Tag Archives: Gareth Bale

La Liga, Week 6 Game of the Week

25 Sep

Recap: Malaga played a smart, defensive game as they drew 0-0 at home to FC Barcelona. Centerback Sergio Sanchez was the man of the match, intercepting several balls into the box, and holding Gerard Pique from scoring off any headers, particularly from the corner spot. While Malaga didn’t look too threatening on offense, they played a well rounded, tough game against the league leaders.

This Week: 

Villarreal CF vs Real Madrid CF

Villarreal CF vs Real Madrid CF

Saturday, September 27th, 9am (CST) El Madrigal

Why This Game is Intriguing: To state the obvious, any match featuring Cristiano Ronaldo is must-watch material. The Portuguese “Dark Invader” as beIN Sports commentator affectionately calls him, already has 9 league goals through just 4 matches, including 4 goals this past Tuesday against Elche at the Bernabeu. Simply put, this man cannot be guarded. In that game against Elche, Ancelotti experimented with a 4-4-2, using Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo as the 2 forwards up top, benching striker Karim Benzema. The system seemed to work just fine, and despite CB Pepe’s injury, Raphael Varane, who just extended his contract with Real Madrid until 2020, looked absolutely spectacular.

Other Reasons to Watch this Game: This road match should be a true test for Real Madrid, who seemed to have turned a corner after winning their last 3 games (vs Basel, at Deportivo, vs Elche) by a combined score of 18-3. None of those 3 teams are as talented as Villarreal, who find themselves in 7th place in La Liga, despite winning just 1 of their last 3 La Liga games. Villarreal’s most threatening player is Denis Cheryshev, a Russian youngster who is on loan from Real Madrid. Cheryshev is a dynamic player on the wing, with a lethal shot to boot but also a knack for passing and seeing the entire field. He already has 2 league assists to his name, and seems to be improving his abilities receiving first team action for a top La Liga club. Another key feature of this game to watch: Keylor Navas. It seems that Ancelotti is giving his newly acquired Costa Rican goal keeper a chance to prove he can be this club’s #1 in La Liga.

Soccahaus Prediction: Real Madrid 2, Villarreal 0


La Liga, Week 3 Game of the Week

8 Sep

Recap: FC Barcelona beat Villarreal last week 1-0, the lone goal coming in the ’82 thanks to youngster Sandro Ramirez. Barcelona’s next game is a big one, against Champions League contender Athletic Bilbao. Barca will look to continue their undefeated run as they host the Basques at the Nou Camp.

This Week:

Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid

Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid

Saturday, Sept 13th, 1pm (CST) Santiago Bernabeu

Why This Game is Intriguing: El Derby Madrileno! This is one of the best rivalries in world soccer, and without a doubt the best rivalry in the Spanish Capital. The last 12-months of this derby have been some of the most dramatic in its history- with Atletico Madrid beating Real Madrid last season at the Santiago Bernabeu during their first league matchup, and then earning a draw at the Vicente Calderon. Real Madrid then beat Atleti twice in 2 weeks during the Copa del Rey semi-final to advance to the final where they eventually beat FC Barcelona in dramatic fashion (remember the Bale sprint on the sideline past Marc Bartra). Last season, Los Blancos had the final word over Los Colchoneros, as they triumphed over Atleti in Lisbon to secure La Decima, their 10th Champions League title.

Other Reasons to Watch this Game: Atletico Madrid is without a doubt one of top clubs in the world, and it’s about time the world takes notice and recognizes just how good this club is and will be in foreseeable future. Atletico Madrid should no longer be considered an after thought, or “little brother” to Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Even though Atletico sold it’s leading goal scorer in Diego Costa, and one of it’s best defenders in Phillipe Luis to Chelsea, this team is as good as it was last year. They added Mario Mandzukic from Bayern Munich, as well as Antoine Griezmann, a winger from Real Sociedad. The 2 of them, combined with Arda Turan, Koke, and Gabi, anchor this Atleti attack, which is as strong as any in world soccer.

Soccahaus Prediction: Atletico Madrid 2, Real Madrid 2

La Liga, Week 29, Game of the Week

17 Mar

Recap of Last Week: Atletico Madrid notched a much needed victory over RCD Espanyol by a score of 1-0 at the Calderon. Diego Costa’s game winner in the ’55 was his 22nd La Liga goal this season- just 3 behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s league leading 25. Atletico remains in 2nd place in La Liga after both Barcelona and Real Madrid also notched wins this past weekend.

This Week:

Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona

Real Madrid CF vs FC Barcelona

Sunday, March 23rd, 3pm (CDT) Estadio Santiago Bernabeu

Why This Game is Intriguing: Although Xabi Alonso might disagree- this game very well could decide the La Liga title. Real Madrid’s form is second to maybe only FC Bayern Munich in European Soccer- Madrid’s last loss in any competition was way back in October when these two clubs last met at the Nou Camp- a 2-1 drubbing on the part of the Catalans. Neymar got on the board early, while Gareth Bale looked incredibly sluggish before being subbed off in the 61′. Another questionable move was Carlo Ancelotti’s conservative, defensive gamble to start Sergio Ramos as a defensive midfielder. Xabi Alonso was injured at that time, but considering playmakers Angel di Maria and Karim Benzema were on the bench to start the game- it was clear Carletto made a grave mistake- one he definitely won’t be making again.

Other Reasons to watch this game: The best players on the planet, both past and present, have featured in this game. Maradona, Zidane, Ronaldo Nazario, Ronaldinho, Luis Figo, Romario, Roberto Carlos- the list of greats to have donned the classic whites of Real Madrid and the Blaugrana of Barcelona is endless, and is what makes the El Classico a timeless event. Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo- the world’s two greatest players, once again are featured on the same field. The Santiago Bernabeu is a stadium that recognizes and loves its Spanish National team heroes, and this game features several of them on both sides of the pitch, including World Cup Final 2010 savior, Andres Iniesta. Forget the rivalry. Forget the politics. The entire world will look up at the Bernabeu lights on this Sunday evening ready to be entertained by the Spanish Giants.

Soccahaus Prediction: Real Madrid 3, FC Barcelona 1

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Athletic Bilbao vs Getafe, Osasuna vs Sevilla, Real Betis vs Atletico Madrid, Valencia vs Villareal

English Premier League, Week 36 Game of the Week

6 May

Recap of Last Week: I incorrectly predicted the winner of the game, and I definitely overestimated the amount of goals that were scored in this game. Chelsea beat English champs Manchester United away at Old Trafford by a score of 1-0 thanks to a goal by Juan Mata in the 87′. This game was not without controversy, as Manchester United defender Rafael was unjustly sent off- David Luiz received a minor elbow from his fellow brazilian, and video clearly shows Luiz was just fine, faking an injury.

This Week: 

Chelsea FC vs Tottenham Hotspur

Chelsea FC vs Tottenham Hotspur

Wednesday, May 8th, 1:45pm (CST) Stamford Bridge

Why This Game is Intriguing: Tottenham Hotspur needs to win or draw this game, plain and simple, if they want to finish top 4 and participate in the Champions League next season. This might be, for all intensions and purposes, one of the most important matches in the history of Tottenham Hotspur football. The Spurs are currently in 5th place with 65 points, while Chelsea is currently in 3rd place with 68 points, and Arsenal is in 4th, just in between these two clubs, with 67 points. Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham- 3 London based clubs with tremendous followings both in England and around the world, are fighting for the final 3rd and 4th place spots- and there will be one loser who misses out. It’s not just making the prestigious tournament- it’s all of the added bonuses that come with being a Champions League club- most notably all of the revenue and exposure the club attains for an entire year and beyond.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: A rematch with much larger stakes. These clubs last met on October 20th at White Hart Lane, where Chelsea won 4-2 thanks to goals by Juan Mata in the 66′ and 69′ minutes. This time around though, the Champions League is staring both of these clubs in the face. Chelsea is playing some outstanding football as of late both in England and in the Europa League, and the Blues have a roster deep enough and capable enough to handle the rigors of winning both in Europe and at home. A loss here for Tottenham would be absolutely crushing- if the Spurs fail to qualify for the Champions League, there is a very good chance Welsh star Gareth Bale and Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas leave and go elsewhere.

Soccahaus Prediction: Chelsea 3, Tottenham 1

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Sunderland vs Stoke, Manchester City vs West Brom, Wigan Athletic vs Swansea

English Premier League, Week 33 Game of the Week

18 Apr

Recap of Last Week: In a game that I personally am very glad I was unable to watch, Arsenal and Everton drew 0-0 at the Emirates Stadium in North London. Arsenal is in 4th place heading into the weekend, while Everton is in 6th place. The Tottenham Hotspur are right in between them in 5th place, and remain just 2 points behind their rivals.

This Week: 

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City FC

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City FC

Sunday, April 21st, 7:30AM (CST) White Hart Lane

Why This Game is Intriguing: Tottenham desperately could use a win here to gain on Arsenal (the Gunners play Fulham this weekend), but are facing the 2nd best team in England right now in Manchester City. The Citizens have won their last 3 games in a row, including an incredible 2-1 victory over rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford. After a couple of bad losses to Everton and Southampton, City looks to have rebounded and are playing with a swagger that is starting to resemble the attitude the club played with all of last season. Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero are playing incredibly well as of late, and even better the two are playing well together on the field at the same time.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Will Gareth Bale play or not? It is clear that Tottenham can beat anyone when Bale is in the lineup, yet the club, while still pretty good, is only a shell of itself when the Welsh star isn’t playing. Tottenham is fighting desperately for a Champions League birth, and will be paying close attention to the scores of Arsenal, Chelsea, and Everton. Manchester City and Tottenham played each other back in November at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, where City won the match 2-1 off an Eden Dzeko winner in the 88′. While the score was close, City dominated the matchup, putting up twice as many shots and dominating the possession battle 62% to the Spurs 38%. This game will be thrilling because Andre Villas-Boas and his Tottenham club know how important it is at least get a point out of this match. A tall task, considering City is a juggernaut with (quite literally) a wealth of talent.

Soccahaus Prediction: 2-2 draw.

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Norwich vs Reading, Fulham vs Arsenal, West Brom vs Newcastle, Liverpool vs Chelsea, Manchester United vs Aston Villa

English Premier League, Week 29 Game of the Week

26 Mar

Recap of Two Weeks Ago: We are back after a week off because of international play. In what was an incredibly exciting, hard fought game between two teams at the bottom of the EPL, Aston Villa came away with the win, beating last place QPR by a score of 3-2. The back and forth affair was eventually settled by none other than Belgian international Christian Benteke in the 81′.

This Week: 

Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur

Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur

Saturday, March 30th, 10AM (CST) Liberty Stadium

Why This Game Is Intriguing: I’m going to call this game a must-win for the Spurs if they want to remain in the top 4 and earn a Champions League bid. Why? Not only have the Spurs lost their last 2 games in a row (at Liverpool and vs Fulham), but the upcoming schedule for the North London club after this match against Swansea is absolutely brutal. Now, Swansea is a fantastic club, especially this season, but the next 3 games after this for Spurs are: vs Everton, at Chelsea, and then vs Manchester City. For a club reeling from 2 defeats and clamoring to stay in the group of England’s elite, this game against a high powered Swansea team is huge. In those two losses, Gareth Bale has not scored a single goal. The Spurs are at their best when their superstar Welshman is leading the attack scoring goals.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: 11th place Swansea is looking for a home win against one of the top teams in England in the Tottenham Hotspur. Like the Spurs, Swansea is on a bit of a losing streak of their own, losing their last two games (vs Arsenal and at West Brom) by a combined score of 1-4. Swansea is led by Spanish international star Michu, who leads the team 15 goals, although he hasn’t scored a goal in the last 4 games. Swansea’s back line is anchored by Ashley Williams, the captain of the Wales National team. Williams is an incredibly athletic defender, and his leadership has propelled Swansea to a solid standing in the Premier League, as well as a victory for the Capital One Cup over Bradford City.

Soccahaus Prediction: Spurs 3, Swansea 1

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Manchester City vs Newcastle, Arsenal vs Reading, Southampton vs Chelsea, West Ham vs West Brom, Everton vs Stoke City, Aston Villa vs Liverpool

English Premier League, Week 27 Game of the Week

8 Mar

Recap of Last Week: In what was a relatively clean game, I managed to predict the right outcome in the North London Derby- Spurs 2, Arsenal 1. As we have to come to expect now, Gareth Bale led the offensive charge for Tottenham- scoring off an incredible left foot off a counter attack for what looked like a much easier goal than it actually was. Aaron Lennon scored just a couple minutes after making the score 2-0 before halftime. At that point, many, including myself, thought this game was going to be a blow out- but Arsenal played a very strong 2nd half, and got on the board with a Per Mertesacker goal in the 51′.

This Week:

Liverpool FC vs Tottenham Hotspur

Liverpool FC vs Tottenham Hotspur

Sunday, March 10th, 11pm (CST) Anfield

Why This Game is Intriguing: Tottenham is one of the most exciting teams in the world right now, and they are on quite a run not only in the Premier League, but in the Europa League as well. The last time these Spurs lost was on January 27th in the FA Cup to Championship division team Leeds United. Gareth Bale continues to score goals at an alarming rate, and his goal in last week’s North London Derby put him ahead of Demba Ba of Chelsea and Michu of Swansea as the Premier League’s 3rd top goal scorer, just 3 goals behind Robin van Persie (Manchester United) and 5 behind Luis Suarez of Liverpool. Which leads me to my main point- This game is intriguing because you will be watching two of the top three goal scorers in the Premier League. Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez are sure to put on a show in this game.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Both of these teams are looking to make a statement as far as playing in international tournaments next season. Tottenham is desperately doing everything they can to ensure they finish the season in the top 4, and thus qualifying for Europe’s most prestigious tournament, the Champions League. The way Tottenham is playing currently, and given the quality of Gareth Bale’s performances as of late, the Spurs are proving that they belong in the tournament against the best clubs in the world. Gareth Bale is a player who needs to play in the Champions League, particularly because he plays for the Welsh National team- meaning that his chances of playing in the World Cup are slim to none. His opportunities to play on the biggest of stages of soccer are few, so it is vital the Spurs continue this success- or else Bale will probably go elsewhere to ensure he plays Champions League soccer. Liverpool, currently in 7th is also on the upswing. Their steady improvement throughout the season is evident through their climb towards the top of the table. Liverpool seems destined once again for the Europa League, but the following year, Liverpool very well could be in the conversation the Spurs find themselves in now.

Soccahaus Prediction: Tottenham 3, Liverpool 2

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: QPR vs Sunderland, West Brom vs Swansea, Newcastle vs Stoke City