LaLiga Top marks for Atletico and a fail for Real Madrid
Pre-season has come to an end and competitive football is just around the corner, with LaLiga Santander getting underway with Athletic Club vs Barcelona on Friday night.
Some teams impressed during the summer, while others didn’t do as well during their tours.
Here, we take a look at each club in alphabetical order and given them a pre-season report card.
The good: The emergence of Luis Rioja was encouraging as he scored three goals during a pre-season in which there were some good performances under new coach Asier Garitano.
The bad: There’s a clear need to improve at both ends, both in terms of scoring goals and in terms of defensive solidity.
The good: There was a lot of high pressing from Athletic Club and they did this well.
The bad: They need to turn their forays forward into more shots on goal.
The good: They didn’t lose any of their six friendlies and even thrashed Real Madrid 7-3, with the new signings playing well and with Diego Costa rediscovering his form.
The bad: The issues in defence with the three goals conceded against Real Madrid need to be corrected, but this is nitpicking.
The good: Barcelona have shown that they can put together good performances even in the absence of Lionel Messi, while they’re especially excited about how Frenkie de Jong has been performing.
The bad: Messi’s injury is still a major blow and has given Ernesto Valverde an early headache.
The good: There is reason to be encouraged by the performances of full-backs Alfonso Pedraza and Emerson, goalkeeper Joel Robles and new attacking leader Nabil Fekir.
The bad: The team is still struggling to find its new identity under Rubi and they’re still struggling to put the ball in the back of the net.
The good: The way they started pre-season was great and Brais Mendez and Denis Suarez stood out.
The bad: Their form dropped as pre-season came to a close, plus they suffered a few injuries along the way.
The good: Eibar have played a lot of friendlies this summer, 10 in total, and they won six of them, thanks in part to the good form of the recovered Pedro Leon.
The bad: There were some poor defensive performances, such as against Werder Bremen or Fortuna Dusseldorf.
The good: Espanyol have been able to get better and learn new things under new coach David Gallego at the same time as progressing through their competitive fixtures in the Europa League.
The bad: They’ve had to pack a lot into their summer and they’ll hope this doesn’t take its toll on the players’ fitness further down the line.
The good: Getafe got better with each match and this reached a climax against Atalanta when they won 4-1.
The bad: The likes of David Soria, Djene, Angel, Mauro Arambarri, Francisco Portillo and Enric Gallego haven’t been able to take part much because of injury issues.
The good: They won all of their matches.
The bad: There wasn’t much to be concerned about, but one thing they can improve on is their understanding in attack.
The good: Leganes are pleased that they were largely able to keep last season’s squad together and this unit carried on where it left off, going through pre-season undefeated.
The bad: There seems to be a lack of alternative options to the starters.
The good: A positive has been the fact that Levante have been able to work on and get comfortable with a 4-3-3 formation, helped by the fact that they didn’t do much travelling over these past few weeks.
The bad: The results weren’t all that great.
The good: The competitive spirit of this team has stood out, with players keen to give their all.
The bad: Many of the new signings might take time to adapt to Spanish football.
The good: The results were generally positive and Jagoba Arrasate can be pleased with the squad that has been assembled.
The bad: There were several injuries, not least the long-term knee injury that will sideline Kike Barja for six to eight months.
The good: Even though Real Madrid conceded 18 goals in seven matches, the goalkeepers Thibaut Courtois and Keylor Navas performed well and prevented things from being even worse.
The bad: There was a lot of bad, like the goals conceded stats mentioned above, but the most worrying aspect was the general lack of energy, while Marco Asensio’s long-term knee injury was a serious blow as well.
The good: Alex Isak’s goals, Martin Odegaard’s quality and Mikel Oyarzabal’s leadership showed that Real Sociedad have a lot to be excited about in attack.
The bad: The team’s weakness at defending crosses into the box was a concern.
The good: Nolito impressed and was the top scorer, even though he could be sold, while Ever Banega and Lucas Ocampos stood out too.
The bad: Their most recent performances against Granada and Extremadura weren’t as good and they lost momentum as the summer went on.
The good: They look solid and they played well even in the matches they lost.
The bad: The institutional crisis at the club overshadowed the pre-season and set the club back in the transfer market.
The good: They looked sharp in attack and the experience of players like Santiago Cazorla, Vicente Iborra and Raul Albiol stood out.
The bad: The six goals conceded in their past two matches are too many, while it was also frustrating that new signing Alberto Moreno spent much of the summer injured and unable to train with his new teammates.
The good: The positive was that the attack was better than last year.
The bad: There was an over-reliance on Michel Herrero.
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