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Simeone was brave; Enrique wasn't


Yesterday I ventured here that something was plausible; Barça losing in Anoeta following wins for Atlético and Madrid. Well, it happened, and suddenly we the league is back on again. Of course, Barça are still favourites. They sit three points ahead of Atlético and four above Madrid, plus their head-to-head results are in the Catalan's favour. But their comfort zone has gone, their main stars look weary, and the back up to the first team are proving once again that they're a level apart. Luis Enrique picked a starting eleven thinking of Wednesday, then had to rectify it and couldn't.

The worst of it was that the midfield had been taken apart, Sergi Roberto playing on the left, his least favourite position. This gave the first half advantage to Sociedad. Enrique later tried to correct this but La Real remained resolute, convincing and stayed the course. Barça had some good periods where they tested Rulli but he stood firm. Messi didn't have one of his best days. Barça lost their composure and it showed, ending with Piqué being carded for protesting too much to the ref. All of a sudden, things are a little more complicated for the Catalan side. That's football.

And this is due to the Madrid sides winning. Madrid, with eight changes (including an abudance of academy players), dispatched Eibar in twenty minutes. Atlético arrived in Cornellá with no precautions. There was no quarter given by Simeone or his troops. We have until Wednesday to rest, he was saying. His team showed their mettle, turning round the opening goal for Espanyol thanks, in general, to hard work but especially to the excellent form of Torres and Koke. Now they just need a 1-0 victory over Barca in the Champions League and they have renewed life in the league. Due to courage.