Big Wins, Important Fixtures
Yes, I am categorizing this post; I'm trying a new thing this week where I spend the most time previewing/reviewing the good games, and expend less energy on the ones I don't like. We'll see how it pays off.
Rayo Vallecano 3-0 Levante
This was a hell of a game--well, really a hell of a second half--for Rayo: they demolished Levante in Vallecas, in one of the more surprising results of the year. It's less surprising that Rayo actually beat Levante--not a ridiculous result--but rather the way that Levante's defensive pressure and form (JIM's strongest suit) imploded in the second half. Ultimately, though, while Rayo was raining goals from outside the area thanks to an especially inspired performance by Nacho, Levante can take some solace in the fact that Rayo's goals weren't easy: they were all blasts from distance. So while yes, JIM and company need to look a little bit at their defense, I don't think this result is cause for making any major changes--just a closer look.
Atlético Madrid 0-0 Celta (IN PROGRESS)
Admittedly, I'm writing this while Atleti take on Celta; but if this result holds, it will be important because it will see Atleti fall farther back off the pace, closer towards Madrid and company. It will also be remarkable because of how many times Atleti could have won but didn't--this is a phrase I haven't used about them this year very much, which seems to go against everything I have every known.
Espanyol 2-0 Deportivo
With this win, Espanyol kept their skin-of-their-teeth margin outside of the drop zone; with the loss, Depor sunk farther into the hole. While it's unclear who will actually end up stuck in relegation at the end of the season, Depor is starting to look like the odds-on favorite. This game just made that clear.
Similar to the above, Osasuna and Granada are fighting for their lives right now. It's going to be very interesting to see which of them come out to play--because they both (as the teams on either side of the relegation line right now) have a lot to play for.
I'm noting this game--which would otherwise fall in the "as expected" category--because of how hard a time Valencia had in securing their lead. Sure, they scored a bunch of goals, but that doesn't change the fact that they allowed Getafe to climb back into the game over and over again. This is a classic Valencia way to play--heart-wrenching--and it's a bit insane that they haven't been able to get over it.
Just for wonks
Real Sociedad 2-1 Sevilla
So it's pretty cool how far Sevilla has fallen over the past few years. Every time I see them play a good game, I expect to see them roar back into contention for one of the European spots. But no. It's time I start to at least consider that maybe, just maybe, they're not that good.