La Liga 2018-2019 headed into match-day two this weekend. It saw all of the ‘big three’ win again although not in entirely convincing circumstances while there is reason for the new boys to be more positive. Read on for highlights, headlines, expected goals and more from the second match-day.
La Liga Match Day 2 Results, Expected Goals & Highlights
Getafe 2-0 Eibar (xG 1.7 – 0.5)
Leganes 2-2 Real Sociedad (xG 1.7 – 1.7)
Alaves 0-0 Real Betis (xG 0.6 – 1.6)
Atletico Madrid 1-0 Rayo Vallecano (xG 1.0 – 1.5)
Real Valladolid 0-1 Barcelona (xG 0.5 – 1.2)
Espanyol 2-0 Valencia (xG 1.5 – 1.0)
Sevilla 0-0 Villarreal (xG 2 – 0.7)
Girona 1-4 Real Madrid (xG 0.5 – 4.1)
Levante 1-2 Celta Vigo (xG 1.8 – 2.6)
Athletic Bilbao 2-2 Huesca (xG 0.9 – 0.2)
Links lead to highlights from La Liga’s official Youtube channel but may contain ads.
Hope for New Boys despite Stadium & Pitch Problems
An investigation has been opened by La Liga into Real Valladolid’s pitch following their defeat by Barcelona on Saturday, which has been described as “deplorable”.https://t.co/8UetG4tzwV pic.twitter.com/g06FtAAjj5
— Turf Matters (@TurfMatters) August 28, 2018
There are plenty of distractions that are currently making the newly promoted sides adjustment to life in La Liga all the more challenging. Of the three, Real Valladolid are currently the only side with a stadium that is fit for purpose. Huesca’s is being renovated meaning all of their first three fixtures are away while Rayo Vallecano’s home game against Athletic this coming weekend has been postponed due to safety concerns at the Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas. While Valladolid’s stadium may at least be in one piece, the pitch most definitely was not on Saturday as they took on Barcelona and they could face sanctions for a playing surface that was at best some way short of the quality you’d expect in a major European league and at worst downright dangerous.
Despite all that, there is actually reason for all three teams to be more positive than they were a fortnight ago. Rayo put in a vastly improved display and found some defensive organisation that was completely lacking on the opening weekend. They were quite unfortunate not to get anything from their tough trip to Atletico Madrid on Saturday. Later that evening Real Valladolid gave Barcelona a real fright and looked to have grabbed a last minute equaliser only for VAR to disallow it for an extremely marginal off-side. In some respects Huesca were less impressive in their game at Athletic but they now have 4 points on the board thanks to a stunning strike from Luis Ávila at San Mames.
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Real Madrid set the record straight in Girona
— Sportblitzwithtobbie (@sportblitztobby) August 27, 2018
Real Madrid were defeated 2-1 in Girona last season in a politcally-charged contest and for a while it looked like they could be about to come unstuck in the Catalan city again. Borja García gave Girona the lead and they threatened to extend it but as the 1st Half continued Real gradually began to exert their dominance. While it took a Panenka penalty from Sergio Ramos to level the scores, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale did the damage after the interval as Real sealed a morale-boosting 4-1 win.
The performance and result did more to suggest that things are heading in the right direction under Julen Lopetegui than either of his first two games in charge. They did struggle to get going but the evolution to more of a passing, possession-based game was clear while they still looked a huge threat on the counter-attack as Girona chased the game with the Bale goal in particular a throwback to the Zidane era. Lopetegui’s style is likely to become more effective with time and particularly when Luka Modric gets up to full fitness as the Croat will bring control and precision in the middle of the park.
First Wins for Rubi & Antonio Mohamed
Meanwhile in La Liga, ex-Monterrey head coach, Argentino Antonio Mohamed secured his first ever league win w/ Celta Vigo against Levante today. He grabbed three points right after his Ballers audition. pic.twitter.com/DSEnmLvV7b
— Luis Miguel Echegaray (@lmechegaray) August 27, 2018
It was also a good weekend for two other new coaches in La Liga. Rubi’s Espanyol travelled to Antonio Mohamed’s Celta Vigo on the opening weekend and the points were shared in Galicia. However both sides have now recorded their first wins. Espanyol were pretty impressive in their 2-0 win over top four hopefuls Valencia and there was a goal for main summer signing Borja Iglesias for the home fans to cheer. They did surprise some of the big teams last season too but will need to be far better against bottom half opponents this term if Rubi’s first in Barcelona is to be a success.
One of the more intriguing appointments this summer was that of Antonio Mohamed at Celta Vigo. He has had 12 coaching jobs previously, but all in Mexican or Argentine football so it’s a new experience for him coming to Europe and it’s been a solid start. Some electric play from Danish winger Pione Sisto set up their 2-1 win at Levante on Monday night and scoring goals shouldn’t be a problem for them this season but keeping them out might be.
Read more: Can Atleti win La Liga?
The Weekend in Numbers
- Rayo had 53% possession and 13 shots away to Atletico Madrid, more than their opponents managed.
- Adrian Embarba had 4 attempts in that game. Only Andre Silva has had more shots in La Liga this season than the Rayo forward.
- Real Madrid completed 90% of their passes against Girona to maintain the highest overall passing accuracy in La Liga.
- Leganes won 29 aerial battles against Real Sociedad, the most in La Liga for the second week running.
- Valladolid completed 23 successful tackles against Barcelona. Only Atleti have completed more than them in La Liga this term.
Stats via Whoscored.com
Next weekend sees big derby clashes in Seville and Valencia. There are also Madrid and Basque derbies to look forward to while Atletico Madrid travel to face Antonio Mohamed’s Celta Vigo. Keep tabs on our La Liga match previews for more analysis ahead of match-day three.