La Liga: Real Madrid gear up for Liverpool with 4-0 rout
Tom Wellman reflects on Barcelona's shock loss to Celta Vigo and Real Madrid's 4-0 win at Granada
Celta Vigo claim historic win and come back to haunt Enrique
Barcelona suffered their second league defeat in a row as impressive Celta Vigo grabbed a hard-fought 1-0 win at the Nou Camp. Boss Luis Enrique was facing his former team and, although an ode to his management skills how far Celta have come, Barca were nonetheless expected to get back to winning ways. Starting with a frontline featuring Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, Barca created chances for their front three, but were unable to score due to a sturdy woodwork and an in-form Sergio Alvarez. Messi and Neymar endured frustrating evenings, hitting the post four times between them, whilst Suarez, yet to win in a Barca shirt, was stopped by Sergio. Joaquin Larrivey finished off a neat move involving ex-La Masia star Nolito who has been in stunning form this season. His backheel into Larrivey’s path was sublime, and could be enough to attract the attention of national team boss Vicente del Bosque. Nolito has come on under Enrique’s tutelage, now he’ll have to repeat the trick for his Barcelona squad.
Rodriguez, Benzema and Ronaldo on fire as Real head to the top
Real Madrid leapt to the top of La Liga after Barcelona’s slip-up, scoring another four goals against Granada. James Rodriguez was the star, scoring twice including a stunning volley, as Real’s front three came together as one. Despite losing Gareth Bale to injury, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema have been in sensational form, scoring with almost every shot, whilst either Rodriguez or Isco have stepped up to add to Real’s awesome striking power. Frenchman Benzema teed up the first two goals for Ronaldo and Rodriguez, before the Portuguese striker returned the favour with a delightful backheel. Not to be outdone, Ronaldo then set up Rodriguez for his second to complete a match where all three forwards linked up in unison. Liverpool had better beware again on Tuesday night.
Sevilla miss out on top spot
Unai Emery’s Sevilla had the chance to go top on Sunday if they could win at Athletic Bilbao, but his side endured a woeful afternoon, losing out to Aritz Aduriz’s header. Last season’s Europa League winners have been enjoying their season so far, hanging around the top of the table having won seven of their last eight, and looked the worst side for out of form Bilbao to face. However, Aduriz nodded the winner early on as Aymeric Laporte and Markel Susaeta also had chances to increase Bilbao’s lead. Sevilla in contrast could only manage a single shot on target as Liverpool loanee Iago Aspas failed to bring his side level after scoring a hat-trick in the Copa del Rey last week. They now sit two points behind Real Madrid, but in fifth after Atletico Madrid and Valencia won to overtake them. If Real Madrid begin to stumble, La Liga could have a fascinating title run-in again.
Moyes in the frame for Sociedad job after Arrasate sacking
Strong rumours about the future of Jagoba Arrasate’s job surfaced after last week’s draw with Cordoba, and whilst the club looked to be arranging a replacement, they kept faith with their manager for one more week. The board then reconsidered after another defeat, this time a 1-0 reverse to Malaga, and Arrasate was off after a week of speculation. Spanish media reports linking former Mainz boss Thomas Tuchel with the job have died down recently in favour of David Moyes, an unlikely candidate for the role. Moyes wouldn’t be the first British manager to coach Sociedad after Chris Coleman and John Toshack had stints there, but would he take on a job so diverse from the one he faced at Old Trafford?