La Liga: 5 Things We Learned from Week 3

Luis HerreraAnalyst ISeptember 13, 2011

La Liga: 5 Things We Learned from Week 3

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    Enjoy, there are two teams other than Real Madrid ahead of Barcelona in the Spanish League standings!

    Real Sociedad gave us a bit of hope that this season will be more competitive than what everyone expects.

    Sadly, this won’t last; sooner rather than later, the two Spanish giants will be alone at the top.

    Meanwhile, what did we learn from the La Liga Week 3?

1. September’s FIFA Date Is Barcelona’s Achilles' Heel

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    With Pep Guardiola at the helm, Barcelona has usually struggled in the game after September’s FIFA date.

    Three years ago, Racing escaped from Camp Nou with a 1-1 draw; Barça did beat Getafe 2-0 in 2009-2010, but it was actually a very close game. Last year, Hercules got the upset of the year by winning 2-1 at Barcelona.

    Now it was Real Sociedad who stole a draw from Los Culés with an impressive second half at Anoeta.

    This “September slump” can be explained by two reasons: 1) half the Barcelona squad arrives late from playing two international games; and 2) Pep rests some players to prepare for the debut in the UEFA Champions League.

2. Marcelo Bielsa Needs More Time

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    Despite dominating most of the second half, Athletic Bilbao got their first defeat of the season against Espanyol.

    Goalkeeper Cristian Alvarez was a key player for Espanyol, but that doesn’t really matter for Athletic fans, who are starting to get worried after two scoreless draws at home—one in the Europa League—and one defeat to start the season.

    Too early to panic; losing Ander Herrera for a couple of months was a big blow, but give Marcelo Bielsa time to fix what needs to be fixed, and we’ll see a great Athletic.

3. Valencia Wants to Be More Than “the Best of the Rest”

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    Valencia won their second straight match thanks again to Roberto Soldado, the current top scorer of La Liga, and sits atop of the standings alongside Real Madrid and Betis.

    Sure, a 4-3 win against Racing and a 1-0 victory over Atlético may not seem very impressive, but in previous seasons, these are the kind of games Valencia used to drop points in.

    Los Chés have stated they won’t settle with just reaching the Champions League again; they want to challenge Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    They are probably the top menace for the two juggernauts, but need to keep adding three points a week, no matter how.

4. Having a Two-Point Lead over Barcelona Is Big News in Madrid

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    Thanks to their victory over Getafe, and Barcelona’s draw against Real Sociedad, Real Madrid leads the first division with six points (tied with Valencia and Betis)—two more than their rivals.

    We know it’s too early in the season to celebrate a lead, right?

    Well, not for the desperate Madrid press.

    The ultramadridista Diario Marca made sure everybody knew this was the first time in three years Real Madrid has such advantage over Barcelona.

    It was actually one of the most read (and commented) links of the weekend for the newspaper’s website.

5. The Malaga Show Has Begun

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    Okay, it was against Granada, but the point is we finally got a taste of what Malaga can do this season.

    It was not just that Malaga won 4-0, it was an impressive performance in all senses.

    Of course, we have to wait and see if they can play at such a great level against bigger opponents, but this first exhibition was really promising.

So, What Do You Think?

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    I’m waiting for your comments.

    Also read:

    * 5 Things We Learned from La Liga Week 2

    Follow me on Twitter: @luisrha