The fundamental difference between big clubs and smaller ones lies in the quality of the players. In football, if Saturday doesn’t turn into Sunday, the team with the better players will/should win. The players are all in football; we try to make the game complex so it sounds more interesting- the more complicated it looks, the more ingenious we would think it.
Football is more psychological than physical though both elements go hand in hand, but for apex footballers or teams, it is their desire to win that sets them apart from the rest. Here is ‘Everything La Liga’.
Substitution makes Zidane look silly rather than clever
Coaches would rather have a straight forward victory rather than a comeback but if the script is to be written in such a way that their substitutions would be the spring to a comeback or remontada in Spanish, coaches would gladly pick the latter. Real Madrid have been guilty of many things and high among them is their poor start to games. Valencia sentenced them to their second league defeat just four days ago and Villarreal were about to hand them further time in jail after goals from Trigueros and Cederic Bakambu early in the second half, which would have cost Real Madrid top spot.
Villarreal didn’t need any sermons from TB Joshua to know this was a very dangerous Real side, who had scored in each of their last 34 leagues and another goal would equal a 65-year record. Neither did Real Madrid need an Ifa Priest to roll cowries to reveal that they were up against the best defense in La Liga and they needed to find three goals in the next 30 minutes.
No team in Spain had scored more than two goals at the La Ceramica (Villarreal’s home ground) but Real could take confidence in the fact that their opponent’s last home game was a gift from the devil himself as Roma showed them the back door of hell by thrashing them 4-0.
Zinedine Zidane immediately brought on Isco, who has been Real Madrid’s best player this month but some reasons only known to Zidane, has found himself on the bench in their last two games. And immediately Isco showed what Real was missing, not just against Villarreal but also against Valencia; a bit of guile rather than the sturdiness of Casemiro, whom he replaced. Isco’s need has been elevated by Modric’s apparent loss of form.
Isco made the difference through his guile and vision which opened a world of space that led to Real’s first goal. Villarreal were being starved of possession and they threw bodies behind. Zidane threw in Alvaro Morata in place of ajebo Benzema and once again the Spaniard proved to be more effective by scoring the winner after Ronaldo had equalized through a penalty.
Morata continues to pile more pressure on Zidane to deservedly start him ahead of Benzema, and at this rate, EFCC will have to enter the matter and investigate how much Benzema is wiring into Zidane’s account to earn such loyalty. Morata has scored three league goals more than Benzema having started in just seven league games, compared to Benzema’s 15 starts.
Messi is Barcelona’s lord and saviour but Gerard Pique is Sir Alex.
Lionel Messi was far from his brilliant in this game and had little influence on the game. The Argentine wasn’t different from a tourist as Neymar ran the show like he always does against Altetico Madrid. The Brazilian’s influence continues to grow as Messi loses his sharpness and speed to aging. But the Brazilian still has a lot to learn from Messi on being a decisive player. Lionel Messi doesn’t need to have a good game before he leaves his imprint on a game but Neymar needs to have a great game before he does.
Messi is still the guy for the moment as he rescued his side from dropping points at the Vicente Calderon.
At this point, Luis Suarez has to be a worry as the Uruguayan still struggles for form and his miss against Atletico Madrid epitomize such concerns. Suarez, who sees the net like human skin, lacked bite in his finishing and even in his all round play.
Gerard Pique must have picked up a few tricks from Sir Alex Ferguson, as continues to wind up Real Madrid and the entire La Liga. His mind games has made La Liga more interesting this season. With a clear knowledge that Real Madrid signed a deal with a bottling company and are very capable of bottling the league title, Pique continues to make Real Madrid feel the heat by questioning every call of the referee as well as throwing the narrative that the authorities are behind Real Madrid.
Sevilla won’t just go away
Those who have often called the La Liga ‘a two horse race’ would be irritated by Sevilla’s presence just like Real Madrid and Barcelona would be. The Andalusian continue to breathe on the neck of the two giants as they won the Andalusian derby this weekend. Sevilla may lack the quality of Real Madrid and Barcelona but they march the desire of both teams and that is what have kept them here. Psychologically, Jorge Sampaoli has them right up there with the others and how many times have we seen this team win games, they have no business winning. They won none of their away games last season, but this season, only Barcelona have a better away record than them,
Written by Joseph Bassey- follow on Twitter @akajoebass