So, two games into La Liga, and Real Madrid is already five points behind Barcelona. Barça has had the easier start, but new manager Tito Vilanova has had to step into Pep Guardiola’s big shoes, whereas this is Jose Mourinho’s second year in charge of Real.
A draw against Valencia and a poor defeat to Getafe means that Real may already be looking up at Barca disappearing off into the distance. Mourinho must have hoped that it would take some time for Vilanova to get the hang of things, or that maybe he would be one of those good coaches who never becomes a good manager. Time will tell, but it’s been a good start for the Barça man (aside from being sent off from the sidelines in the last game).
Vilanova has raised some eyebrows by signing Arsenal‘s midfield enforcer Alex Song, though The Gunners have effectively become Barça’s feeder club in the last 10 years, it is not clear where he will fit in. It would seem that Vilanova has the luxury of being able to spend £15m on a back-up for Sergio Busquets (who in fairness, played over 50 games last season). With Jordi Alba being the only other incoming player for Barca this season, it would seem they have stability on their side
For Madrid, their only signing has been Tottenham‘s Luka Modric. Like Song for Barça, Modric is a good player, but one who may struggle to break into the Madrid first XI—he may have to wait for injuries to Khedira or Alonso before he gets a regular run, meaning Real have doubled Barca’s achievement by paying £30m for a backup midfielder.
All Los Blancos can do now is hang on and hope that somewhere along the way, Barça hit a bump and struggle to recover.