Before we begin, let us pay respect to the legendary Kobe Bryant and all those who lost their lives in the helicopter crash yesterday evening. It is a huge loss to the sporting world and may the families that lost people in that crash have the fortitude to bear the loss.
Barcelona loses under new management..
Well, that did not take too long. Barcelona had loads of possession but did not do much with it as they barely had any shots on target while Valencia was more direct, heck, they even lost a penalty in the process. Lionel Messi was subdued with no support from the midfield or his wide men in Griezmann and Ansu Fati. The reality with this team still is the fact that very little else can be done if Messi does not contribute- directly or indirectly. Only time will tell if Setien is the right choice.
For Valencia, this was a well deserved win, something that they had not accomplished since 2007. Things could start to look up now as they can kick on towards the Champions League spot.
Real Madrid wins again..
Real Madrid keep doing what they know how to do best-not play so well, be very compact at the back and nick in the odd goal or two. This has worked for them so far as they are three points clear at the top. Casemiro got them all the points in the last game-week and Nacho was the one to be thanked for the solitary goal in this game. Thibaut Courtois is having one of the best seasons in his career and it seems to be gradually going under the radar. All of Real Madrid would want it to stay that way.
The Serie A title race becomes more suspenseful..
When Inter Milan drew with Cagliari the day before, it seemed like Juventus would stroll to struggling Napoli and leave with three points. It was not to be as Napoli gave a good showing, were two goals up before having to dig deep to take all three points. Juventus still lead with three points- two if Lazio wins their game in hand. Nothing is set in stone yet. This may as well go down the wire.
In the Rome derby, Lazio and Roma were held to a draw with a very memorable goal by Acerbi.
Elsewhere, Atalanta scored 7 goals away from home. Arguably the most entertaining team in Europe.
RB Leipzig lose advantage..
Leipzig lost away to Freiburg, also not scoring in the process. Unfortunately, every other team around them took advantage. The gap has been cut to one point. The pressure is on.
We may need to do an Erling Haaland watch at this rate as he has 5 goals in less than 80 minutes. Talk about making a mark!