My Soccer World

Football: Record-Breaking Barcelona Aim To Erase Season’s Ugliest Stain

Posted on: January 24, 2009

MADRID: Barcelona, having established a huge 12-point lead over Real Madrid and Sevilla, on Saturday will attempt revenge on little Numancia, the only team to have beaten them in the Spanish League this season.

The promoted side, who caused an opening day upset with a 1-0 win, are fourth from bottom, but are dreaming of an unlikely double over Barcelona who have won 16 games and drawn two since that shock defeat.

“After losing to Numancia I never imagined we’d have a first half of the season like this,” admitted Barcelona captain Carles Puyol whose side have created a record 50 points for the midway point of the season.

Coach Pep Guardiola has been a revelation since taking over the reins from Frank Rijkaard, winning 25 of his first 31 games in charge – better even than the legendary Johan Cruyff.

Barca drew 0-0 with local rivals Espanyol in Wednesday’s Kings Cup quarter-final first leg and are now ready for revenge against Numancia.

“You always have thorns in your side,” said midfielder Xavi.

“We are on a good run and don’t want it to end, although there will be a Numancia wall ahead of us.”

Real Madrid have won the league title the past two seasons but overhauling Barcelona’s lead is some task and they need to continue winning starting with Sunday’s home match against Deportivo La Coruna.

“If Barcelona continue like this then it will be very difficult for us. However, I think they will have a dip in form and we have to be ready to cut the gap,” said Real’s Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain.

Deportivo lost 5-0 to Barcelona last time out, but defeated Real 2-1 on the opening day of the campaign at the Riazor Stadium.

Real have won their last four games under Juande Ramos and should be well rested having not had any cup commitments in midweek.

Off the field dramas have not helped Real’s cause with Bernd Schuster axed and president Ramon Calderon resigning while there is constant talk of which players will be arriving in the summer.

AC Milan midfielder Kaka, having turned down a world-record switch to Manchester City, is one big name being mentioned.

Sevilla are also 12 points behind Barcelona and host Racing Santander on Sunday trying to keep up their league momentum.

Sevilla lost 3-2 at Valencia in their Kings Cup first leg match on Wednesday but are a much stronger side at their intimidating Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.

Valencia are four points behind Sevilla in fourth place going into Sunday’s match at Real Mallorca.

Atletico Madrid and their coach Javier Aguirre are having a difficult time at the moment and on Sunday travel to in-form Malaga who have won four out of their last five league outings.

Malaga won promotion last season and have been the surprise package this season lying level on points with Atletico.

Aguirre has come under extreme pressure from the demanding supporters but goalkeeper Leo Franco backed the Mexican boss.

“The fact is that he’s always reached the objectives set for him,” said Franco. “He achieved great things at Osasuna and at Atletico he’s done everything asked of him.”

Espanyol, third from bottom and five points from safety, sacked coach Mane’ following a poor run of results and their third coach of a testing season is a former player in Mauricio Pochettino.

Argentine Pochettino, 36, got a 0-0 draw with Barcelona in the cup on his debut and his league bow is a trip to Valladolid on Sunday.

Channel News Asia

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Football: Record-Breaking Barcelona Aim To Erase Season’s Ugliest Stain

Posted on: January 24, 2009

MADRID: Barcelona, having established a huge 12-point lead over Real Madrid and Sevilla, on Saturday will attempt revenge on little Numancia, the only team to have beaten them in the Spanish League this season.

The promoted side, who caused an opening day upset with a 1-0 win, are fourth from bottom, but are dreaming of an unlikely double over Barcelona who have won 16 games and drawn two since that shock defeat.

“After losing to Numancia I never imagined we’d have a first half of the season like this,” admitted Barcelona captain Carles Puyol whose side have created a record 50 points for the midway point of the season.

Coach Pep Guardiola has been a revelation since taking over the reins from Frank Rijkaard, winning 25 of his first 31 games in charge – better even than the legendary Johan Cruyff.

Barca drew 0-0 with local rivals Espanyol in Wednesday’s Kings Cup quarter-final first leg and are now ready for revenge against Numancia.

“You always have thorns in your side,” said midfielder Xavi.

“We are on a good run and don’t want it to end, although there will be a Numancia wall ahead of us.”

Real Madrid have won the league title the past two seasons but overhauling Barcelona’s lead is some task and they need to continue winning starting with Sunday’s home match against Deportivo La Coruna.

“If Barcelona continue like this then it will be very difficult for us. However, I think they will have a dip in form and we have to be ready to cut the gap,” said Real’s Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain.

Deportivo lost 5-0 to Barcelona last time out, but defeated Real 2-1 on the opening day of the campaign at the Riazor Stadium.

Real have won their last four games under Juande Ramos and should be well rested having not had any cup commitments in midweek.

Off the field dramas have not helped Real’s cause with Bernd Schuster axed and president Ramon Calderon resigning while there is constant talk of which players will be arriving in the summer.

AC Milan midfielder Kaka, having turned down a world-record switch to Manchester City, is one big name being mentioned.

Sevilla are also 12 points behind Barcelona and host Racing Santander on Sunday trying to keep up their league momentum.

Sevilla lost 3-2 at Valencia in their Kings Cup first leg match on Wednesday but are a much stronger side at their intimidating Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.

Valencia are four points behind Sevilla in fourth place going into Sunday’s match at Real Mallorca.

Atletico Madrid and their coach Javier Aguirre are having a difficult time at the moment and on Sunday travel to in-form Malaga who have won four out of their last five league outings.

Malaga won promotion last season and have been the surprise package this season lying level on points with Atletico.

Aguirre has come under extreme pressure from the demanding supporters but goalkeeper Leo Franco backed the Mexican boss.

“The fact is that he’s always reached the objectives set for him,” said Franco. “He achieved great things at Osasuna and at Atletico he’s done everything asked of him.”

Espanyol, third from bottom and five points from safety, sacked coach Mane’ following a poor run of results and their third coach of a testing season is a former player in Mauricio Pochettino.

Argentine Pochettino, 36, got a 0-0 draw with Barcelona in the cup on his debut and his league bow is a trip to Valladolid on Sunday.

Channel News Asia

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