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La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 19

January 13th, 2014
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Saturday night’s goalless draw between Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona means the top of the table is essentially unchanged, with both teams now on 50 points and the Catalans marginally ahead of goals for. The result means Barcelona ends the half way point of the season leading the table, but the remainder of the season could easily go either way.

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Atletico Madrid v FC Barcelona: goalless draw at the top of the table

January 13th, 2014

Saturday night saw the two top teams in the Spanish league battling it out with the potential for a points gap at the end of 90 minutes. Barcelona travelled to Madrid to play Atletico, who they are just ahead of in the table thanks to their goal tally, making the halfway point of the season.

Both teams were clearly going out of their way to win the match but despite numerous chances neither team scored. Barcelona, with both Neymar and Messi sitting the first half out, were unable to control the pace of the match as they are so often able to do and Atletico were quick to counterattack when the occasion arose. 

After the break Messi came on in place of Iniesta, but the hosts seemed more in control of the match than before, and with Neymar brought on 20 minutes into the second half the dynamic of the match changed, with chances for both teams. However, nothing came off, despite the players’ best efforts and the teams ended the weekend much the same as they started.

La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 18

January 6th, 2014

Barcelona remain at the top of the table after both they and Atletico madrid won their respective matches, with Barcelona ahead on goals for. Next weekend they face each other and so the long standing points tie may well be broken to put one or the other ahead on points, but prior to that Barcelona faces Getafe in the King’s Cup on Wednesday.

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Barça celebrates with Three King’s win against Elche

January 6th, 2014

Barcelona celebrated the eve of Three King’s with a 4-0 win against Elche in their first match of the New Year. The evening is marked across Spain with processions with children showered in sweets before going home to receive toys and other presents brought by the kings and as a special treat many youngsters were taken by parents and grandparents to watch the match.

The match saw the return of Victor Valdes in goal after several weeks being laid low by an injury sustained in the national squad and saw Barça quickly show the visitors that they meant business as usual after the Christmas break. Goals from Alexis and Pedro saw the Catalans two goals ahead at the quarter hour mark, which remained until the break.

Back on in the second half Barça failed to extend their advantage when Xavi missed a penalty, but Alexis soon made up for that with his second of the night, set up by Iniesta and Pedro. Minutes later Alexis scored his first hat trick for FC Barcelona when he scored from a free kick just outside the area.

1-0 Alexis (min 6)
2-0 Pedro (min 15)
3-0 Alexis (min 61)
4-0 Alexis (min 67)

La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 17

December 23rd, 2013

Barcelona ends 2013 at the top of the table after they turned around a 2-0 advantage by Getafe to win 5-2. Atletico Madrid also won their match, leaving them in second place by a cat’s whisker. Barcelona are ahead having scored three more goals than Atletico, and both teams are five points ahead of Real Madrid.

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Spectacular turnaround against Getafe leaves Barça at top of table over Xmas break

December 23rd, 2013

Barcelona’s last match of 2013 took place yesterday afternoon in Madrid, where they had travelled to play Getafe. However, with the home team scoring twice within the first quarter hour it looked for a while as if they might drop points ahead of Atletico Madrid’s evening match against Levante.

However, as the Catalans carried on working away Pedro scored one for Barcelona, then equalised and finally put Barça a goal ahead in time for the break; that was all in nine minutes. Barcelona were still playing without Messi and Valdes through injury, and Neymar was absent through suspension, but with these key players missing the remaining squad were determined to go into the holiday break heading the table still.

After the break Barcelona were clearly in control and although Getafe had a good chance at equalising 15 minutes in, Cesc effectively sealed the result when he scored from a Pedro cross. And when Pedro was brought down inside the area Cesc scored his second of the night to end the match 5-2 and with the almost certain knowledge that they would remain at the top of the table over Christmas.

1-0 Sergio Escudero (min 9)
2-0 Lisandro López (min 14)
2-1 Pedro (min 33)
2-2 Pedro (min 40)
2-3 Pedro (min 42)
2-4 Fábregas (min 67)
2-5 Fábregas (min 71)

Neymar stars as Barcelona beats Villarreal

December 16th, 2013

Many commentators in Spain were already writing off FC Barcelona under Gerardo Martino after a couple of poor results, seemingly forgetting the string of successes that came before. But another solid result on Saturday night after Barcelona’s thrashing of Celtic during the week should silence the critics, at least until they drop another point.

Not everything went Barça’s way, of course, and Villarreal put on a good fight. However, Barcelona dominated possession and while they were unable to do as much as may have been hoped, they also prevented Villarreal from doing much either. In the end the opening goal was scored by Neymar from the penalty spot following a hand ball at the half hour mark and despite a promising attempt on the goal by Alexis, the first half ended 1-0.

Back on after the break the visitors were quick to equalise, but Barcelona remained unperturbed. And 20 minutes into the second half Barcelona were rewarded with a second goal from Neymar, set up by Alexis. While there were some who criticised the decision to sign Neymar at the start of the season he is proving his worth at the moment. With Messi injured, the Brazilian seems to have found himself within the team and in the last two matches scored a total of five goals.

1-0 Neymar (min 29)
1-1 Musacchio (min 46)
2-1 Neymar (min 66)

La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 15

December 2nd, 2013

Barcelona narrowly remain at the top of the table after their defeat by Athletic Bilbao at the weekend by virtue of goal difference. Atletico are in second place, with Real Madrid now three points behind in third, while Athletic Bilbao are now in the number four spot after ther victory against Barça.

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Barça suffer first league defeat against Athletic Bilbao

December 2nd, 2013

Following their defeat by Ajax last week, Barcelona headed for Bilbao on Sunday evening to play against Athletic, one team that should never be underestimated in the Spanish league. Following their disappointing result against the Dutch team in the Champions League, Martino’s men would have been looking for a confidence booster, but although they began strongly they failed to capitalise on their high possession rate early on and in the end suffered the first league defeat of the season.

In the first half an hour or so the match seemed to be going Barça’s way, dominating possession and coming close to scoring on several occasions. However, as the home side began to find their stride it became clear that this was going to be no walkover for Barça but even so the first half ended with neither side having scored.

Back on after the break it looked as if Neymar would be the one to break the deadlock. He missed a great opportunity and then was brought down just outside the area; the resulting free kick by Neymar went wide. After this Athletic seemed to get stronger, with Pinto called into action, but finally they made the breakthrough in the 69th minute to go ahead. Despite making a couple of changes, Barcelona just couldn’t get back into the game and offered little threat to the Athletic Bilbao goal before the final whistle went on their first league defeat this season.

1-0 Muniain (min 69)

La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 14

November 25th, 2013

Barcelona remain three points ahead of Atletico Madrid after their 4-0 win against Granada on Saturday, while Atletico scored an incredible 7-0 victory against Getafe and Real Madrid beat Almeria 5-0. This week sees Barcelona play Ajax in the Champions League group stages, knowing that they have already done enough for the next stage and the result is almost irrelevent. 

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