Saturday, 4 October 2014
Barcelona continued their perfect start to the season, with an away win against 10th placed Rayo Vallecano on Saturday afternoon, with just under 15,000 spectators watching in the ground. Goals from dynamic duo Messi and Neymar within quick succession in the first-half gave Luis Enrique's side another 3 points under their belt.
They could have had 4 or 5 in truth, if it was not for the quick reactions of Vallecano goalkeeper Tono who did well to deny the Barca frontline on a number of different occasions throughout the game.
Messi was heavily involved in the game, and had a few chances narrowly wide as he could only convert the one goal - but Vallecano tried their best to stay in the match and were not pushovers despite going down to 9 men in the end.
A long through ball pass split the Rayo defence within seconds, from defender Gerard Pique which Messi had no trouble latching onto before slotting past the keeper; before Neymar doubled the scoreline soon after courtesy of an assist from 19-year-old wonderkid Munir ensured the ball fell to the Brazilian's feet - his low drive towards goal had caught Tono flat-footed and made it 2-0.
As a result of their victory, Barca now have 19 points from a possible 21 - with 6 wins and a draw from their first 7 games of the season.
On only his second full game of the season, captain and midfielder Xavi was the orchestrator as always with the likes of Rakitic and Busquets both linking up well; dominating the passing stats and always looking for the runs of Messi and Pedro going forward to start a counter attack.
It didn't help the hosts, that they were reduced to 10 men in the 60th minute when full-back Jorge Garcia Morcillo lunged in late into the back of Neymar and was given his second booking by the referee after being shown a yellow card earlier on in the game.
In the end, they finished the game with 9 men after substitute Javier Aquino was also sent off, for a second yellow card after an overzealous but honest sliding challenge on Sandro Ramirez, who came on with 10 minutes to play and looked dangerous whenever he got on the ball.
History was made during the game, as Barcelona's new goalkeeper Claudio Bravo broke the long-standing La Liga record for the most amount of minutes played without conceding a goal; the record was previously held by former Barca 'keeper Pedro Artola back in the 1977-78 campaign and has not been broken since. BUT, it was broken in the 21st minute - and now currently stands at 630 minutes.Having made 3 excellent saves and kept another clean sheet, the Chilean will be happy with his performance. Well done Bravo!
Wednesday, 1 October 2014
Although it seemed they had done their utmost best to try and sign him this summer, German defender Mats Hummels has snubbed Manchester United and confirmed that he is happy where he is currently, the new captain of German giants Borussia Dortmund.
He won the World Cup with the Germans this summer in Brazil, and his market value increased as he kept up his consistency with good performances in every game, including the match against France in the quarter-finals where he was awarded the Man Of The Match award.
Hummels had this to say to the Bundesliga Magazine International:
"It's nice to hear that big clubs like that are interested in you, I take that as a compliment. But it doesn't influence me in any way, otherwise. We earn enough here in Dortmund.
There will always be someone who can pay more than BVB; but Dortmund have made a lot of progress in my time here. In any case, I believe that's enough for me. If one day I start thinking about playing abroad, money won't be the reason. But I don't even think about that at the moment, we still have so much further to go here."
Hummels has been at Dortmund since 2008, winning the Bundesliga twice during that time as well as helping the side get to the Champions League final last year. Louis van Gaal made the centre-back one of his main targets this summer, but Hummels was rewarded with the captaincy as he confirmed he was happy to stay.
Disappointing news for supporters who hoped he'd move to the Premier League this year, considering he has established himself as one of the best centre-backs in world football at the age of 25. But, it just proves that loyalty in football is still present, albeit a dying breed.