Wow what a week in Spain! My head is still reeling from all the happenings.
Starting off last weekend, Lionel Messi finally broke Gerd Müller’s 40-year record of most goals scored in a calendar year against Real Betis: 85 goals. Then he surpassed it. On Wednesday in the Copa del Rey, he added on to his total. He said he wanted to make it harder for the next person to break. He may very well succeed in that goal since he still has a few games left until the end of the year. But Messi wasn’t the only profligate scorer in Spain.
Radamel Falcao. I cannot stress enough how important this player has become this season. Last season, we knew he was good. This season, he’s showing us how good he is and can be. On Sunday, Falcao had a total of five shots against Deportivo La Coruña. All five shots went in. That’s 100% efficiency from the Colombian. Wow! After the game, he said it was one of the greatest days of his life. Diego Costa also scored for Atlético Madrid, but no one could see anything other than Falcao’s fantastic five.
On the other hand, Real Madrid aren’t doing so hot. First they lost away to Real Betis 1-0 then came back the next week in the Madrid Derby to beat Atlético 2-0. Last week, Los Blancos had to fight tooth and nail, throwing on all their attacking power, with only Pepe and Xabi Alonso defending, to beat Valladolid 3-2. On Tuesday, Celta Vigo beat Real Madrid 2-0 in the Copa del Rey midweek fixture.
What happened to the record-setting, invincible Real Madrid from last year?! The 2011-12 Real Madrid team would obliterate teams away from home and in the Santiago Bernabéu. Now they’re losing 2-0 to a team ranked 15th in the league. It’s probably just a tad hysterical to be saying #RealMadridinCrisis, but it’s kind of how I’m feeling. Kaká’s still sitting on the bench…maybe bring him on to solve some problems? Maybe Higuaín just needs to heal faster to provide some extra attacking spark? Or possibly keeping the team so similar to last year has dulled the ambition of the team overall?
Barcelona, on the other hand, are continuing their incredible unbeaten record in league play. This weekend they take on Atlético Madrid. While the Madrid Derby was a bit of a let down in terms of exciting play, maybe this fixture will make up for it. Real Betis put up on hell of a fight last weekend, and Barça only just got away with a 2-1 win. Can Atlético pull off the impossible with goal-addicted Falcao at the helm?
The most surprising thing I saw over the weekend fixtures came from Rayo Vallecano where the fans protested rising ticket prices, Monday night matches, and the handling of their club in general:
In other news, Valencia fired Pellegrino after a disappointing start to the season and registered their first win against Osasuna under their new manager Valverde. I wonder if the owners are rethinking their decision to fire Unai Emery who kept Valencia in 3rd for so long. Mallorca went from a great start to their season to a horrible string of losses. They need to figure out what the problem is soon in order to turn their season around. Here are the full results from league fixtures and the Copa del Rey:
Espanyol 2-2 Sevilla
Real Sociedad 1-1 Getafe
Málaga 4-0 Granada
Real Valladolid 2-3 Real Madrid
Osasuna 0-1 Valencia
Levante 4-0 Mallorca
Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Celta Vigo
Atlético Madrid 6-0 Deportivo La Coruña
Real Betis 1-2 Barcelona
Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Real Zaragoza
Osasuna 0-2 Valencia
Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Eibar
Cordoba 0-2 Barcelona
Mallorca 0-5 Sevilla
Atlético Madrid 3-0 Getafe
Celta Vigo 2-0 Real Madrid
Photos courtesy of LigaBBVA.com.