedad boss Imanol Alguacil even gave Michel his public support afterwards. Meanwhile, Granada took an early chance and held on to Sevilla, which should give Moreno some breathing space.

However, Levante’s 1-0 defeat at Mallorca ended Paco Lopez’s long stint as first-team coach after being sacked after nearly four seasons in charge. Injuries and a small budget haven’t helped Levante this season, but the feeling is that they don’t do as well as a team containing players like Jorge de Frutos, Gonzalo Melero and Jose Luis Morales should do, and maybe a new man can freshen things up.

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