2019/20 La Liga Matchday 5 Review – Granada upset Barça as Pressure shifts from Zidane to Valverde

Granada vs Celta Vigo Match Preview & Prediction

The fifth round of fixtures in La Liga 2019/20 threw up some intriguing action and didn’t exactly follow the script. This was supposed to be the weekend when the pressure really ramped up on Real Madrid and their boss Zinedine Zidane as Los Blancos travelled to Sevilla and a ground they’d suffered four straight league defeats on. However instead it ends with the strongest calls yet for Ernesto Valverde to be replaced as Barcelona coach.

Here was the best of the action from La Liga matchday 5:

La Liga Matchday 5 Results, Expected Goals & Highlights

Friday 20th September 2019

Osasuna 0-0 Real Betis (xG 2.32-0.35)

Saturday 21st September 2019

Villarreal 2-0 Real Valladolid (xG 2.00-0.42)

Levante 0-0 Eibar (xG 1.62-1.10)

Atletico Madrid 0-0 Celta Vigo (xG 1.75-0.57)

Granada 2-0 Barcelona (xG 1.87-0.55)

Sunday 22nd September 2019

Getafe 4-2 Mallorca (xG 2.71-0.73)

Espanyol 1-3 Real Sociedad (xG 0.66-1.48)

Valencia 1-1 Leganes (xG 1.69-1.53)

Athletic Club 2-0 Alaves (xG 1.84-0.54)

Sevilla 0-1 Real Madrid (xG 0.38-1.44)

Links lead to Youtube highlights via the official LaLiga channel and may contain ads.

xG data via Understat

Granada stun Barcelona as ‘Valverde Out’ Calls grow

Barcelona’s 2-0 defeat and all-round inept performance brought about the strongest calls yet for Ernesto Valverde to be dismissed and not just from disgruntled international Culés who seem to believe football started in 2008. It was a performance so far short of the standard you expect from any Barcelona side that inevitably questions have to be asked, particularly given this was not a one-off and more a continuing trend of poor away showings both domestically and in Europe. Before too long, Leo Messi will be back to full fitness and Barcelona will most likely return to being by far the most destructive attacking team in La Liga but performances such as this suggest that no lessons have been learnt from the end of last season.

As for Granada, they’ve simply been a breath of fresh air as a newly promoted team that has taken the top flight by storm so far. The Andalusians now have 10 points on the board and are riding high in 3rd place. Saturday’s victory is one that few who were present inside the Nuevo Estadio de Los Cármenes will ever forget.

Disciplined Real Madrid claim rare Win at Sevilla

The obvious narrative this weekend seemed to be that Lopetegui would get his revenge on Real Madrid and the pressure would be piling up on Zinedine Zidane. However Los Blancos showed much more of the intensity that the Frenchman had called for to seal a hard-fought 1-0 win thanks to Karim Benzema’s header, created by a fine cross from Dani Carvajal. To come away from their undisputed bogey ground with a victory is a real boost for Los Blancos moving forward and into a week which will conclude with the Madrid derby at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Basque Clubs continue to impress

It’s a bit premature to call this the most open season in years. There were plenty of similar suggestions floating around when both Barcelona and Real Madrid lost on the same night after just 6 games last term but right now it’s very tight at the top with the two big Basque clubs both looking impressive. Athletic Club top the table after yet another home win, this time coming courtesy of a 2-0 victory against neighbours Alaves.

Real Sociedad meanwhile underlined their potential to be genuine top four challengers with an accomplished display and 3-1 victory at Espanyol. Willian Jose bagged a brace while Swedish youngster Alexander Isak scored his first goal for the club as La Real utilised an incisive counter-attacking style that their hosts found tough to compete with.

Matchday 5 in Numbers

  • Real Madrid ended a 4 game losing streak in league trips to the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan with a 1-0 victory.
  • Barcelona’s return of 7 points from their opening 5 games represents their worst start in 25 years.
  • Barca have failed to win any of their last 7 away games in all competitions.
  • Granada are the only team in La Liga to have won each of their last 3 fixtures.
  • Osasuna have now drawn 4 on the bounce and remain one of just 3 unbeaten teams – along with Real Madrid and Sevilla.
  • Athletic top La Liga after 5 match-days. It’s the first time in 26 years they’ve done so at such an advanced stage.

Up Next…

Monday night will not see any La Liga football in the immediate future at least following the battles between the league and the federation at the start of the season. However there will be Spanish top flight action on every other day this week with a full midweek fixture list quickly rolling into the weekend action. The midweek highlights include Barcelona’s home game against a revitalised Villarreal meanwhile Spanish football’s newest ‘grudge match’ takes place as Valencia host Getafe at the Mestalla.

We will have match previews for all the midweek games here.

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About Mark Sochon 2063 Articles
Mark is a freelance writer based in Madrid. He has been writing about Spanish football since 2014 and regularly attends and covers matches across Spain. His work has also been published by various newspapers and websites including These Football Times, World Soccer and Guardian Sport. Available for freelance work: marksochon (at) hotmail.co.uk

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