La Liga resumed once again in Spain as the first matchday of the domestic league got underway, and the new season brought a lot of joy and happiness to the fans of the beautiful game all around the world.
Spectators were once again allowed to enter stadiums to witness live action and it was a delight to experience football from such close quarters again and home advantage was certainly back as only two clubs won on the road.
And it goes without saying that the first matchday in La Liga brought with it high-octane drama, spellbinding performances and left fans and media persons in awe of the deft ability and prodigious quality of the players in the Primera Division in Spain.
Jose Bordalas got a win over former side Getafe, Erik Lamela scored an opening day brace on his debut and both Braithwaite and Benzema emulated the Argentine as Real Madrid and Barcelona got off to a winning start in La Liga.
Welcome back Culers 💙❤️ pic.twitter.com/eLt9sl35TU
— Martin Braithwaite (@MartinBraith) August 15, 2021
On the other hand, the newcomers, i.e.. the promoted teams found it difficult to find the back of the net on the first matchday as neither of them were able to win their respective matches in the Spanish top-flight.
As the first matchday of the 2021-22 La Liga season draws to a close, FootTheBall analysis the five things that one learned during the action on the pitches across the Iberian country.
1) JOSE BORDALAS GETS BACK AT GETAFE IN VALENCIA
The Spanish manager left Madrid-based club Getafe this summer after five seasons at the helm in the Spanish capital to take charge of Valencia on the southeastern coast of the country. And he started his tenure as Valencia’s manager with a win over his former side on matchday 1 in Spain.
🧡🆕📋 El 𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐨 𝐬𝐨𝐧̃𝐚𝐝𝐨 con el @valenciacf…
— LaLiga (@LaLiga) August 13, 2021
Carlos Soler scored for the Bats at the Mestalla Stadium from 12 yards to put them ahead in the opening quarter of an hour, and Bordalas marshalled his personnel impeccably as they also recorded a clean sheet with proceedings beginning in La Liga.
The Bats currently sit 5th in La Liga behind the likes of Sevilla, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, and will be expected to scale new heights with Jose Bordalas in charge of seeing things through at the helm as new era dawn for both Valencia and the Spaniard.
2) ANCELOTTI AND REAL MADRID UNRUFFLED BY RAMOS AND VARANE’S EXIT
Los Blancos lost two of their best defenders in Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane this summer and everyone expected them to be hapless at the back, but surprisingly Real Madrid put in a rather convincing performance against Deportivo Alaves.
— LaLiga (@LaLiga) August 14, 2021
Los Merengues won 4-1 at Alaves as Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard looked on song. Meanwhile, the centre-back pairing of Nacho and Militao along with David Alaba as full-back was calm and composed save for one mistake by the Brazilian just after the hour mark.
Their midfield looked solid even though Toni Kroos was injured and didn’t play in the match, but the midfield trio of Modric, Casemiro and Valverde were successful in controlling the tempo of the match and intertwining both defence and attack seamlessly.
3) BARCA START POST-MESSI ERA WITH A WIN AS BRAITHWAITE IMPRESSES
Many fans and football analysts were interested to see how Barcelona would cope without Messi in their ranks, but the Blaugrana didn’t disappoint as they won 4-2 against Real Sociedad in the Catalan capital.
— LaLiga (@LaLiga) August 16, 2021
Danish forward Martin Braithwaite scored a brace and assisted Sergi Roberto at Camp Nou, while newcomer Memphis Depay assisted Gerard Pique’s opening goal and was a regular threat to Alex Remiro until he was taken off by Koeman.
The Blaugrana, however, were leaky in defence as Real Sociedad were able to score two quickfire goals in the final 10 minutes of the match resulting in Koeman bringing on Clement Lenglet for Memphis Depay to form a back three in defence.
4) ATLETICO MADRID START TITLE DEFENCE IN PERFECT FASHION
Diego Simeone and Atletico Madrid are the defending champions this time in the Spanish top-flight and Los Rojiblancos started their domestic league campaign with a perfect win on the first matchday.
— LaLiga (@LaLiga) August 16, 2021
The reigning La Liga champions visited Celta Vigo for their opening match in La Liga as things got nasty on the pitch with 7 players in total being booked in Vigo, along with two receiving their marching orders in the 5th minute of second-half stoppage time.
Nevertheless, Simeone’s charges did the job and bagged all the three points as his compatriot Angel Correa scored a brace with Atletico winning 2-1 at the Balaidos Stadium to start their campaign in the best way possible.
5) ERIK LAMELA HITS THE GROUND RUNNING IN LA LIGA
From Angel Correa and Diego Simeone, let’s shift our attention towards another Argentine who headlined for Sevilla after a move from Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.
Erik Lamela started where he left off as he scored a perfect second-half brace for Sevilla in their opening match with promoted side Rayo Vallecano in southern Spain.
— LaLiga (@LaLiga) August 15, 2021
The Andalusian club won 3-0 as Youssef En-Neysri also scored and assisted one goal each alongside Lamela at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
Julen Lopetegui’s side currently sit 2nd in La Liga only behind Real Madrid as they have a better goal difference than both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.