La Liga Week Two Review by Mark Young
La Liga Week Two Review by Mark Young (Twitter: @markyoung1988)
The international games had finished and La Liga kicked back into action with a bang and a huge surprise on Saturday evening.
The weekend did not go to plan for Guardiola's team. That is not a misprint because the mighty Barcelona showed that they were fragile and even though they were in complete control of proceedings, points were dropped. It looked oh so easy for the European champions as two goals in two minutes from Xavi and Cesc Fabregas put the away side two goals up against Real Sociedad. The Catalans dictated the tempo and were on top for huge spells as is expected against whoever they play. Sociedad also scored two in a shocking spell as Imanol Agirrexte pulled the first goal back before Antoine Griezmann scored the equaliser. Barcelona had no reply and as stoppage time drew near it was Sociedad pressing harder. Those two points could prove to be vital, the game was Barcelona's and they threw it away. It was up to Real Madrid to take advantage.
Mourinho's men were in no mood to give up early points in the battle to dethrone Barcelona. Real Madrid secured another three points after beating Getafe 4-2 in the Madrid derby at the Bernebeu although they did go in at half time level after a Miku goal cancelled out Karim Benzema's opener. Cristiano Ronaldo scored again as he restored Los Blancos' lead on the hour mark. Benzema got his second as did Miku as five goals were shared 3-2. As Getafe pushed for an equaliser Gonzalo Higuain came off the bench to secure Madrid's perfect start to the campaign.
Their other neighbours, Atletico Madrid, travelled to the Mestalla to face Valencia. Atletico are still looking for their first goal of the league season as a single Roberto Soldado headed goal to nil beat Atletico and gave Valencia their second win out of two games. Falcao made his debut for Atletico but suffered from very little service from out wide which is where he scored most of his goals from for Porto last season.
El Madrigal was the venue for Villarreal against Sevilla. The ten men of the yellow submarine managed to cling onto a 2-2 draw at home and will be very happy to pick up their opening point of the season in rather difficult circumstances. Diego Lopez, the Villarreal stopper was sent off within 25 minutes for a foul on Perotti. The penalty was saved but Negredo scored the follow up. Giuseppe Rossi then scored his first of the season from the spot before half time. Marco Ruben gave the home side the lead with time running out Alexis headed an equaliser to secure a point for his team in a match they must have thought, after the sending off was winnable.
The early kick off on Sunday saw Real Betis win their second game since returning to La Liga 1-0 at home to Real Mallorca. Ruben Castro netted four minutes from time to maintain the 100% record. Alvaro Cejudo and Nino were on the score sheet as Osasuna, who were unlucky to have lost to Valencia in the first game week claimed their first victory of the season against troubled Sporting Gijon. Sergio Garcia netted a brace in the Sunday's live encounter against Athletic Bilbao. Espanyol ran out 2-1 winners but Bilbao will feel they deserved at least a point. Racing Santander and Rayo Vallecano were held to goal less draws at home by Levante and real Zaragoza respectively.
Monday's game was a chance for big spending Malaga to get their first points on the board at home to newly promoted Granada. It seemed too easy for the expensively assembled squad as they ran out 4-0 winners. Their biggest summer signing, Santi Cazorla netted himself a brace and so did former Valencia winger Joaquin. Van Nistelrooy could have scored his first for the club but was denied by the Grenada keeper as Malaga dominated. 4-0 was a fair reflection of the game and Granada can have no complaints.
It was a complete shock to see Barcelona drop points but it was a bigger shock to see them be dropped in such a way. To be two goals up and in control of the game to switch off for five minutes and drop what could be vital points will be a huge confidence boost for their rivals in white in Madrid. There will be a lot of movement by Spain's big two but at the moment, after week two, Mourinho has the advantage.