Four teams remain unbeaten in the Spanish La Liga after two rounds of the new season. Here are some things we learned over the weekend:
ANSU FATI COULD BE BARCA’S BEST SIGNING
FC Barcelona scored three second-half goals to decide a game that was looking evenly balanced at 1-1 away to Real Sociedad, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen making some vital saves to stop Barca from going behind.
All of that changed with the entry of Ansu Fati into the game, as the youngster provided two assists and scored himself as Barca ran out 4-1 winners.
Fati has endured two terrible years with knee and muscle injuries and it’s hard to believe he is still just 19 years old, but once again he showed his enormous talent.
Much has been made of Barca’s transfer business this summer, but if Fati stays fit, he will be the player who makes the difference.
REAL MADRID START POST-CASEMIRO ERA
Perhaps the biggest surprise last week was Casemiro’s transfer from Real Madrid to Manchester United for a fee of around 70 million euros, and the speed with which the move went through.
The Brazilian has been key to Real Madrid’s football for the past nine years, carrying out the role in front of the defense, but at 30 years old, the club obviously thought the offer was too good to refuse.
Real Madrid’s first game without Casemiro was similar to most of them with him over the past couple of years. They were outplayed by Celta Vigo for important periods of the match, but three moments of magic from Luka Modric, Vinicius Jr and Fede Valverde tipped the score their way to make Casemiro’s sale look like very good business.
VILLARREAL CONFIRM TOP-FOUR HOPE
Villarreal are many people’s tip to get into the top-four this season and the start to the season has done little to make them change their minds. Unai Emery’s men followed a 3-0 win in Valladolid on the opening day with a 2-0 win away to Atletico Madrid.
Villarreal produced a silky performance against a rival that had played well in their league debut, but was unable to compete with Emery’s side, reports Xinhua.
Villarreal were solid at the back, controlled the ball confidently in midfield, and in Yeremy Pino and Gerrard Moreno, they have players who will score a lot of goals, and without having to play the Champions League this season, Emery will be able to keep his star players fresher than the last term.
OSASUNA OFF TO A FLIER
Osasuna coach Jagoba Arrasate is the longest serving coach in La Liga and a hero in Pamplona after taking the club to promotion and consolidating them in the top flight.
Last season saw Osasuna finish in a comfortable tenth place and they have kicked off this season with consecutive wins to raise hopes they can do better this time around.
Osasuna have varied options in attack, with Chimy Avila, Kike Garcia and Ante Budimir. David Lopez is a rock in defense and Jon Moncayola offers projection in midfield, but the club’s main strength is how they work as a unit and there Arrasate has done an excellent job as Saturday’s 2-0 win over Cadiz once again showed.
In a season likely to be affected by the World Cup finals, Osasuna could prove to be a surprise package.