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La Liga 2018-19: The Next Generation

Discussion in 'Breakfast with Gazza (with Sachmoneious Bullcrap)' started by Zososoxfan, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    Last season we had a La Liga thread in addition to the Atleti and Barca threads (no Meringues allowed!) and I thought it was a solid addition. Frankly, there's not always a ton of action in the club-specific threads, so the Liga thread acts as a catch-all at times.

    This season in particular could be a good one for a league thread. Real has gone thru a ton of change, headlined by the departures of Zizou and Ronaldo. The only incoming transfer I'm aware of is Odriozola from Sociedad, which is a nice pickup, but Carvajal is still around (and 26 years old) so this is not some crucial change. I've heard that Benz is still a possibility to leave, but that doesn't seem likely. Bale will really have the onus to shape this year's edition of Real, but he will have plenty of help from Isco, Modric, Kroos, and Casemiro. Asensio will have another year to show that his coming out party two seasons ago was legit and not a flash in the pan. Kovacic, Theo Hernandez, and Lucas Vazquez are still around, so the cupboard is not bare. Nevertheless, this is the shakiest I can remember Real coming into a season since the Mourinho days. I do not know much about Lopetegui as a manager. He has guided the Spain NT since 2016 to a 14-6-0 record (9-1-0 in WCQ) and before that he had 3 OK seasons with Porto. Not that Real would ever admit it, but this would be a great season for them to run out their young guns and see who could be a starter for the next great Madrid team. The current team's core is getting old (Modric, Kroos, Benz, Ramos, Marcelo) and they need to break in some players. Or they could just accelerate the transfer of Mbappe and they will keep threatening for hardware.

    Barca I discussed at length in the Barca thread, but I'm a bit worried about the attack. Luisito is on his last legs as a world class CF, Messi is getting older, Dembouz has all the promise in the world but is a teenager, and it's not clear what Coutinho's best role is for the club. The recent acquisition of Malcom gives Ernie an extra option, and there is some young attacking talent around in Denis, Alena, and Arnaiz, but Ernie has yet to show that he can create a world class attack when Messi and Suarez are not on form. Nevertheless, the club has made some intelligent defensive transfers in the past few seasons (Umtiti, Semedo, Lenglet, Mina, Digne) that will keep them very solid at the back, and if 1-2 players break thru in the MF (Roberto, Samper, Coutinho, Arthur), they could be very strong on a week-to-week basis, but the club may still have a problem in UCL.

    Atleti supporters are likely pleased with the summer transfer window headlined by Griezmann surprising many folks by staying with the Colchoneros instead of hopping over to Barca. Although I didn't think much of his WC, I think Griezmann is a top 10 attacking player in the world and he will continue to improve as he gets more familiar with Costa and his other mates. Bringing in Lemar was a bold move and gives them another dynamic attacker, which is key for this mostly defensive squad. Snapping up Rodri from Villareal was also a shrewd move although the MF is crowded with Saul, Koke, and Thomas. I will be watching the development of Angel Correa closely and Vietto is back from loan, although time is getting short for him in a hurry.

    Valencia are coming off a nice 4th place season and while they lost Cancelo (for $40M!), they grabbed Kondogbia, Diakhaby, Piccini, and Wass. They have a young hungry squad and Marcelino is a solid manager.

    Villareal finished 5th last season and while they lost the aforementioned Rodri to Atleti, they brought in Moreno from Espanyol, Ekambi, Caseres,and Funes Mori. They play attractive football and La Liga is more enjoyable when this club is competitive.

    Betis came out of nowhere last season and finished ahead of local rival Sevilla for 6th. They too attached like glorious bastards and scored 60 goals (only Barca, (99 lol), Real (94), Valencia (65), and Sociedad (66) hit that mark). They lost a promising MF in Ruiz to Napoli and a young CB in Pezzella to Fiorentina, but picked up Carvalho from Sporting.

    Sevilla round out the top 7 and although they have some quality players in Muriel, Banega, and Nzonzi, this is a pretty old team that may be headed for tougher days ahead. I love Joaquin Correa on the wing (Argentina homer alert!), but Lenglet was probably their best player last season and Barca got him.

    Last season's bottom 3 of Depor, Las Palmas, and Malaga were significantly worse than the rest of the league. Depor finished third from the bottom which was still 14 points worse than Leganes.

    Huesca from the Aragon region is joining La Liga for the first time in their history, Vallecano return after a 2 year absence, and Valladolid (the only club in Castile y Leon) is back after a 4 year absence. There are no clubs from Asturias (Oviedo, Gijon), Cantabria (Santander), Navarra (Osasuna), La Rioja (Logrones), Extremadura (Merida, Badajoz), La Mancha (Albacete, Guadelajara, or Murcia (Murcia) this season.
     
  2. slamminsammya

    slamminsammya Member SoSH Member

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    Atletico supposedly signing Gelson Martins who was released from his contract at Sporting Clube de Portugal after their bizarre ultras fiasco. He's a beast in football manager!
     
  3. Vinho Tinto

    Vinho Tinto Member SoSH Member

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    Sporting will file a lawsuit that will dispute the “release” of Gelson and Rui Patricio.
     
  4. bosox4283

    bosox4283 Member SoSH Member

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    Thanks for starting this thread!

    It's pretty cool that there are four teams from the Basque Country in first division -- Athetic Bilbao, Eibar, Alaves, and Real Sociedad.

    Conversely, southern Spain is pretty light at the moment with our two teams -- Sevilla and Betis -- in first division.
     
  5. slamminsammya

    slamminsammya Member SoSH Member

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    Don't forget Podence and Carvalho. Those players altogether were easily worth 70 million Euros in transfer fees, maybe more. What a disaster for Sporting. Carvalho signed with Betis, relevant to this thread.
     
  6. bosox4283

    bosox4283 Member SoSH Member

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    Do we know what TV channel is carrying La Liga this year? Is it BEIN again?

    Last year, I used GO90 to watch games -- I think it was a Verizon thing? -- but it has since been discontinued.
     
  7. Domer

    Domer Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

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    BeIN has LaLiga trough 2019-20. The channel is currently unavailable on Xfinity due to a carriage dispute.
     
  8. bosox4283

    bosox4283 Member SoSH Member

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    Super Cup talk here?

    Costa with a brilliant goal in the first minute!
     
  9. bosox4283

    bosox4283 Member SoSH Member

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    Thanks.
     
  10. bosox4283

    bosox4283 Member SoSH Member

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    Atletico is doing Atletico-things: playing defensively, making me nervous with the defensive line quite close to Oblak, and waiting for the counter.

    I get it, I do. This strategy yields results, and this match is the first of the season. But I'm a little tired of playing so deferential against Real Madrid when Altetico's team is equal if not a bit better. Saul, Koke, Griezmann, Costa, and Lemar are really, really good.
     
  11. bosox4283

    bosox4283 Member SoSH Member

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    Atletico has had a brilliant first part of the extra time!
     
  12. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    Congrats Bosox. As for La Liga, I'm likely cutting the cord this week and getting SlingTV Orange and Blue Package plus Sports Add On. I'm debating between Roku and Firestick, but I will report back after I get started.
     
  13. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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  14. bosox4283

    bosox4283 Member SoSH Member

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    3,702
  15. Morgan's Magic Snowplow

    Morgan's Magic Snowplow Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    This Valladolid pitch is ridiculous. I'm surprised nobody snapped an ankle.

     
  16. bosox4283

    bosox4283 Member SoSH Member

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    I think one can point fingers at Valladolid, but I think this incident once again implicates La Liga as an inept organization. In addition, Rayo Vallecano, a team that recently went from 2nd Division to La Liga, cannot play home games for the next two months due to unsafe conditions at the stadium resulting from construction.

    Yes, these clubs need to do better, but La Liga could be a better partner and could help these smaller and poorer clubs navigate these complexities.
     
  17. bosox4283

    bosox4283 Member SoSH Member

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    Three games into the season, and both Barcelona and Real Madrid look pretty good. I thought Real Madrid would have a bit more trouble as I think the team is worse this year, not simply because they lost Ronaldo but also because they didn't add anyone of importance this summer.

    Strangely, Valencia and Atletico, two teams projected to finish top four and maybe even fight for the title if things were to go well, find themselves struggling early on.
     
  18. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    Villareal: Hold my cerveza.

    In other news, Celta got off to a good start (sorry @bosox4283). I'll be following Betis closely this year too after their successful campaign last season. I didn't realize that they got Lo Celso in a loan. They already took 3 points in the Sevillana derby.
     
  19. bosox4283

    bosox4283 Member SoSH Member

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    3,702
    Sevilla absolutely dominated Real Madrid yesterday, winning the match 3-0 with all three goals in the first half. Jesus Navas has resurrected his career while Marcelo sometimes looks like he's playing with cement in his shoes.

    I had doubts earlier this year about Real Madrid's depth, and I think this game shows that the team lacks explosive talent off the bench and/or Zidane was able the most out of his players. Against Sevilla, Real Madrid had on the bench: Vallejo (21, CB), Mariano (25, Striker), Lucas Vazquez (27, Winger), Marcos Llorente (23, Midfielder), Dani Ceballos (22, Midfielder), and Vinicius Junior (18, Forward).

    None of those players seem ready and able to contribute, especially against top teams.

    Vinicius Junior may be a future star, but he's only 18 and is playing mostly with the junior team. Mariano had a good season at Lyon but it's not clear if he can be an impact player at Real Madrid and in the biggest matches. Zidane trusted Vazquez while Lotepegui doesn't seem to like him so far. Ceballos could be great but has a long way to go.
     
  20. bosox4283

    bosox4283 Member SoSH Member

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    Atletico and Real Madrid finished with zero-zero draw on Saturday. Atletico dominated the first half while Real Madrid looked much better than Atletico in the second half.

    Interestingly, Real Madrid improved when Gareth Bale went off with a minor injury (or precaution for a minor injury) and replaced with him midfielder Ceballos. Ceballos played well and his presence allowed Real Madrid to start winning the midfield and controlling the match.

    The same thing happened a few years ago when Bale's injury toward the end of the season opened up a spot for Isco in the starting-eleven. As a result, Real Madrid played a brilliant match against Atletico in the Champions League and won the title.

    So, does Bale really fit on this team? Does Bale offer enough to compensate for the ways Real Madrid has to adjust without him?
     
    #20 bosox4283, Oct 1, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  21. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    Bale has some incredible attributes when it's all clicking, but his injuries and consistency have always kept him back IMO. For those same reasons, he is overrated to me.
     
  22. bosox4283

    bosox4283 Member SoSH Member

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    Good call on Bale: he has now been subbed off for two straight games -- or maybe two of the last three games -- with a mysterious injury or as a precautionary measure.
     
  23. bosox4283

    bosox4283 Member SoSH Member

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    With the talent on Real Madrid and Barcelona, they still have to be the favorites to outlast the other 18 teams for the La Liga title, but something is different this year. There's a lot of competition in the top 10 and there are many stronger teams. Sevilla is currently in first place with 16 points and Atletico tied for second with 15. Espanyol and Alaves are tied with Real Madrid at 14 points.

    I read somewhere that the increased revenue has permitted the mid-tier teams to improve their squads by signing better players and retaining their players. I also think Real Madrid, Barcelona, and (a bit less but to some extent) Atletico are going through changes as their cores have left or are aging and are working to incorporate younger talent.

    Hay liga!
     
    #23 bosox4283, Oct 8, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  24. Zososoxfan

    Zososoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    Friends and I were talking about the same thing recently. It's much better for the league and all the clubs (including the big 3). It's much better from an entertainment perspective to have a tighter table and the champion to have 70-80 points rather than 90+. Typically a 4-2 win is more entertaining than a 7-0. It will also showcase the fact that La Liga has an absurd amount of talent. People rightfully point out the depth of the EPL, but it is just different from the type of quality you see in the mid and low-table Spanish sides. Now that those clubs have more funds to compete, it has changed the complexion of the league for the better.
     

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