Espanyol v FCB—Irresistible Force meets Inanimate Object Edition
Espanyol (4th/28pts) v
This was the last league match before the Winter Break (suck it EPL/SPL), and the Barcelona Derby had more juice than it had had in years.
Espanyol have been flying high this year. Since a loss at the end of October to Depor, Espanyol are unbeaten in 5 matches (four wins, one draw) but last week they suffered defeat away to Athletic Bilbao because they didn’t convert their first half dominance. Osvaldo had a goal and looked lively in the opening stanza, but it was hard to see him getting much joy against the Blaugrana. Los Periquitos put on a brave front heading into the match, with the coach Mauricio Pochettino and the squad telling anyone who would listen that they were not afraid of Barca and would give them a game.
Team News was follows—
Espanyol: Manu Molina and Javi Lopez weren’t expected to play. Raul Rodriguez and David Lopez had hamstring issues. Duscher had to leave because of a death in the family.
Espanyol 1 - 5
Usually I break down formations and TACTICS! and substitutions and take you through the game. Not today. I will sum it thusly—Espanyol played a high defensive line with very little pressure on the FCB center mids. The last team that tried that was Real Madrid, and ask the Special One how that turned out for them. Almost every goal was a
Deportivo La Coruña 1 - 1 Sporting
Super Depor got off to a good start on 12’ when Sporting goalkeeper Juan Pablo Colinas spilled a shot right in front of the goal, which Aythami was able to tap in. They looked on their way to three vital points before Sporting captain Diego Castro nodded in the equalizer with minutes to go.
Levante 1 - 2 Athletic
Villarreal 3 - 1
Cazorla opened the scoring on 10’ but
Rossi put them back in front minutes later from the penalty spot and Nilmar sealed the points after a delightful chip over the goalkeeper.
Obligatory Jozy Update: came on as a sub for Rossi with about 5’ to go.
Real Sociedad 1 - 2
A dodgy penalty got Sociedad on their way, but Los Che recovered thanks to wonderful free kick by Tino Costa right before half time (MUST SEE TV). Aduriz claimed the winner in injury time after the GK played a horrible pass out of the back.
Osasuna 0 - 0 Real
Osasuna missed a real chance to move clear of the relegation zone against bottom of the table Real Zaragoza. Highlights are filled with poor finishes from both sides.
Málaga 0 - 3 Atlético
Los Colchoneros rebounded from their European exit by disposing of
I followed this game on twitter and @sidlowe had less than glowing things to say about it. Carvalho got sent off but Di Maria grabbed the winner against Los Rojiblancos with a very composed finish and continued Sevilla’s league shame spiral (four losses in a row).
Neither team was able to break the deadlock in this match. Racing had the upper hand most of the match, with Pedro Munitis having a dynamic first half. Several chances fell to Colsa of Racing but he was unable to convert. Portillo hit the crossbar for Hercules in the second half but that was about it.
Table at the winter break
Villarreal 16 33
Espanyol 16 28
Atlético 16 26
Athletic 16 25
R Sociedad 16 22
Sevilla 16 20
Hercules 16 19
Deportivo 16 18
Racing 16 18
Osasuna 16 17
Levante 16 15
Málaga 16 13
Sporting 16 12
Quick mid-season recap:
Based on what I’ve seen thus far, I don’t see the top four changing, but I think the next couple of spots could get reshuffled. In theory,
The Copa del Rey starts this week and I hope to have comments on the results in the following days. I am also putting together some early thoughts on the Champions League and Europa League draws for teams from the Primera Divison. Stay tuned.