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
1
0
LIVE 27'
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
FC Dallas
2:30 AM GMT
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
1
0
LIVE 27'
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
FC Dallas
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Queens Park Rangers
Stoke City
2
2
FT
Game Details
Aston Villa
Arsenal
0
3
FT
Game Details
Burnley
Sunderland
0
0
FT
Game Details
Newcastle United
Hull City
2
2
FT
Game Details
Swansea City
Southampton
0
1
FT
Game Details
West Ham United
Liverpool
3
1
FT
Game Details
Deportivo La Coruña
Real Madrid
2
8
FT
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Granada
0
1
FT
Game Details
Atletico Madrid
Celta Vigo
2
2
FT
Game Details
Espanyol
Malaga
2
2
FT
Game Details
FC Augsburg
Werder Bremen
4
2
FT
Game Details
Hamburg SV
Bayern Munich
0
0
FT
Game Details
SC Paderborn 07
Hannover 96
2
0
FT
Game Details
Schalke 04
Eintracht Frankfurt
2
2
FT
Game Details
VfB Stuttgart
TSG Hoffenheim
0
2
FT
Game Details
Mainz
Borussia Dortmund
2
0
FT
Game Details
Cesena
Empoli
2
2
FT
Game Details
AC Milan
Juventus
0
1
FT
Game Details
Marseille
Stade Rennes
3
0
FT
Game Details
Lorient
Stade de Reims
0
1
FT
Game Details
Metz
Bastia
3
1
FT
Game Details
Nantes
Nice
2
1
FT
Game Details
Toulouse
Caen
3
3
FT
Game Details
Watford
AFC Bournemouth
1
1
FT
Game Details
Brighton & Hove Albion
Blackpool
0
0
FT
Game Details
Derby County
Cardiff City
2
2
FT
Game Details
Fulham
Blackburn Rovers
0
1
FT
Game Details
Leeds United
Huddersfield Town
3
0
FT
Game Details
Middlesbrough
Brentford
4
0
FT
Game Details
Millwall
Nottingham Forest
0
0
FT
Game Details
Norwich City
Birmingham City
2
2
FT
Game Details
Rotherham United
Charlton Athletic
1
1
FT
Game Details
Sheffield Wednesday
Reading
1
0
FT
Game Details
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Bolton Wanderers
1
0
FT
Game Details
Colchester United
Bradford City
0
0
FT
Game Details
Doncaster Rovers
Chesterfield
3
2
FT
Game Details
Fleetwood Town
Bristol City
3
3
FT
Game Details
Gillingham
Walsall
0
0
FT
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Crewe Alexandra
6
1
FT
Game Details
Notts County
Oldham Athletic
0
0
FT
Game Details
Port Vale
Barnsley
2
1
FT
Game Details
Preston North End
Crawley Town
2
0
FT
Game Details
Rochdale
Coventry City
1
0
FT
Game Details
Scunthorpe United
Leyton Orient
1
2
FT
Game Details
Swindon Town
Sheffield United
5
2
FT
Game Details
Yeovil Town
Peterborough United
1
0
FT
Game Details
AFC Wimbledon
Morecambe
1
0
FT
Game Details
Bury
Burton Albion
3
1
FT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Luton Town
0
1
FT
Game Details
Cheltenham Town
Dagenham & Redbridge
1
1
FT
Game Details
Mansfield Town
Carlisle United
3
2
FT
Game Details
Northampton Town
Accrington Stanley
4
5
FT
Game Details
Oxford United
Stevenage
0
0
FT
Game Details
Plymouth Argyle
Hartlepool United
2
0
FT
Game Details
Portsmouth
Wycombe Wanderers
1
1
FT
Game Details
Shrewsbury Town
Newport County
0
0
FT
Game Details
Tranmere Rovers
Exeter City
1
2
FT
Game Details
York City
Southend United
2
3
FT
Game Details
Aldershot Town
Lincoln City
1
0
FT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
Nuneaton Town
1
0
FT
Game Details
Barnet
Altrincham
5
0
FT
Game Details
Bristol Rovers
Woking
2
0
FT
Game Details
Dartford
Forest Green Rovers
1
2
FT
Game Details
Eastleigh
Braintree Town
1
0
FT
Game Details
Halifax
AFC Telford United
5
0
FT
Game Details
Kidderminster Harriers
Grimsby Town
0
1
FT
Game Details
Macclesfield Town
Southport
3
0
FT
Game Details
Torquay United
Dover
2
0
FT
Game Details
Welling
Gateshead
1
1
FT
Game Details
Aberdeen
Ross County
3
0
FT
Game Details
Hamilton Academical
Kilmarnock
0
0
FT
Game Details
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
St Johnstone
2
1
FT
Game Details
Linlithgow Rose
Fraserburgh
2
1
FT
Game Details
Recreativo Huelva
Lugo
0
0
FT
Game Details
Barcelona B
Llagostera
0
1
FT
Game Details
Mirandes
Sporting Gijon
0
2
FT
Game Details
Real Zaragoza
Alavés
1
0
FT
Game Details
CD Sabadell
Ponferradina
1
0
FT
Game Details
Las Palmas
AD Alcorcon
4
1
FT
Game Details
Bari
Livorno
2
0
FT
Game Details
Bologna
Crotone
0
2
FT
Game Details
Brescia
Ternana
0
0
FT
Game Details
Catania
Modena
0
0
FT
Game Details
Cittadella
US Pescara
3
2
FT
Game Details
Lanciano
Frosinone
1
5
FT
Game Details
Latina
US Avellino
1
2
FT
Game Details
Perugia
Vicenza
2
2
FT
Game Details
Pro Vercelli
Varese
4
0
FT
Game Details
FSV Frankfurt
VfL Bochum
1
5
FT
Game Details
SpVgg Greuther Furth
Kaiserslautern
2
1
FT
Game Details
TSV 1860 Munich
FC Ingolstadt 04
1
1
FT
Game Details
Le Havre AC
Troyes
3
2
FT
Game Details
Excelsior
Dordrecht '90
1
1
FT
Game Details
ADO Den Haag
Go Ahead Eagles
1
1
FT
Game Details
Vitesse Arnhem
Heerenveen
1
1
FT
Game Details
Roda JC Kerkrade
Jong Ajax
1
0
FT
Game Details
NEC Nijmegen
FC Emmen VV
4
0
FT
Game Details
RKC Waalwijk
FC Volendam
1
3
FT
Game Details
FC Penafiel
Vitoria Setubal
2
0
FT
Game Details
CD Nacional de Madeira
Braga
1
1
FT
Game Details
FC Ufa
Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast
0
1
FT
Game Details
Rostov
Zenit St Petersburg
0
5
FT
Game Details
Kuban Krasnodar
FK Rubin Kazan
2
1
FT
Game Details
Spartak Moscow
Terek Grozny
1
1
FT
Game Details
Erciyesspor
Akhisar Belediye
1
2
FT
Game Details
Balikesirspor
Galatasaray
2
0
FT
Game Details
Mersin Idmanyurdu
Caykur Rizespor
2
0
FT
Game Details
FC Xanthi
Levadiakos
2
0
FT
Game Details
OFI Crete
Atromitos
1
0
FT
Game Details
Olympiakos
Veria
3
0
FT
Game Details
Mouscron-Peruwelz
Racing Genk
1
2
FT
Game Details
Anderlecht
Cercle Brugge KSV
3
2
FT
Game Details
KV Oostende
KAA Gent
1
3
FT
Game Details
KVC Westerlo
Lierse SK
6
1
FT
Game Details
Rapid Vienna
Wolfsberger AC
3
0
FT
Game Details
FC Trenkwalder Admira
SV Grodig
0
0
FT
Game Details
SC Rheindorf Altach
FC Magna Wr. Neustadt
2
0
FT
Game Details
SV Josko Ried
SK Sturm Graz
0
1
FT
Game Details
Hobro IK
Esbjerg
1
1
FT
Game Details
Brommapojkarna
BK Hacken
1
5
FT
Game Details
Falkenbergs FF
Orebro SK
1
3
FT
Game Details
Bodo/Glimt
Stromsgodset
0
4
FT
Game Details
Valerenga
Molde
0
2
FT
Game Details
Sligo
Drogheda Utd
0
2
FT
Game Details
Portland Timbers
Vancouver Whitecaps
3
0
FT
Game Details
Philadelphia Union
Houston Dynamo
0
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
Columbus Crew
New England Revolution
0
0
LIVE 23'
Game Details
Montreal Impact
San Jose Earthquakes
0
0
LIVE 20'
Game Details
New York Red Bulls
Seattle Sounders FC
1
0
LIVE 27'
Game Details
Chicago Fire
DC United
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
FC Dallas
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
America
Pachuca
2
1
FT
Game Details
Puebla
Chiapas
1
1
FT
Game Details
U.A.N.L
U. de G.
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
León
Veracruz
1:06 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlas
Cruz Azul
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlanta Silverbacks
Ottawa Fury FC
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Carolina RailHawks
New York Cosmos
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Indy Eleven
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
San Antonio Scorpions
Minnesota United FC
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Estudiantes La Plata
Gimnasia La Plata
0
0
FT
Game Details
Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
Belgrano de Córdoba
1
0
FT
Game Details
Vélez Sarsfield
Atletico Rafaela
0
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
Altamira
Lobos BUAP
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Mérida
Zacatepec
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
At. San Luis
Celaya
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Irapuato
Correcaminos
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Oaxaca
Necaxa
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atletico Paranaense
Internacional
0
1
FT
Game Details
Criciúma
Botafogo
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
AA Ponte Preta
Oeste
5
1
FT
Game Details
CR Vasco da Gama
Náutico
2
1
FT
Game Details
Joinville
Goianiense
2
0
FT
Game Details
Sampaio Correa-MA
ABC
2
1
FT
Game Details
Santa Cruz FC
Icasa
1
1
FT
Game Details
Vila Nova-GO
América Mineiro
0
1
FT
Game Details
Boa MG
Paraná Clube
0
0
LIVE 0'
Game Details
Bragantino
Luverdense
0
0
LIVE 0'
Game Details
Sud América
Cerro
0
0
FT
Game Details
El Tanque Sisley
Peñarol
1
1
FT
Game Details
Boyacá Chicó FC
Deportivo Pasto
0
0
FT
Game Details
Deportes Tolima
Atlético Huila
1
5
FT
Game Details
La Equidad
Once Caldas
1
0
LIVE 70'
Game Details
Millonarios
Atlético Junior
0
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
Independiente Medellín
Patriotas F.C.
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sport Huancayo
Real Garcilaso
3
1
FT
Game Details
Unión Comercio
UTC
3
0
FT
Game Details
León de Huánuco
Juan Aurich
0
3
FT
Game Details
César Vallejo
San Simón
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo Capiatá
3 de Febrero
2
3
FT
Game Details
Cerro Porteño
Sportivo Luqueño
4
0
FT
Game Details
Manta F.C.
Deportivo Quito
1
1
FT
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
U. Católica
Postp
Game Details
Dep. Metropolitano
Deportivo Lara
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
The Strongest
Blooming
4
0
FT
Game Details
Universitario de Sucre
Club Petrolero de Yacuiba
4
3
FT
Game Details
Gamba Osaka
Cerezo Osaka
2
0
FT
Game Details
Kashima Antlers
Yokohama F. Marinos
1
0
FT
Game Details
Kawasaki Frontale
FC Tokyo
0
0
FT
Game Details
Sagan Tosu
Vegalta Sendai
2
1
FT
Game Details
Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Albirex Niigata
2
0
FT
Game Details
Tokushima Vortis
Omiya Ardija
0
2
FT
Game Details
Urawa Red Diamonds
Kashiwa Reysol
3
1
FT
Game Details
Vissel Kobe
Shimizu S-Pulse
3
1
FT
Game Details
Next

Blanc: PSG not in best shape

PSG 2 days ago
Read
Oct 4, 2010

The power of 'V'

Why do some teams improve when they lose their best players? Because football isn't very logical? Possibly. Or perhaps in order to do well this season in Spain your team's name must start with a 'V'? Valencia and Villarreal, in that order, are making this a fun season so far, and although the Auld Firm are very close behind, there are reasons for several teams in La Liga to be both cheerful and aspirational, perhaps until the winter winds begin to truly blow.

Talking of winter, I spent most of the week hiding away in a small town in deepest Bavaria, as you do, at an educational conference (which, by the way, is not a synonym for 'Oktoberfest'), but football was never far away. I watched Valencia vs. Man Utd and even managed to get in a general football-related pub discussion with a chap from Bilbao, although I never quite managed to establish what he was doing in a two-horse town in the Bavarian forest, since he was too drunk to really tell me. Still we both managed to agree, in a mixture of Basque, Spanish and the Bilbao dialect of English, that Valencia were doing surprisingly well this season.

I thought they were a shade unfortunate against Man Utd, although they probably showed them too much respect. They are capable, however, of saving the day at Old Trafford. Maintaining a presence in the Champions League is crucial to their finances, although it might ultimately get in the way of their domestic ambitions. Ambitions? Half-way though last season, with the creditors knocking on the door, their stars of Davids [Villa and Silva] obviously on their way and young manager Unai Emery increasingly questioned, few would have predicted this particular Octubre-Fiesta. What has gone right? Well, sometimes when the best players leave, the ones who were playing in the shade come out into the sunshine. They've benefitted from playing and training with the best, and now they can step up in their own right. Also, other players take responsibility where before it was not required of them, a bit like a teenager who suddenly realises he has to find a job. It concentrates the mind. And a couple of signings like Aritz Aduriz and Roberto Soldado don't do any harm either. Now they can sit pretty at the top of the league until the weekend of the 17th when they travel to Barcelona for what looks like a very interesting game. In the Camp Nou they can try to be taken seriously as contenders for the rest of the season, and perhaps just as importantly, measure themselves up against the real thing.

Barcelona are passing through one of their occasional mini-crises anyway, drawing away in midweek to their previous nemesis, Rubin Kazan, and then repeating the result at home to Mallorca, with Messi back on the pitch (and scoring) but with Xavi and David Villa in the stands. Michael Laudrup, Pep Guardiola's old mate, ex-colleague and the man who sold him his Volkswagen Golf to replace the Ford Talbot that Pep felt was no longer cool when promoted to the first team in 1991, sat for the first time on a bench across from him and managed to eke out a draw, courtesy of Emilio N'Sue's header just before half-time.

Barcelona will have to do a little better against Valencia, but they should have their main weapons back by then. Oh, and just to add a little more spice to the crisis, Man City are allegedly preparing to spend a few pounds on buying Gerard Pique for Christmas. Dream on, of course, but it all helps to stir the waters further.

Valencia seem to have found some sort of balance in their squad, which is usually the recipe for doing okay. Cesar has never been that great a goalie, but he's reliable. Juan Mata is a terrific player, as good as David Silva in the creation stakes, and probably a harder worker. He just needs to be more consistently accurate in his passing, and perhaps decide whether he is an attacking midfielder, an out-and-out left-sided forward or a 'media punta' - in the hole. He can be all three, but seems to suffer sometimes from role drift. Pablo Hernandez, another who has come out into the sunshine, murdered Athletic Bilbao's left side on Saturday night, or at least he was doing when I got in from the airport and flopped down on the sofa to watch what was left of the late live match on La Sexta.

Add this to the fact that on the other wing, Vicente came on for the last 25 minutes and scored a goal that reminded you of what he once was, and the balance is clear. With hardish man David Albelda still to call on when needed, and real hard man David Navarro at the back, the losses of such icons as Roberto Ayala, Carlos Marchena and Ruben Baraja have not been so serious. Joaquin isn't a bad option to have either, as an occasional caprice on the right.

Soldado, another of the Real Madrid nearly-men class of strikers (see Alvaro Negredo, Javi Portillo et al) always seemed a pretty decent mucker to me, and has always scored goals. He did well at Getafe, but seems to be relishing the task of making the Mestalla forget about David Villa - an uphill task of course, but he was excellent against Bilbao on Saturday night, setting up the first and generally making a nuisance of himself. Alone, he cannot possibly be considered in Villa's class, but together with the oft-underestimated Aritz Aduriz, the forward line looks suddenly intimidating again.

Villarreal lost their opening game to Real Sociedad but have not looked back since, winning their subsequent five league games. Ever since this club appeared in the top flight some ten years ago, everyone has been expecting them, maybe like Alaves, to go back to the obscurity from whence they had come. But it has never happened, and their average finishing spot in the last seven seasons is fifth - proof, if it were really needed, that there is democracy alive in Spanish football, albeit a relative version. Like Valencia, their mix of experience and young bucks seems to work, as does their ability to hang on to excellent players such as Santi Cazorla, fit and influential again. Brazilian forward Nilmar isn't so young at 26, but is beginning to confirm what people said about him when he turned up last season, and is now La Liga's top scorer, followed just behind by team-mate Giuseppe Rossi. Their next game is at Hercules, which won't be a cake-walk, but it gives them a decent chance of staying in the frame, particularly with Valencia and Barcelona playing each other.

Real Madrid did what their manager suggested they might do eventually, and scored as many goals in one game as they had in the previous five. Then again, they were playing Deportivo, fingered by many at the start of the season as relegation fodder. Madrid eased into third spot as their neighbours Atletico dropped out of the top six, losing 3-1 away to the erratic Sevilla. CR7 finally managed to score a couple, and so he might return to normality in the next few weeks - which would be a bad sign for the league's defences.

By normality I mean passing the ball occasionally, and recalling the fact that he is a member of a collective. Defending him this week from suggestions that he might benefit from an occasional benching, Jose Mourinho described him as 'untouchable', because he was the hardest worker in training. Mourinho has often put more emphasis on training-ground attitudes than actual weekend performances, which is an interesting and seemingly effective way of managing, since it motivates and requires greater consistency from players, week in week out.

He also told the press, bombarded daily by sound bites and gorging on the feast after the empty plate of Pellegrini last season, that Real Madrid would require two years to be constructed, so they had better get used to the ups and downs. When the team finally wins the fabled tenth European Cup in a couple of years and Mourinho goes to Manchester City to further embellish his CV and Swiss bank account, Florentino Perez can bring in Valencia's Unai Emery, just before the RFEF tries to get him to manage the national team. And if Emery doesn't fancy it, there will always be Villarreal's Juan Garrido, unless some other team starting with 'V' turns up in the meantime.

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.