- Football - Spain - La Liga
With La Liga heading towards the SPL path, it is always difficult to oppose the duopolistic mights of Barcelona and Real Madrid. But if the last 3 matches are anything to go by, it is probably worth reconsidering.
Celta +2. 25, Celtic 1. 5 and Dortmund 1. 25
How about Levante +1. 5 this week?
Despite going 7/2/1, I don’t think Real Madrid have been playing all that well. Certainly not by their Galactico standards! I thought they were lucky to pick up a point against Dortmund on Wednesday and they certainly didn’t deserve a 4-0 win over Zaragoza last weekend. They were outplayed for the whole of the second half and only sealed the 3th/4th goals in stoppage time.
A big reason for Real Madrid’s sub-par performance is the loss of Khedira, Marcelo and Coentrao. This led to a recent acquisition Modric coming into Spanish game earlier than expected and Ramos, Arbeloa, Albiol and Essien playing musical chairs in the full-back positions. There are news of Khedira and Coentrao fit again but it’s a big ask (not to mention risk) to start them after months out.
Real Madrid’s injury problems is further exacerbated by recent injuries to Huguain and Benzema. Both are out this week. This means RM2 Morata is their only naturalised #9. And if you believe former Spain U21 coach Luis Milla, “Mourinho doesn’t play youth players. ” So, it looks more likely the Portuguese coach will move Crisitano Ronaldo more centrally with Di Maria, Callejon and Ozil just behind.
Not ideal in my opinion as they lose Cristiano Ronaldo’s speed and long-range prowess.
Levante were one of the two surprise packages in 2011/12 (the other being Zaragoza 2012) and they continue to surprise this season. With an ageing side and coach Luis Garcia Plaza’s departure, I honestly thought they will struggle badly in 2012/13. But look at them!
- 6th in La Liga (5/2/3)
- 2nd in their Europa League group (2/1/1)
- Undefeated in last 6 Liga and European outings
- 9/1/0 in their last 10 home fixtures.
Obviously, Levante have continued with the same recipe for success. The most important was snapping Martins (from Rubin Kazan) to replace the departed, 15-goal Kone. Martins has already notched 4 goals in 6 Liga games. MF Pedro Rios & AMF Michel were great buys too.
Interesting, Levante did very well to hold off Sevilla and Twente to 0-0 in their last 2 matches i. e. this makes 5 clean sheets in their last 6. I expect the same game plan when they host Real Madrid, go for the counter and do what they did in the same fixture last year, win 1-0.
|09/11/2012 13:59, read 2632 times