Barcelona Reduces the Gap as El Derbi Madrileño Ends in a Stalemate

Round seven of LaLiga concluded this Sunday, and the standings are beginning to shape up nicely, that is at least in a way we would have imagined it to look like from the start of the season. Real reclaimed the number one spot, Atletico Madrid remain sited at third and FC Barcelona are closely behind at fourth. Barca are now only two points behind Real Madrid, who lost their chance to increase the gap to four points seeing how they failed to defeat Atl. Madrid this Saturday. That being said, it was an exciting match and it’s safe to say both teams can be happy with the outcome.

Sergio Ramos (R) of Real Madrid and Stefan Savic of Atletico Madrid
MADRID, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 28: Sergio Ramos (R) of Real Madrid in action against Stefan Savic (L) of Atletico Madrid during La Liga soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid, Spain on September 28, 2019. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Stalemate at Wanda Metropolitano

On Saturday, September 28, an exciting fixture took place at Wanda Metropolitano, where we got to see two old rivals Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid clash in a match that had a lot of promise to be a high scoring one, yet it ended in a stalemate. While no team managed to walk away victorious, it was Real Madrid who can be at least happy they walked away with a draw, which was not only enough for Zinedine Zidane’s men to return to the summit of LaLiga, after being passed by Granada, but also means Los Blancos remain the only undefeated team in LaLiga’s 2019/20 season.

The teams, while failing to produce any goals did not fail to make El Derbi Madrileño an interesting fixture to watch. From the opening minute, it was clear both teams were hungry for a win, which resulted in numerous dangerous attacks. Atletico Madrid started off stronger and had a handful of chances in the opening minutes, however, it was Real Madrid who took over the reins and started to look more dangerous and even came close to scoring on several occasions, but got denied by Atleti’s defence again and again. The superb work of defence on either side kept this fixture levelled at 0:0 as the two teams headed into the locker rooms to forge a plan on how to overcome their opponents and walk away from this fixture with all three points. Unfortunately, neither of the teams managed to crack the opponent’s defence in the second half either. Real Madrid were once more slightly more dangerous with the ball, however, that was not enough for them to get past Atletico Madrid’s defence which was on top of their game on that night.

Head Coach Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid
MADRID, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 28: Head Coach Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid looks on during La Liga soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid, Spain on September 28, 2019. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

I think with the game we played we deserved a lot more,” Zinedine Zidane told reporters. “In the end a point is a point. We had chances, the header from Benzema especially.”

“I can’t criticise my players over anything, I’m annoyed for them above all, but I’m happy with the game they played. They too are a bit disappointed not to take all the points.”

In the end, it seemed like both teams were more afraid of losing than hungry for a win, which leads us to believe a draw suits them both. And why wouldn’t it?  With a draw in their hands, Real Madrid get to remain at the top of LaLiga, while Atletico Madrid only trail by one point.

FC Barcelona climb begins

While the two rivals finished their fixture in a draw, FC Barcelona started their climb into the top three with a 2:0 win against Getafe at Coliseum Alfonso Perez, which was their first away win of the season and second in a row.

Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona celebrates his goal during the Liga match between Getafe FC and FC Barcelona at Coliseum Alfonso Perez on September 28, 2019 in Getafe, Spain.

Barcelona had a terrible start of the season, which saw them losing to Athletic Bilbao (0:1), drawing with Osasuna (2:2) and even losing to the league newcomers Granada (0:2) in round five. That being said, Barca seemingly found their rhythm last week when they claimed a much-needed 2:1 win over Villarreal to which they added a 2:0 win over Getafe this weekend. While hardly a ground-breaking result that would make us believe Barcelona are suddenly in a superb form, it’s fair to say Barcelona played well at Coliseum Alfonso Perez and earned the hard-fought away win.

In the first half, both teams played solid football with a handful of dangerous attacks and solid defence, however, it was Barcelona, who managed to look more threatening with their possession. As the game went on, Getafe started to gain momentum and with their high pressing caused some problem to Barcelona who had issues with converting their build-ups into anything. It’s safe to say Barca looked a bit shaky in the first half of the game, however, they managed to score with only five minutes remaining in the first half. Ter Stegen swept the ball from outside the box to find a wide-open Suarez at the other side of the pitch, who took his chance and score the opening goal of the game, pushing Barcelona into a 1:0 lead.

In the second half, we saw Getafe made an attacking substitution, with Kenedy coming on for Allan Nyom, which made the home side much more dangerous in the attack, especially on the left side. Barcelona did not need long to take notice of that and pushed down the right side, which resulted in a goal only five minutes into the second half. The fixture continued with Getafe pushing for a goal and Barcelona trying to keep possession as much as possible. Towards the end of the match, Barca started to suffer a bit, thanks to the second booking of Clément Lenget. However, with solid work of ter Stegen and some luck, which saw Angel missing a wide-open header, Barca managed to survive and claimed the much-needed three points.

la liga table
                 La Liga Table After Round 7. Image source: Screenshot from flashscore.com

With Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid claiming one point each and Barcelona winning their first away fixture of the season, the standings in LaLiga show only two points separating the top six teams. The biggest surprise of the season is, of course, the newcomers Granada who sit at the second spot. Will they manage to keep up the tempo and remain in the top four is yet to be seen, and while all the spotlight will be on them and their performances, it’s Barcelona who still have a lot to prove following a poor start of the season.

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