Summer ins and outs in La Liga (Part 2)

Ruben Miño / FOTO: ARXIU FCB
With the Spanish League season set to kick off this weekend, we look at how Barça’s rivals have been working in this summer’s transfer market and their prospects for the new campaign

Osasuna

After losing Raul Garcia back to Atletico Madrid, Osasuna’s marquee signing has been Joseba Llorente on loan from Real Sociedad. Iranian midfielder Nekounam has also moved on, but don’t expect any change in playing style from the Pamplona team, who will again look to make their Reyno de Navarra ground a stronghold.

Mallorca

With De Guzman and Ramis off to try their luck in the Premier with Swansea and West Ham., Caparros has brought in veteran defender Antonio Lopez from Atletico Madrid, Javier Marquez from Espanyol , Arizmendi from Getafe and ex- Barça B keeper Miño as he looks to build on last season’s storming finish to the campaign.

Seville

Despite losing Kanoute to Beijing Guoan, Michel hasn’t yet made any big signings for Seville who will hope to improve on their disappointing 9th place last year. Brazilian full back Cicinho from Palmeires and the Chilean winger Rabello are the two most interesting looking newcomers so far.

Athletic Bilbao

With their tradition of only signing Basque players, Athletic Bilbao are more restricted than most in their transfers, but they have brought in their ex-player Arduriz from Valencia –where he scored 17 goals in two years and will no doubt be happy to have lost none of their talented youngsters to bigger clubs over the summer.

Getafe/Real Sociedad

With the re-signing of Pedro Leon from Madrid for another season long loan, Getafe made perhaps their most important move of the summer after off-loading 10 of last year’s squad, whilst Real Sociedad have held on to Carlos Vela, who’d been on loan from Arsenal and this summer signed a four year contract with the Basques.

Betis

Pepe Mel has also dipped into Arsenal’s pool of talent, taking the exciting young Costa Rican Joel Campbell on a season long loan after his successful spell in French football last year, whilst Roque Santa Cruz has still not been able to convince Manchester Cirty to let him stay in the Andalucian capital.

Espanyol/Rayo

Espanyol’s big news in the summer was the return of World Cup winner Joan Capdevilla, after a disappointing year at Benfica. Weiss, Coutinho and Romaric have all departed, as has Xavi Marquez to Mallorca. Meanwhile, Raul Tamudo’s last gasp heroics to save Rayo from relegation last May proved to be his last action for the Madrid outfit, as he moved on to CF Pachuca in the Mexican league, whilst the leading midfield goal scorer in La Liga last season – Michu- also left Rayo, signing for Swansea, with Espanyol’s on-loan defender Jordi Amat one of a host of new faces moving in.

Zaragoza/Granada

Both Zaragoza and Granada- who finished below Rayo at the end of last year – have dipped into the lower divisions to reinforce their squads, with Manolo Jimenez’s side also signing Apoño, who was on loan for the second half of last season from Malaga and shipping out Latifa to Getafe and Luis Garcia to Tigres in Mexico.

Promoted Clubs

The newly promoted trio of Deportivo, Celta and Valladolid have all strengthened their squads, with Deportivo signing five players from Portugal,as well as veteran defender Marchena from Villarreal, Celta going for top flight experience taking Seville keeper Javier Varas on loan for a year and Valladolid bringing in Serbian international defender Antonio Rukavina on a free transfer from 1860 Munich.

 

Cesc scores in Puerto Rico friendly

Cesc Fàbregas. FOTO: CARMELO RUBIO-RFEF.
Four Barça players (Cesc, Piqué, Iniesta and Sergio Busquets) were involved in Spain’s 2-1 win over Puerto Rico on Wednesday night

Cesc played the full game and scored the second Spain goal, after Cazorla had got the first. Cintrón pulled one back for Puerto Rico

Vicente del Bosque used three FC Barcelona players (Cesc, Piqué and Iniesta) in his starting eleven against Puerto Rico in San Juan, which ended in a 2-1 win for the visitors thanks to goals from Cazorla and Cesc Fàbregas. There was also time for Sergio Busquets to appear as a substitute, while Cesc was the only Barça player to see out the full ninety minutes.

2-0 at the break

The first major scoring opportunity fell to Gerard Piqué with an early header onto the post. But despite their dominance, it took the World and double European champions 43 minutes to open the scoring thanks to a Cazorla shot from distance. Moments after, Cesc Fàbregas latched onto a Navas cross from the right to make it 2-0.

Cintrón narrows gap

Sergio Busquets came on after the break, while Sergio Ramos replaced Piqué. In the 64th minute, Marc Cintrón gave the home crowd something to enjoy by pulling a goal back for Puerto Rico. Torres could have made it three with just four minutes left on the clock, but was denied by an astonishing Gaudette save, and things ended with a Spain win by the odd goal in three.

 

FC Barcelona – Anderlecht: European debut draw (1-1)

Juvenil A - Anderlecht / FOTO: ÁLEX CAPARRÓS - FCB
An equaliser 10 minutes from time by Toni Sanabria gave Barça’s Youth A team a draw in their opening NextGen series game against Anderlecht tonight.

STATISTICS

FC Barcelona, 1
Anderlecht, 1

FC Barcelona: Ondoa, Godswill (Cristian, 77’), Robert, Bagnack, Lucas, Samper, Adama, Quesada (Enguene, 70’), Sandro (Sanabria, 67’), Pol Calvet (Babunski, 70’) i Ebwelle.

Anderlecht: Roef Davy, Vervoort (Carvalho, 62’), Mbemba, Heylon, D’Alberto, Demdoncker, Diarra (Rivituso, 62’), De Bruyn (Kawaya, 77’), Kabasele, Praet i Bruno (Henen, 88’).

Goals: 0-1, Kabasele (66’), 1-1, Sanabria (80’)

Referee: Rafael Díaz Melero

 

Despite enjoying the lion’s share of the game’s chances, Jordi Vinyal’s Youth A team had to come from behind at the Mini Esatdi against Anderlecht tonight and they needed a late equaliser from Toni Sanabria to take a point from their opening Next Gen series match.

Domination, but no goals

Anderlecht had the first chance after just three minutes when Bruno caught Ondoa out with a shot from outside the box which hit the woodwork, but as the game settled down, it was the hosts who began to dominate and create the better opportunities. Barça’s first chance came on 11 minutes Nando Quesada rounded off a nice move with a shot that just went over and 10 minutes later, Sandro came close as he turned and shot from an Adama cross. Soon after, Ebwelle forced a good save from the Belgian keeper from a Lucas centre, as Barça upped the pace in search of an opener. Anderlecht had few chances themselves in the first half, but when they did get the ball forward, they certainly looked dangerous.

Visitors open their account

Sandro again came close after the break with a shot from the edge of the box and Adama Traoré, one of the most threatening Barça players on the night, was troubling the Anderlecht defence down the wing, but despite their domination, the hosts seemed to tire and on 66 minutes, Kabasele took advantage, finishing off a counter attack led by De Bruyn to give the visitors the lead. Vinyals threw on Toni Sanabira, Babunski and Enguene as he looked for the equaliser, but the team were finding it hard going until Sanabria was set up by Enguene to fire past the Anderlecht keeper. It could have been worse for the youngsters had Ondoa not come to the rescue two minutes from time after the ball was lost in midfield and Bruno broke free.

Hectic start to the season

Gerard Piqué / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The first team face a hectic opening to the season, with five games in the first fifteen days – three league matches and the two Spanish Super Cup games against Real Madrid

In addition, next Monday’s Joan Gamper Estrella Damm Trophy pits them against Sampdoria

Tito Vilanova begins his first league season in charge on Sunday with the visit of Real Sociedad to the Camp Nou (21.00) and the Basques will be just the first of a series of five tough games in the first 15 days of the campaign, with two more league matches and the two legs of the Spanish Super Cup all scheduled ahead of September’s international break

First title up for grabs

Following the league opener, Barça – the Spanish Cup holders – entertain last season’s league winners Real Madrid in the first Classico of the season – the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Thursday at the Camp Nou (22.30). Six days later – August 29th – the return game at the Bernabeu will also kick off at 22.30.

Between those two games, Barça will make their first away trip of the league campaign, when they travel to Pamplona to face Osasuna at 19.00 on Sunday August 26th, whilst the week after they entertain Valencia on Sunday September 2nd at eight in the evening.

Gamper Trophy on August 20th

As well as the five official games, Barça will also be playing the Joan Gamper Estrella Damm Trophy on Monday August 20th, with the official team presentation taking place at 21.20 and the game against Sampdoria following at 22.00. The gates to the Camp Nou will open at 17.00 for the traditional pre-tournament Festa del Gamper.