Week 26: March 3 and 4, 2012
Last week another 3/10. The only thing one can predict with reasonable certainty is that Zaragoza will lose. Some peculiar results from last week include Levante beating Espanyol, Villareal over Athletic and Sevilla over Valencia. In addition, Rayo probably should have beaten Real Madrid. Plus, if it’s any indication of the bizarre things happening in soccer right now, the U.S. beat Italy 1-0 for the first time ever in a friendly last week, a streak that lasted 78 years. Alright now I feel better blaming my poor performance on a string of unexpected results rather than my own inability to pick more than 60% of any given week’s games correctly.
As always, I will cover each game and assign a ‘1’ for a home team win, an ‘x’ for a draw, and a ‘2’ for an away team win. Please feel free to post your own Quiniela in the comments section. At the end of the season if you have a better winning percentage than I do, Todd will buy you a steak dinner at the restaurant of your choosing.
1. Barcelona (2nd) – Sporting (19th): 1
50 goals scored and only 4 against for Barcelona at home this season. Marca, the Madrid based tabloid is reporting that Barcelona’s president, Sandro Rosell, and coach Pep Guardiola had a meeting at Rosell’s house last night to discuss the latter’s renovation, with signs pointing to Pep’s staying on at the Camp Nou. The players want Pep to stay and what better way to show the love then a win this weekend.
2. Sevilla (10th) – Atlético de Madrid (9th): X
Atlético almost walked away with a win last week against Barcelona. A game like that with high stakes and high emotions can sometimes leave a team deflated the next week. Interestingly, we get to see the ‘Michel’ effect versus the ‘Simeone’ effect against one another this week. Both of these coaches have done well since taking their managerial places at Sevilla and Atlético, respectively. If anything might tilt the scale in favor of Atlético it could be their hatred of Michel, a former Real Madrid hero.
3. Granada (16th) – Valencia (3rd): 2
Poor Fernando Torres, you have one bad year at Chelsea, get dropped from the Spain’s national team, and your replacement, Valencia’s Roberto Soldado, comes in and has a hat trick in his first game after being welcomed back to the national side. Although I think Torres eventually bounces back, maybe with a lesser club (and maybe with lesser expectations), Soldado is going to continue scorching defenses and we should see him featuring for Spain in the Euros this year.
4. Mallorca (15th) – Osasuna (7th): 2
Osasuna is missing their top two striking options, but with so much to play for still I think they steal a win here.
5. Athletic de Bilbao (5th) – Real Sociedad (13th): X
It has been 11 years since Real Sociedad’s last win in San Mames. Athletic is really having a great year and has a chance to show its force in Europe in the games coming up against Manchester United. It may be too much to ask for a victory, but with Athletic focused on Man U a draw is not out of the question.
6. Zaragoza (20th) – Villareal (17th): 2
See number 5, above.
7. Getafe (14th) – Málaga (6th): 2
Málaga has the benefit of playing with Spain international Santi Cazorla who is on fire lately and while Getafe might be somewhat of a more formidable opponent than Zaragoza (whom Málaga spanked 5-1 last week), Málaga is the better team and should get the away result.
8. Levante (4th) – Betis (12th): 2
All aboard the Levante bandwagon? Nope. 1 win in 9 matches hardly does it for me. Last week’s win against Espanyol notwithstanding, I’m not back on it yet. If Levante somehow makes it to the end of the season in the top four, I’ll treat Todd to a steak.
9. Real Madrid (1st) – Espanyol (8th): 1
Jose Mourinho spent a couple of days in London last week, presumably for vacation, but that has done nothing but stoke the fires burning for his return, possibly even to former club, Chelsea. Although Mourinho has stated that he wants to win the ‘triple’ of the Champions League, La Liga, and the Copa del Rey, it could be that a league title and a Copa del Rey crown is all he takes back with him.
10. Rayo Vallecano (11th) – Racing de Santander (18th):
As noted above, after a hard fought loss to a big team (Rayo really could have done better against Real Madrid last week) a team can sometimes experience a post-match hangover, losing focus on the future. However, Rayo has enough firepower to get past Racing at home.
As always, you can locate where to watch La Liga at bars around you by checking out the search feature of WhereToWatch.com. If you know of a bar that shows soccer or La Liga games that we’ve missed, feel free to give us the inside tip here.
By: Ryan Moore