Matchday two in La Liga this season seems to display the slight true color of Real Madrid’s and Barcelona’s prospective campaign after their impressive opener last weekend. The two most successful teams in Spanish football might have to deal with more challenges this season without their long term skippers, Sergio Ramos and Lionel Messi for the first time in decade.
Real Madrid may have had David Alaba as Ramos’s replacement but the Austrian tends to be deployed as a wing back instead of a centre back by Carlo Ancellotti. Los Blancos’s defence looked less solid and easily conceded while meeting Levante. They could only muster a 3-3 draw as Roger Marti, Jose Campana and Robert Pier found the back of their net. Ancelotti’s men had to struggle after leading early through Gareth Bale. They eventually had to rely on Vinicius Jr to level the score sheet instead of Eden Hazard who was expected to keep his positive form last weekend. The Italian boss would have to improve their form if he does plan to keep his position till the end of the season.
Their archrival, Barcelona saw Messi’s absence more apparent last weekend. Without their GOAT, they lack of creativity and pace on penetration. Antoine Griezmann who took over the Argentine’s post did not thrive at all. They could only pick up one point on their visit to San Mames, Bilbao after being held in a 1-1 draw by the Basque side. Inigo Martinez netted an opener through his header. Luckily, their new signing, Memphis Depay netted the equaliser through his maiden goal for Blaugrana. Koeman is expected to find solution for covering Messi’s absence upfront.
Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona 1-1
Goals: Inigo Martinez (50); Memphis Depay (75)
Athletic Bilbao: Agirrezabala – Vivian, Inigo Martinez, Balenziaga, Lekue – Unai Vencedor (Mikel Vesga 67), Iker Muniain (Nico Williams 76), Dani Garcia (Oier Zarraga 82), Alex Berenguer (Jon Morcillo 82) – Inaki Williams, Oihan Sancet (Raul Garcia 67)
Barcelona: Neto – Gerard Pique (Ronald Araujo 31), Eric Garcia, Sergino Dest (Emerson Royal 82), Jordi Alba – Frankie de Jong, Pedri (Sergi Roberto 62), Sergio Busquets – Antoine Griezmann, Martin Braithwaite (Yusuf Demir 62), Memphis Depay
The two giants’ prospective downfall could be a good news for the other contenders such as Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Villareal or even Real Betis and Real Sociedad. They could bring a new fresh look in La Liga title race, something the administrator have been expecting, especially after they agreed on the deal with CVC recently, which could prevent the ongoing hegemony of Madrid and Barcelona.
Getafe vs Sevilla 0-1
Osasuna vs Celta Vigo 0-0
Atletico vs Elche 1-0
Betis vs Cadiz 1-1
Granada vs Valencia 1-1
Espanyol vs Villareal 0-0
Alaves vs Mallorca 0-1
Real Sociedad vs Rayo Vallecano 1-0