MEET THE NEW season, same as the old season. After the frustration of last week’s postponement in La Liga, the league finally kicked off last weekend and we dined on a buffet of goals.
We start with Real Madrid, who continue to look a fantastic side once they are not playing Barcelona. Their routine 6-0 rout of Real Zaragoza on Sunday night featured a now obligatory hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo and a star turn from Mesut Ozil.
It was heartening to see Ozil in particular return to his playmaking best after his hall of fame hissy during the Supercopa scuffle with Barca. Stick to playing those through balls Mesut.
After Real laid down a marker on Sunday it was up to Barcelona to respond last night and they did so emphatically.
Villarreal arrived at the Camp Nou fresh from qualifying for the Champions league last Wednesday, but departed as everyone does; humbled. The 5-0 scoreline did not flatter Barca in any way. Pep Guardiola tried a new 3-1-3-3 formation, a move designed to counter the 1-10-0-0 standard that visitors usually deploy to stop the Catalans.
Javier Mascherano, Sergio Busquets and Eric Abidal were the back three which begs the question; is Pep making centre-halves redundant?
Cesc Fabregas was making his league debut for Barca and in a week where his former club were embarrassed at Old Trafford, the contrast between his old and new employers was as stark as it gets.
In three games with Barca, Fabregas has amassed as many medals as Arsenal have league goals. He scored the second of the five last night, racing onto a Lionel Messi pass. Messi helped himself to two and while each of the five were beautiful in their own way, the flea’s first was just about the pick of the bunch.
Malaga and their money were the story of the summer in Spain and an awful lot was expected when they opened their campaign on Sunday night away to Sevilla. The 2-1 loss to the Alvaro Negredo-inspired hosts may have burst their bubble somewhat, but some valuable lessons were learned.
For example, coach Manuel Pellegrini will have found out that Ruud Van Nistelrooy is about as useful as a chocolate fireguard unless someone can get him the ball. They do have Santi Carzola however and the €21m man showed why he is about 8th choice for Spain with a beauty of a free-kick (in video below).
Atletico Madrid have had one of those summers. Their despair at losing Kun Aguero to Manchester City was tempered slightly by the signing of Colombian superstar Falcao from Porto. The record €35m man was watching from the stands as Atletico laboured to a goalless draw with perennial strugglers Osasuna.
That result came hot on the heels of the news that Diego Forlan was packing his bags for Inter Milan. It promises to be an interesting year at the Calderon.
Your bonkers game of the weekend came courtesy of Valencia and Racing Santander. Roberto Soldado scored the opener, then an o.g, followed by the equaliser and finally the winner in a match that had more twists than The Usual Suspects. Concentrate now.
Barcelona 5-0 Villarreal, Real Madrid 6-0 Real Zaragoza, Sevilla 2-1 Malaga, Getafe 1-1 Levante, Valencia 4-3 Racing Santander, Granada 0-1 Real Betis, Atletico Madrid 0-0 Osasuna, Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Rayo, Mallorca 1-0 Espanyol, Sporting 1-2 Real Sociedad.