Previous
Aston Villa
Arsenal
0
3
FT
Game Details
West Ham United
Liverpool
3
1
FT
Game Details
AC Milan
Juventus
0
1
FT
Game Details
Deportivo La Coruña
Real Madrid
2
8
FT
Game Details
Atletico Madrid
Celta Vigo
2
2
FT
Game Details
America
Pachuca
2
1
FT
Game Details
New York Red Bulls
Seattle Sounders FC
4
1
FT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
FC Dallas
2
1
FT
Game Details
Hamburg SV
Bayern Munich
0
0
FT
Game Details
Mainz
Borussia Dortmund
2
0
FT
Game Details
New York Red Bulls
Seattle Sounders FC
4
1
FT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
FC Dallas
2
1
FT
Game Details
Leicester City
Manchester United
12:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Tottenham Hotspur
West Bromwich Albion
12:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Everton
Crystal Palace
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Manchester City
Chelsea
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Sociedad
Almeria
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Villarreal
Rayo Vallecano
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cordoba
Sevilla FC
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Levante
Barcelona
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
VfL Wolfsburg
Bayer Leverkusen
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Cologne
Borussia Monchengladbach
3:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Chievo Verona
Parma
10:30 AM GMT
Game Details
AS Roma
Cagliari
1:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Genoa
Lazio
1:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sassuolo
Sampdoria
1:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Atalanta
Fiorentina
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Udinese
Napoli
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Palermo
Internazionale
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Torino
Hellas Verona
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Lille
Montpellier
12:00 PM GMT
Game Details
AS Monaco
Guingamp
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lens
St Etienne
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Paris Saint-Germain
Lyon
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dundee
Dundee United
11:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Celtic
Motherwell
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Osasuna
Mallorca
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Girona
Real Betis
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Leganes
Racing Santander
4:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Valladolid
Tenerife
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Albacete
Numancia
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Union Berlin
RB Leipzig
11:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Fortuna Düsseldorf
Heidenheimer SB
11:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Karlsruhe
Nurnberg
11:30 AM GMT
Game Details
SC Heracles Almelo
Twente Enschede
10:30 AM GMT
Game Details
AZ Alkmaar
PEC Zwolle
12:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Feyenoord Rotterdam
Ajax Amsterdam
12:30 PM GMT
Game Details
PSV Eindhoven
Cambuur Leeuwarden
12:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Utrecht
FC Groningen
2:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Belenenses
Maritimo
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rio Ave
Arouca
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Benfica
Moreirense
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Gil Vicente
Sporting Lisbon
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Porto
Boavista
7:15 PM GMT
Game Details
CSKA Moscow
Lokomotiv Moscow
9:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Kasimpasa
Karabukspor
11:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Sivasspor
Konyaspor
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Eskisehirspor K
Genclerbirligi
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Fenerbahce
Gaziantepspor
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
AIK
Halmstad
1:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Kalmar FF
Djurgarden
1:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Mjallby
Elfsborg
1:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Malmo FF
Helsingborg
3:30 PM GMT
Game Details
IFK
Gefle IF
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Viking FK
IK Start
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
SK Brann
Sandnes Ulf
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aalesund
Stabaek
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lillestrom
Odd Grenland
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sarpsborg FK
Sogndal
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Haugesund
Rosenborg
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Toronto FC
Chivas USA
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Toluca
Monterrey
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Guadalajara
Queretaro
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Edmonton
Tampa Bay Rowdies
ESPN3 8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rosario Central
Arsenal de Sarandí
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Banfield
Boca Juniors
9:15 PM GMT
Game Details
River Plate
Independiente
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Boca Unidos
Aldosivi
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
All Boys
Temperley
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Crucero del Norte
Sarmiento de Junín
8:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Instituto de Córdoba
Nueva Chicago
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Atlético Tucumán
Sp. Belgrano
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Corinthians
São Paulo
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cruzeiro
Atlético MG
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
EC Vitória
Bahia
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Flamengo
Fluminense FC
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sport
Coritiba FBC
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Goiás EC
Palmeiras
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Gremio
Chapecoense AF
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Santos FC
Figueirense FC
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Racing (U)
Tacuarembó FC
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Danubio F.C.
Rentistas
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Defensor Sporting
Juventud
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Wanderers
Rampla Juniors
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Atenas
Nacional
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Alianza Petrolera
Aguilas Doradas
8:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Envigado
Independiente Santa Fe
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Uniautonoma
Atlético Nacional
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo Cali
Fortaleza CE
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Cienciano del Cusco
Inti Gas Deportes
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Los Caimanes
Melgar
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Alianza Lima
San Martin
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rubio Ñú
Olimpia
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sol de América
Nacional
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Libertad
12 de Octubre
10:45 PM GMT
Game Details
El Nacional
Liga de Loja
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Olmedo
LDU Quito
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Club Deportivo Cuenca
Barcelona
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Emelec
Mushuc Runa
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Atlético Venezuela
Deportivo Petare
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Llaneros
Carabobo
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Portuguesa
Deportivo Anzoategui
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Trujillanos
Estudiantes de Mérida
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Aragua
Zamora
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo Táchira
Tucanes
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Mineros
Deportivo La Guaira
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sport Boys Warnes
Bolívar
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Universitario de Pando
San José
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Potosí
Wilstermann
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Oriente Petrolero
Nacional Potosí
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Next

Blanc: PSG not in best shape

PSG 3 days ago
Read
Aug 30, 2010

That La Liga stuff

Hope you had a good summer, and can enjoy what's left of it - or depending on your hemisphere, I hope the early spring´s all green and gambolling. The World Cup seems strangely distant, and I've just got back from California where I took the family on holiday and where football (I mean soccer) was never far away. I missed Real Madrid by a day in Los Angeles and then by a day again in San Francisco, but never mind because I'll be seeing them again very soon in Anoeta. Real Sociedad´s stadium is once again host to the top flight, but I've just missed out on their 1-0 win over an allegedly poor Villarreal because I'm still in England, where it's predictably blowing a gale as I write.

• La Liga: Villa scores as Barca win
• Soccernet Quiniela: Week One

I'll be back in Spain by next weekend, but meanwhile am having to rely on media sources for my opening-day La Liga experience. No problemo. In fact I was defending the whole thing to the hilt last Friday in an English pub (somewhere in the north) when a friend of a friend approached me at the beer-strewn table and asked me; "You still doing that La Liga stuff?" I replied that I was. "Crap innit?" he continued, as if I was likely to agree. I assumed he was referring to La Liga and not to this column, and so I asked him what his problem was. As you can imagine, this young man, brought up on the empty hype of the Premier League, presumed that because La Liga was to be a two-horse race, it must be 'boring'. Never fear. I put him right. I told him that even if it was (a two-horse race), nobody cared. That was a large part of the attraction. Just to be playing in the same league as Barcelona and Real Madrid, to be guaranteed a couple of games with them, was almost sufficient in itself. Besides, it has often been a duopoly in the past, and no-one ever thought it boring.

And then there were the two stallions themselves. In Spain, you could be fanatical and committed to your own team, simultaneously hating the two big ones, yet still be fascinated by the twisting weekly pathways of their rivalry. This is my tenth season reporting on the rivalry, but the filter-down effect has always sustained Spanish football, and it always will. The chap in the pub sniffed a little at my explanation, but he had no real counter-arguments. The Premier League is interesting for other reasons, but even the usual hype that accompanies its autumn inception has seemed strangely subdued this time, as if the World Cup farce had dampened even the marketing folks' creative enthusiasm. And Chelsea won their first two games 6-0. Is that the sign of a more competitive league?

Let us see. It's early doors yet, of course. But neither is La Liga immune to silliness. At the end of Real Madrid's 0-0 opener at Mallorca, the online journalist at Marca described this result as a pinchazo (literally a flat-tyre), and that the white ones were 'already' two points behind Barcelona - as if we hadn't noticed. But the trouble with the word pinchazo is that it tends to be employed to mean 'A game they should have won', and when that mentality begins to creep in to even the season's opening exchanges, then yes, I might be stepping onto the road that eventually leads to agreement with the man in the pub. Mallorca may have lost Aritz Aduriz, but they still had an excellent season last campaign, despite financial woes and institutional uncertainty. They are certainly no pushovers. Spanish journalists must beware of assuming the two-horse race before it´s hardly begun, and even then, they should pay their respects to the opposition (the other eighteen sides).

Although I've spent the summer away from Spain's fair shores, I was there for the World Cup and its aftermath, and I understand the warm glow it has engendered in the football scene in general. Everybody is just happy to be a part of it. How on Earth can this be 'crap', to quote my friend of a friend. I only cite him because he seemed to me to be a football enthusiast, and could therefore have been expressing a general sentiment, a collective perspective from outside of the Iberian Peninsula.

The 'Mourinho factor' is also a big reason why international eyes will continue to focus on Spain this season. Manuel Pellegrini may have been poorly treated by Real Madrid and its fourth-estate Rottweilers last season, but that fails to negate the fact that the Chilean had the charisma of a dead tortoise. The 'Special One' is of course made of different stuff, and love him or loathe him, he never disappoints at the microphone.

He had already provoked Barcelona more than once in pre-season, and this weekend implied ('they often play against ten') that the referees have been in their favour in the past. Let's not go down that path today, but Mourinho is only warming up. His future influence on the historic dog-eat-dog loathing between the two horses should be a joy to witness, and will hand the hacks their opening paragraphs for most of the season to come.

Others who have departed the scene, such as the charmless Zlatan Ibrahimovic, have tossed a few darts into the wake left behind them, but that says more about them than it does about their targets. The Swede's infantile dismissal of Guardiola as a 'philosopher' was both sour and pathetic . What's wrong with philosophy if it brings in the trophies? Barcelona's opening-day stroll at weakened Racing Santander was symptomatic of the directions the two clubs will take this year and of the gulf between them.

But most headlines will focus on the fact that David Villa, surprise surprise, got off the mark with his new side's third goal, and the man who ended last season with the final goal in the World Cup (Andres Iniesta) scored the second in the 33rd minute. Adriano also made his first appearance, coming on for Iniesta late in the second half, and Javier Mascherano will be presented as a Braca player on Monday evening. The club may be spiralling into debt, but they prefer to lose financial face on tossing out the bad apples (Ibra) and to re-invest in guarantees than tighten their belts altogether. Besides, their squad represents considerable collateral, should push ever come to shove.

Real Madrid would employ the same argument. But whereas several young promises have been prominent in the Camp Nou pre-season (Oriol Romeu, Dos Santos, Sergi Gomez), over at the Bernabeu it's been literally business as usual, within whose framework the cantera (the youth team) can wait. That said, Mourinho has been careful to be seen working with the reserve and youth squads in pre-season (maybe because all his stars were on holiday), possibly to offset the accusations of the press last season that Pellegrini didn't care.

Interesting to note that against Mallorca, two of the newest signings were on the bench (Ozil and Khedira), which is their manager's way of saying that there are no guaranteed places, apart from that of his trusted lieutenant Ricardo Carvalho of course, who can play the Mourinho system blindfolded and who is too old for psychological tricks. He remains a good signing, nevertheless. The Germans got a game eventually, as did the troubled Karim Benzema, but they were unable to get the ball past the excellent Dudu Aouate, who had a gilded first game and kept the smile on the face of Michael Laudrup, the Islanders' new manager.

Writing this opening column last season, I did speculate on which side might be the one to keep the two horses looking over their shoulders, but neither Sevilla nor Valencia really fulfilled the contract. This season they seem even less likely to do so, although Mestalla-watchers thought they were doomed last campaign even with the two departed Davids still in their ranks. But the opening day win at a better-stocked (and richer) Malaga was a good one, with Aduriz getting off the mark for his new club after a mere nine minutes and the oldish warhorse Joaquin (remember him?) scoring the other two in their 3-1 win.

Valencia have a habit of confounding people, and despite the mass exodus of some admittedly old but classy players this summer (and the two Davids) they can still be a force to be reckoned with. Juan Mata is still there, and Roberto Soldado and Mehmet Topal are good signings, within the financial limitations imposed. And they've been drawn in Manchester United's group in the Champions League. Interesting, as they say.

The other possible from last season, Sevilla, have experienced a traumatic pre-season and have seen their financial plans dashed before they started - condemned as they have been to the less lucrative waters of the Europa League by losing to Braga. They lost the Supercopa to Barcelona too, after blowing the 3-1 advantage from the opening leg. They bounced back with a 4-1 away win to promoted Levante, but that might not be too significant yet. The heroes of the hour, Atletico Madrid, fresh from their surprising but welcome win over Inter, may really be the 'third man' this season, given that they have retained Diego Forlan and Kun Aguero yet again - suprising after Forlan's wonderful World Cup - and signed three interesting players in the solid Diego Godin, the excellent Filipe Luis, and the potentially brilliant Fran Merida. I agree with my colleague Eduardo, who has written in his opening quiniela that Atletico might really be a league force this season, as opposed to the usual farce.

More to come next week - more detail plus the very spring of the turf. Here in sleepy Norwich it isn't quite the same.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.