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La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 27

March 10th, 2014

While Barça dropped three points against Valladolid on Saturday, both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid won their games. Real Madrid opened up the gap in the number 1 spot, while Atletico leapfrogged the Catalans into second place.

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Valladolid vs FC Barcelona: uninspired Barça slips up

March 10th, 2014

On paper it looked pretty straightforward; Barcelona in the number 2 spot in the league table playing Valladolid, hovering near the bottom. However, football isn’t always as straightforward as that as was proved on Saturday when the Catalans lost out to their hosts.

It seemed that Barcelona found it difficult to properly get into the match as Valladolid went on the offensive and after just fifteen minutes the hosts went ahead. As Barça started to find their feet there were a few chances created, but all the same the squad was unable to do enough to make it count and much of the play looked sloppy.

Things looked a little better after the break, when both Messi and Neymar attempted to draw level. However, still the squad didn’t seem to be able to connect properly and looked a shadow of Barça at their best. In the end neither team scored again and with both Real Madrid and Atletico playing on Sunday the two rivals had a chance to reflect on Barça’s slip up prior to playing their own matches.

1-0 Fausto Rossi (min 16)


La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 26

March 3rd, 2014

This weekend saw Real Madrid slip in the Spanish League table after a 2-2 draw against Atletico in the Madrid derby. Barcelona is now a point behind their arch-rival, while having opened up a real gap with Atletico; last week they were in second place ahead of Atletico Madrid only by virtue of the goal difference.

There are still plenty of matches to play until the end of the season and it could easily go to any of the three teams heading the table. However, it is only a three horse race, with fourth place Athletic Bilbao eleven points behind Atletico.

Team
P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
1
Real Madrid
26
20
4
2
73
26
64
2
Barcelona
26
20
3
3
74
21
63
3
Atlético Madrid
26
19
4
3
61
21
61
4
Athletic
26
15
5
6
49
30
50
5
Villarreal
26
13
5
8
47
31
44
6
Real Sociedad
26
12
7
7
46
36
43
7
Sevilla
26
10
8
8
44
41
38
8
Levante
26
9
9
8
26
31
36
9
Valencia
26
10
5
11
38
37
35
10
Espanyol
26
9
6
11
29
32
33
11
Celta Vigo
26
8
6
12
32
37
30
12
Osasuna
26
8
5
13
24
39
29
13
Elche
26
7
8
11
23
37
29
14
Granada
26
8
3
15
22
36
27
15
Getafe CF
26
7
6
13
23
40
27
16
Málaga
26
6
8
12
24
35
26
17
Almería
26
7
5
14
25
46
26
18
Valladolid
26
4
11
11
28
44
23
19
Rayo
26
7
2
17
26
59
23
20
Real Betis
26
3
6
17
21
56
15

FC Barcelona vs Almeria: Barça forced to fight for a win

March 3rd, 2014

This weekend was an important one for Barça, with Real Madrid at the top of the table and Atletico equal on points with the Catalan club. Whatever happened elsewhere, Barcelona needed to win their match, while hoping that the Madrid derby would help out. While championships are never won or lost on a single fixture, the sooner they can leapfrog Madrid and open up the points gap the better.

In the end they didn’t disappoint, while the Madrid derby didn’t quite go as well as it might have. But then again, it means Atletico Madrid are now behind on points rather than behind on goal difference, while Real Madrid are just one point ahead.

Alexis made sure the home side went ahead inside 10 minutes when he fired in a rebound shot by Cesc Fabregas. With possession high as normal, Barça were in control of the game, although perhaps looking a little ragged at times. It took another quarter hour before the next game from Messi, who by luck or design curled the ball into the net from a free kick, way out of reach of the goalkeeper. However, minutes later Almeria got one back from a corner and the break came with Barça just a goal ahead.

Back on after the break Almeria started to look threatening at times, and while both Neymar and Messi both came close the score remained as it was.  With Iniesta brought on though the dynamic changed and inn the 83rd minute Messi headed the ball to the crossbar with Puyol put it home to make it 3-1. With the minutes ticketing down it looked as though Barcelona had just about done enough, but three minutes before the end Xavi scored again to seal the win for Barcelona.

1-0 Alexis (min 8)
2-0 Messi (min 23)
2-1 Trujillo (min 26)
3-1 Puyol (min 81)
4-1 Xavi (min 87)


La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 25

February 24th, 2014

Real Madrid are top of the table after both FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid lost this weekend. While the gap is only three points, it was a disappointing result for Barça, who will now be watch for Madrid to make an early slip. Their next league game is the Madrid derby against Atletico, which could prove to be interesting for Barcelona.

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Real Sociedad vs FC Barcelona: setback in San Sebastian

February 24th, 2014

With three teams tying for points at the head of the table it was just a matter of time before the deadlock was broken; this Saturday was when it happened. Earlier in the afternoon Real Madrid had played host to Elche, beating the visitors 3-0.

FC Barcelona’s match in San Sebastian turned out to be a different matter, with the Catalans unable to get fully into the game it and seeming to be lacking. Things started to unwind at the half hour mark when Real Sociedad scored from an Alex Song own goal, but even then it was just a matter of minutes before Messi struck back to equalise.

After the break things went badly wrong. Soon Griezmann but the Basques into the lead again followed by Zurutuza just minutes later. With Gerardo Martino receiving several warning from the ref during the first half he was obliged to sit out the second half from the stands. How much this affected Barça is impossible to know, but whatever the reason the Catalans were just unable to recover from this setback and ended the match 3-1 down.

The result leaves Barça trailing Real Madrid by three points, just ahead of Atletico Madrid on goal difference after they also lost on Sunday. There is still a long way to go in the league and there is still plenty of time for things to change. However, Barcelona can’t afford to have many more matches like that if they want to take this season’s league trophy.

1-0 Alex Song (min 31)
1-1 Messi (min 35)
2-1 Griezmann (min 52)
3-1 Zurutuza (min 57)


Manchester City vs FC Barcelona: Barça takes advantage in first leg win

February 19th, 2014

Goals by Leo Messi and Dani Alves ensured that Barcelona go into the return leg of the Champions League knockout against Manchester City as firm favourites for the semi-final. Early on Barcelona had close to 75% possession, but despite the impressive stats they were unable make it count.

However, as the hosts got into the match after the first quarter hour they began to threaten and soon Victor Valdes was called into action. Luckily every time he was needed Valdes was there and perhaps he wasn’t always as clean in stopping the ball as he would have liked, he was effective throughout.

Although the first half ended goalless, it wasn’t long after the break before the deadlock was broken when, eight minutes into the second half, Messi was brought down on the edge of the area by Demichelis. While replays showed it was probably outside the area the ref thought otherwise and Demichelis sent off. Messi scored from the penalty spot to put the Catalans ahead.

With one man down Pellegrini made some changes to the Man City lineup, but Barcelona was still unable to do as much as might be expected. The hosts had by no means given up on the match, while Barcelona wanted to slow down the pace as much as they could. Neymar came on for the last twenty minutes in place of Alexis and just as it looked as if Barça was going to win by a single goal a last minute move but Alves and Neymar saw Alves shoot the ball between the keeper’s legs and win the match 2-0.

0-1 Messi (min 53)
0-2 Dani Alves (min 89)


La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 24

February 17th, 2014

Once again the Spanish League sees the table headed by three teams on the same points, with FC Barcelona in the number 1 spot thanks to goals for. How many more weeks can this go on for?

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FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano: Barça masterclass ahead of Man City clash

February 17th, 2014

Saturday night was the turn of Rayo Vallecano, second bottom of the league, to play the mighty Barça at the Nou Camp. The first goal came inside two minutes with Adriando showing how Barcelona continued to go on, and although they dominated possession Rayo also had a couple of opportunities that looked dangerous.

The Barcelona attack was relentless though and with the ball hitting the posts time and time again it only looked a matter of time for the second goal from the hosts. Eventually it came when Messi chipped the ball over the head of the Rayo keeper and into the net and the first half ended 2-0.

Back on after the break Barça continued the attack and just a few minutes in Alexis scored their third of the night. Minutes later they made it 4-0 when Pedro scored after a fantastic move from Iniesta and Cesc. Despite the match being well under control, Barcelona maintained the pressure and Messi scored his second of the night.

Finally, just a couple of minutes before the full time whistle, Neymar, playing for last 20 minutes after a six week injury layoff, made it six for Barça. All in all a great confidence booster ahead of their Champions League clash against Manchester City on Tuesday.

1-0 Adriano (min 1)
2-0 Messi (min 35)
3-0 Alexis (min 52)
4-0 Pedro (min 55)
5-0 Messi (min 67)
6-0 Neymar (min 88)


Real Sociedad vs FC Barcelona: Barça through to Copa del Rey final

February 13th, 2014

Barcelona travelled to the Basque Country last night for the return leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final, the first leg of which they won 2-0 last week. The Catalans came on with one aim in mind and controlled possession throughout. However, try as they might, Real Sociedad made sure that Barça had little space to make the most of their high possession and were quick to counterattack, creating several dangerous situations.

Messi scored 26 minutes in, pretty much sealing a place in the final for Barcelona with the home team, but despite needing to score 4 goals the Basques kept on fighting to the end. The match was fairly tough, with five yellow cards handed out by the ref, and in the end Griezmann scored for Real Sociedad with a great shot in the closing minutes but there was no chance at all to catch up with Barça.

FC Barcelona will face Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final, currently scheduled for April 19th. That date is likely to change as it coincides with a weekend in which a league match is already scheduled and so something has to give.

0-1 Messi (min 26)
1-1 Griezmann (min 85)


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