Before the season started, no one could predict that after five matches, Valencia would be sitting atop of the Primera Division table standing or that Deportivo La Coruna would be struggling to stay in the division.
Taking a look at the La Liga table standings after the first five matches of the new season, there can be no denying that the league table has a refreshing, competitive feel even if the season is still in its infancy.
Thirteen points from a possible 15 have shot Valencia to the summit of La Liga, something you cannot say they don’t thoroughly deserve. Unai Emery’s side, expected by many to struggle this season, have been ruthless in dispatching their opponents.
Four wins and a draw is a not a bad return for a side that accumulated more transfer revenue than any other side in Europe during the last transfer window. Due to bulging debts, Valencia sold their top stars including David Villa, David Silva, Nikola Zigic and Carlos Marchena.
After adding David Villa to their already rich roaster, Barcelona were expected to continue their domination of their competitors, having dropped just 15 points in the whole of the 2009-10 campaign, while Real Madrid, with Jose Mourinho in charge were to be in hot pursuit.
It’s still too early for Valencia and their faithful to start counting their eggs since the Big Two will be expected to up their game as the season Progresses .
They both have squads big and strong enough to stand the demands of the season, unlike Valencia and fellow pretenders, Villarreal.
But, for now at least, the anticipated continuation of the duopoly (of Barcelona and Real Madrid) has been waylaid by the two best-placed pretenders (Valencia and Villarreal), and the more it continues like this the better, especially for the La Liga purists.
However, one of the most interesting talking points in these early stages of the season is whether indeed Valencia’s early pace is for real. Against Manchester United in the Champions League on Wednesday, they suffered their first defeat of the season at home, in a match the hosts deserved more.
Elsewhere, following last weekend’s drab draw against lowly Levante, Real Madrid will be aiming to inflict more misery upon struggling Deportivo La Coruna when the two sides meet on Sunday at the Bernabeu.
Deportivo slipped into the bottom two following their 2-0 loss to Almeria last week at home. And to add insult to an injury, Deportivo also had defender Diego Colotto sent off, which rules him out of the trip to the capital. They have also scored just twice in five league games this season.
Therefore, while Valencia will be aiming to maintain their lead at home to Bilbao and Deportivo to frustrate Real Madrid, Balearic Islands outfit Mallorca will be aiming to avoid a third successive away league defeat when the travel to the Nou Camp.
Barcelona were made to work hard for their 3-1 win over Bilbao last weekend to move into third place, one point behind Valencia and one better than Real in fourth place.