Three weeks ago, everyone was talking of Valencia get-crushing Barcelona and Real Madrid’s party as far as the Spanish La Liga title is concerned, but going into this weekend’s matches, the league table has taken quite a familiar outlook.
The usual suspects, Real Madrid and Barcelona, have already taken up the top two positions with early pace-setters, Valencia, laying a distant fifth on 17 points, nine behind Real Madrid after just 10 games.
Villarreal are third on 23 points, two adrift of second placed Barcelona, their next opponent this weekend. The Yellow Submarines, just like Valencia, to many, are more of title pretenders than real contenders, but will go out and attack Barcelona at the Camp Nou, as they seek to confirm their place in the fight for the title.
There have been complaints that the Spanish top flight has become a two-horse race between Barcelona and Real Madrid, but so far this season, Villarreal have managed to keep in touch.
However, whether they can maintain the standards and live with the leaders’ pace remains, another issue altogether. Valencia tried it in the early stages of the season, but it appears as though they are on the way to failing than achieving their dream.
Given the history of the Spanish La Liga (past winners), it’s only normal that Barcelona and Real Madrid are competing for the league every other season, but this year, there is not such a big gap between them and third-placed Villarreal.
The Yellow Submarines have got nothing to lose, but to go out and try to push the big boys all the way, but first, they must avoid defeat against Barcelona, because defeat will mean they are five points behind the champions, and may not be able to crawl themselves back into contention.
To play at Camp Nou is very difficult and not only Villarreal, but all teams that play there, have to give 100 percent in order to take something positive from the game.
Barcelona will be without the suspended defender Gerard Pique but they have a forward line beaming with confidence, having scored eight goals in their last two matches. Lionel Messi and David Villa are starting to develop a potent partnership.
In particular, Messi the Argentinean international has picked up from where he left off last season, scoring goals for fun; he already has 8 league goals in 8 matches.
As Barcelona and Villarreal settle a few scores at the Camp Nou, table toppers Real Madrid, who have made a dream start to a league season under Jose Mourinho, travel to Sporting Gijon on the back of eight wins and two draws, so far. Jose Mourinho’s side is the only unbeaten team in La Liga this season.
Real are a young team with a lot of quality all over the pitch, and it seems as though there is a very good team spirit around the Santiago Bernabue. Under Mourinho, Madrid look a complete team now than they have been in years, and with the Special One in charge, Pep Guardiola (the Barca coach) must be wetting his panties.