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la liga round-up

Madrid and Barça start with wins but the champions only manage a draw
29.08.14 - 12:09 -
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Getting to grips with a new season
The Barcelona-Elche match. AFP
Since Antoine Griezmann left Real Sociedad this summer to join the current champions, Atlético Madrid; Sociedad seemed to lack a lot of fluidity and creativity in their play. Their first game of the season saw them play away at newly promoted Eibar. The lack quality was apparent, especially with the absence of Carlos Vela and it’s clear that the money received for the young French-man has not been wisely reinvested. Eibar came away with a shock 1-0 victory to give them a hopeful start to their challenge.
Catalan giants Barcelona also started off the season under new management. Luis Enrique took over from Gerardo Martino in May and he too got off to a perfect start. Lionel Messi scored twice and El Haddadi Munir scored on his debut for Barcelona in their 3-0 victory over Elche. Judging from Enrique’s style of play and tactics he used during the game, the old Barcelona we used to all know and love to hate could be resurrected.
Sevilla played for the first time in a long time without Federico Fazio commanding the back four. The Argentine centre-half was left out due to his proposed £8m switch to Tottenham Hostspur, a deal which has now been completed. It was clear throughout Sevilla’s opening game against Valencia that the captain would be sorely missed as their defence looked lost throughout the majority of both halves. Sevilla were lucky to come away with a 1-1 draw. A point on the opening day is never a bad thing but Sevilla need another centre-back to strengthen the defence if they wish to improve on single point taking.
Real Madrid
Angel Di Maria is no longer a Madridsta. His fee of £59.7m to Manchester United is an English transfer record and one that was desperately needed for the Red Devils. Many will say that this was a bad move for Madrid to sell as it’s like taking the engine out of a car. Diego Simeone said only a week ago that Di Maria was Madrid’s best player. Even though the Argentine has departed the club, it didn’t stop Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo getting off the mark in Madrid’s 2-0 win against Cordoba.
The champions of Spain didn’t get off to the best of starts. Atlético faced Vallecano away from home in a game everyone expected Simeone’s side to come away victorious. Throughout the game, it was clear that the Atlético players were still feeling the effects of beating Real in the Supercup as the majority of the starting XI looked tired beyond belief. The game finished 0-0 and it could be a sign that Simeone needs to use the final week of the transfer window to bring in some depth to the squad.
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