首页 > >
Analysis: Four things to look out for in Spain's Matchday 12******
MADRID, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- The 12th round of matches in La Liga has so many interesting games that it's hard to only focus on four. Here are some things to look out for this weekend in Spain.
1. Post-Koeman Barca face improving Alaves
Every time Barca have sacked a coach recently it has promised a new dawn, but neither Quique Setien, who replaced the harshly treated Ernesto Valverde and Ronald Koeman, who replaced Setien, have been able to improve on the work of the Basque coach. Now with Koeman also gone after defeats to Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano and temporarily replaced by Sergi Barjuan, the team has to react at home to Alaves.
Alaves travel to Barcelona after two wins in two games have lifted them out of the bottom three and they will have their morale sky high. What makes the game so interesting is to see how the Barca players react without Koeman on the bench: will it be more of the same - implying Koeman was right to complain about the limits of his squad, or will they play like a side happy to see a change? - which would of course imply Barca have made the right decision.
2. Valencia and Villarreal look to end their troubles
Valencia's positive start to the season under coach Pepe Bordalas lasted approximately four games and Wednesday highlighted their current problems as Betis thrashed them 4-1.
Meanwhile Villarreal needed a late fightback to avoid a third consecutive league defeat after they had trailed 3-1 at home to Cadiz.
Villarreal sit below Valencia in the league table, but look to have a better squad and starting 11 (even without the injured Gerard Moreno and Juan Foyth). Players such as Arnaut Danuuma, Samuel Chukwueze and Boulaye Dia have enough to give big problems to Valencia's defense, while Manu Trigueros, Dani Parejo and Etienne Capoue should have Valencia on the back foot in midfield.
However, with matches against Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad around the corner, this is one match where Valencia have to dig deep and get something.
3. Basque derby with the leadership at stake
Derbies between Real Sociedad and Athletic Club Bilbao are always hard-fought affairs and this promises to be tougher than ever as Real Sociedad receive their neighbors as La Liga leaders, while Athletic are battling to climb into the top-six.
The game should see a clash of styles with Real Sociedad aiming to control the ball in midfield and use players such as Mikel Merino, Alexander Isak and Portu to create space against a rival that has an incredibly well-organized defense and midfield.
Athletic will look for the pace of Inaki Williams and vision of Iker Muniain in attack and their effectiveness from set pieces, while Real Sociedad hope to have Mikel Oyarzabal back for a match that will have the best atmosphere of the weekend.
4. Atletico Madrid against Betis doubts against confidence
The fourth standout game this weekend sees Atletico Madrid entertain an in-form Betis at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
Atletico go into the game with some uncharacteristic doubts after being outplayed for much of last weekend's 2-2 draw at home to Real Sociedad and after twice allowing Levante to come from behind on Thursday night, with four dropped points seeing them slip to sixth in the table.
Betis meanwhile brushed aside Valencia 4-1 with an impressive attacking display to make it three consecutive wins and move up to fourth.
The visitors will look to striker Borja Iglesias and midfielder Nabil Fekir to keep causing Atletico problems at the back, but as they showed last weekend, Atletico may not be at their best, but they never give up until the final whistle. Enditem
Champions League places in peril for Spanish sides in final group games******
MADRID, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- The final UEFA Champions League group stage games are make or break for four Spanish teams, whose European future very much hangs in the balance.。
While Real Madrid entertain Inter Milan knowing their place in the last 16 of the tournament is already assured with only top spot in their group to be decided, FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Villarreal all face the very real prospect of crashing out of the tournament.。
Barcelona visit Bayern Munich on Wednesday knowing that they have to win to progress if Benfica beat bottom side Dynamo Kiev in the other group game.。
Barca's recent meetings with Bayern have been painful for the Catalans, with Bayern cruising to a 3-0 win in the Camp Nou earlier in the season, while nobody has forgotten the 8-2 hammering they suffered at the Germans' hands a year and a half ago.。
The only slight advantage for Barca, who are still without Ansu Fati, is that the game will be played behind closed doors due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Germany.。
Sevilla also need to win away to Red Bull Salzburg, but will be without key players Youssef En-Neysri, Eric Lamela, Jesus Navas, Suso and possibly left-back Marcos Acuna, who picked up a knock in their 1-0 win at home to Villarreal on Saturday.。
While a win would assure Sevilla's place in the last 16, defeat could leave them out of Europe altogether in a group where all four teams are separated by just three points.。
A draw will be enough to put Villarreal into the knockout stages, but Unai Emery's side have to survive a visit to Atalanta, who have been unstoppable in domestic competition with five wins in five games in Serie A over the past month.。
Emery will hope to have Arnaut Danjuma available, as one of his side's main problems in recent weeks has been a failure to convert chances.。
Finally, Atletico Madrid visit Porto on Tuesday night knowing that their fate is not in their own hands, with Diego Simeone's men needing to win in Portugal while hoping that AC Milan don't beat Liverpool, who are already secure as group winners.。
Atletico travel without injured central defender Stefan Savic and with Jose Gimenez also a doubt, while the team were stunned by a 2-1 defeat at home to Mallorca on Saturday evening, which again raised big questions over their play.。
Atletico have been a Jekyll and Hyde team this season and if they can hit form, attacking players such as Joao Felix, Antoine Griezmann, Angel Correa and Luis Suarez are easily capable of beating Porto, but another display like Saturday's would mean their only involvement in Europe in the new year will be in front of the TV screen. Enditem。
Media tips Japan's ruling coalition to retain power******
Japan's ruling coalition is on track to retain power but lose seats in parliament, media predictions said after polls closed in yesterday's general election, the first major test for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.。
In forecasts based on exit polls, public broadcaster NHK said the Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito would win between 239-288 of the 465 seats in the lower house.。
TV Asahi said the coalition was expected to win 280 seats, down from its previous total of 305 – weakening the dominance of the LDP, which has held power almost continuously since the 1950s.。
Kishida, 64, became party leader a month ago after Yoshihide Suga resigned just a year into the job, partly due to public discontent over his response to the COVID-19 crisis.。
Cases have dropped precipitously since a record wave that pushed the Tokyo Olympics behind closed doors, but voters in the capital said the pandemic was a major factor in their decision.。
"The economy is suffering because of the coronavirus, so I compared the politicians' responses," said Chihiro Sato, 38, a housewife.。
But engineer Hiroyasu Onishi, 79, said he was more concerned by "the military threat from China."
Kishida has pledged to issue a fresh stimulus package to counter the impact of the pandemic on the world's third-largest economy.。
He has also outlined plans to tackle inequality heightened by the neo-liberal policies of Suga and his predecessor Shinzo Abe, saying he will distribute wealth more fairly under a so-called new capitalism, although the details remain vague.。
Japan's 106 million voters have "struggled to get excited about the new prime minister," said Stefan Angrick, a senior economist at Moody's Analytics.。
"Kishida will need to convince the public and younger members of his party that continuity does not mean status quo, but rather maintaining what has worked and improving on what hasn't."
Kishida had set a comfortable target of winning at least 233 lower-house seats, a simple majority, including LDP and Komeito lawmakers.。
The LDP previously boasted a commanding majority of 276 seats on its own. NHK predicted the party would hang on to between 212-253 seats yesterday, while TV Asahi said it'd win 243, still a simple majority without Komeito.。
Kishida has not enjoyed a political honeymoon, with approval ratings around 50 percent, the lowest in two decades for a new administration in Japan.。
Only five politicians have hung on to the prime minister's office for five years or longer since World War II, including Abe, who was in power from 2012 to 2020 after a previous one-year term.。
Turnout stood at 31.6 percent as of 6pm yesterday, higher than the 30.0 percent at the same time during the 2017 general election, when overall turnout reached 53 percent.。
Chinese shares close mixed Friday******
BEIJING, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese stocks closed mixed on Friday, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index down 0.34 percent at 3,582.6 points.
The Shenzhen Component Index closed 0.33 percent higher at 14,492.82 points. Enditem