A critical week 6 is upon us in La Liga. 3 Catalan speaking clubs lead the way while Murinho’s boys lie sandwiched in between. Valencia currently sits in1stfollowed by Villarreal, Real Madrid, and Barcelona.
I am a Real Madrid supporter (I’ll try not to favor them too much). My favorite player is Sergio Ramos. Ramos is doubtful for this week’s Real match in which they face Malaga on Saturday night in La Rosaleda. This is how my weekly “La Liga” briefing will be structured: players to watch, impact foreign player of the week, hot team, cold team, predictions (using a quiniela format), coach to watch, and match of the week. I look forward to having all of your participation. Feel the passion, the power, and the intensity of La liga!!!!!
Players to Watch: David Villa, Giuseppe Rossi, Aritz Aduriz
David Villa (if he plays) will square off against his old team this weekend. Statistically, he has managed only 2 goals thus far. He has adamantly declared he will not celebrate a goal if he happens to score one to pay respect to the club (Valencia) that helped catapult his career. On Wednesday, Villa tied Schalke’s Raul with 44 international goals playing for “la roja” (the Spanish National team). He looks to continue this scoring pattern in what will be a crucial match for the azulgrana at the Nou Camp this Saturday at 2:00p.Est. I find it hard to believe he’d miss this occasion but I am aware of his lingering knee issue.
Giuseppe Rossi, the New Jersey born, Italian national team player already has 4 goals this season for a Villarreal team that has had no trouble finding the back of the net. He’s featured in the “Monday Night Football” game against newly promoted Hercules; both hail from the same “comunidad valenciana”.
Aritz Aduriz, the 29yr old Basque striker, who has played for Mallorca the last few years fine tuning his skills, has had a monumental impact this season for Valencia. He surprises new people every week. After his recent call-up to “la roja” for the Euro 2012 qualifiers, look for his confidence and attitude to be in top form. He’s got 3 goals already and will look to add more to his total against Barca this weekend.
Impact Foreign Player of the Week: Nilmar
Nilmar Honorato da Silva is probably the best Brazilian striker who nobody knows. He leads La Liga in goals and before coming to Villarreal, had played his entire club ball in France or Brazil. He can team up with Rossi, Cazorla, Senna Capdevila and even fellow American Altidore to continue Villarreal’s winning ways. If he continues to have success, he could find his way to the Bernabeau as the transfer window quickly approaches.
Hot Team: Valencia
16 pts in La Liga. A reduced debt of 150 million. 1st place. Valencia are playing well. They managed to just concede one goal to Manchester United in the Champions league. And had a hard fought tie against Atletico Madrid. Look for a draw this weekend as they head to the Nou Camp to fight against rivals, Barca. However, losing their star player Joaquin for the match could prove to be costly.
Cold Team: Deportivo La Coruña
On one hand, it’s been all draws and losses as well as shameful performances for the Galician boys. On the other hand, the early strength of their schedule and weekly tests may prove that this team can handle adversity as the season progresses. After last week’s 6-1 thumping against Real Madrid, Depor has a ton of work to do. They host Osasuna in the Riazor, as Guardado and company look to ascend from the relegation cellar where they currently sit with only 3 points.
A Few Predictions (using the Quiniela Format):
Barcelona v. Valencia: X
Malaga v. Real Madrid: 2
Atletico v. Getafe: X
Athletic Bilbao v. Zaragoza: X
Sporting Gijon v. Sevilla: X
Trainer to Watch: Pep Guardiola
Huge match for Josep this weekend. With Xavi ruled out and a host of other injuries and aches affecting his team (including Pedro and Villa), Spanish fans will be watching Pep very closely. Will he convince Messi, Villa (has a nagging knee problem), Maserchano, and Valdes to step up? He’s telling the media that all is under control but if Barca draws or somehow loses to the Valencian leaders; expect a large outcry from the Catalunyan crazies.
Match of the week: Barcelona v. Valencia
Must-see TV. After el clasico, it’s probably the biggest rivalry. This Saturday night match (in Spain, afternoon in the states) will feature two of the league’s top teams. Don’t forget about the shared language, the stars, and two of the more popular trainers. It’s a quiniela stumper/buster especially with Barca leaving many perplexed as they continue to create opportunities but cannot manage to capitalize. Xavi won’t play, neither will Joaquin and even David Villa is doubtful. Regardless, make sure to tune in for this epic battle.
About the Author
Written by Timothy Ashe Jr.
Tim was born and raised in Downers Grove, IL (a suburb of Chicago). He graduated with a degree in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign and also holds University English Language Excellence certificates. He's fluent in Spanish and teaches both English and Spanish in his spare time. He's a Real Madrid and Chicago Fire aficionado and is partial towards the EPL and LFP. His hope is that the game of soccer can continue to grow in the U.S.A. and for our men's national team to eventually win the World Cup.