Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Phil Ball in Spain

Next week is the real Jornada 19, the week that defines the true half-way of the league programme, so I'll wait until then to do the traditional 'half-term report'. Next week is also a bit special because the opening games that should have been played back in August, which were called off because of the players' strike, will finally make their belated appearance.The Jornada 20 games will therefore be flung forward to early May. Clear as mud eh? Well - the reason's fairly straightforward. The Spanish league plays its paired-up games in strict parallel rotation, unlike many European leagues. So if you play Levante at home on the first weekend, you'll play them away again on the 20th, in a mirror-image second half to the season. So Jornada 20 needs moving, or else all the teams would be playing each other consecutively over two weekends - an interesting prospect but one that would be almost unprecedented in modern professional football, I imagine. The scene has been further complicated by the latest caprice of the gods, pairing up Real Madrid and Barcelona for another Clásico-fest, this time in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.

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