Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Axe falls on Antonio Alvarez first

Five games and five weeks in, a uncharacteristically long time by Spanish standards, La Liga has its first managerial casualty of the season.

After a 2-0 defeat to Hercules on Sunday evening, Sevilla announced that Antonio Alvarez would be the first of undoubtedly tens of managerial changes this term.

In a widely anticiated move, Sevilla have again aid the rice for not acting during the summer. For the second consecutive season they played managerial blackjack in the off season and regretted sticking with what they already had.

Last season Maonolo Jimenez, despite his impressive cojones, was sacked in March. His replacement, Alvarez, was charged with the objective of getting an expensively assembled squad back into the Champions League. He did so. Just. And the decision to keep him was based somewhat on a false premise.

On the last day of the season Mallorca's players assembled in the centre circle of Son Moix after a comfortable 2-0 victory over Espanyol. Their comical and loveable mascot Demonio took to the pitch, champagne bottles in hand. Unbelievably, a club on the verge of bankruptcy had been saved. Thanks to the wonderful efforts of their manager, Gregorio Manzano, they were headed for a fourth place finish. Then as they watched in horror, an unheralded 19-year-old, Rodri, scored a 93rd (a them some) minute winner for Sevilla in Almeria.

Alvarez had achieved his goal. Or so they thought. Come August and a 5-3 aggreagate defeat to Braga in the Chamions League qualifiers, Alvarez's fate was sealed. A strong start to the domestic campaign only served to delay the inevitable. Sunday's loss, the first of the season in the league, was the final straw. But at least he has robbed his successor the chance of Champions League football, twice. The man now stepping into the breach at Sevilla, Gregorio Manzano. Funny old game and all that.

Alvarez's sacking has somewhat overshadowed another great performance from Hercules who are shaping up to be inconsistent, mad, exciting and a whole lot of fun deserately needed around the mid-table spots of the league. They were so good against Sevilla that even Royston Drenthe looked like that 'New Roberto Carlos' that Real Madrid signed three years ago.

Players being overprotected?

Two weeks ago after the Saturday evening game between Athletic Bilbao and Ateltico Madrid I supported Sid Lowe's assertion that sometimes madness is better than genius. In San Mames' latest Saturday night offering madness and genius were combined for a thoroughly entertaining fare. Barca beat Athletic 3-1 and again looked imperious, particularly in the creation of their first goal. However, the pattern of the game was determined by Fernando Amorebieta's sending off for a semi-lunge on Andres Iniesta. It was a challenge that on another day might have seen just a yellow but in the light of the 'protect the best players' debate precipitated by Ujfalusi's challenge on Messi last week, and which also got Ernesto Galan sent off for his challenge on Cristiano Ronaldo midweek, it was always going to see red.

Four-Point Roundup

1. Valencia are for real. Pace, skill, clinical finishing and good organisation is a heady mix. They should really test Man Utd in the Champions League this week and given the form of another team in white who knows...

2. Which leads to point two. Real Madrid are rubbish! Well, at least in front of goal. Six goals in five games it sounds all so Mourinho. Their drought is so bad that this week they couldn't even score against a side still in administration and whose highest earner (Felipe Caicedo, yes, thats right Felipe Caicedo is their highest earner) earns less than Ronaldo does in a week. Well played Levante!

3. Depor 0 Almeria 2 means that Depor have now gone 563 minutes without a goal from open play...quelle suprise.

4. That talk of madness being better than genius. See the first 43 minutes of Malaga-Villareal. At that point the score was 3-2 Villareal (including 2 corkers from little fat Santi Cazorla!). Anyway, at that point it was all too much fun for Carlos Marchena,record breaker, leg breaker and arguably La Liga's most evil man. Eliseu saw red for this 'assault' on poor Carlos, although (the only thing) in Marchena's defence, Eliseu is a dirty cheating scoundrel aswell.

No comments:

Post a Comment