Next up in Lee Garrity‘s excellent journey around the European lower leagues is Spain.

La Liga will have added spice in the form of more derby games next season as Real Betis & Rayo Vallecano claimed the 2 automatic spots in Liga Adelante in a season packed with highs and lows for some of the biggest teams in the Spanish 2nd tier. In Madrid, Rayo Vallecano became the 4th side from the capital to make it to the top flight as they finished in 2nd spot 3 points behind Betis but the majority of the drama was off the pitch, with rotating sponsorships, strikes, unpaid wages & Stadium name change rows topping the bill at the controversially named Teresa Rivero somewhat taking the shine off events on the pitch.

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Welcome to Episode 22

After being shut down by Xilo.net the pod proves you can’t keep a good man down. We have the pleasure of welcoming David Cartlidge to the podcast. Spanish football expert and writer for SpanishFootball.info he takes on the listeners questions.

Also joining me in the pod are Scott Johnston from thefootyblog.net and Brent Atema from Global Football Today. We go through the recent transfers new including: Darren Bent, Steven Pienaar, Kenny Miller plus loads more.

This week also sees the first gibfootballshow competition, all details can be found HERE.

With all that quality goodness, what are you waiting for!!!

To download the direct feed of the podcast you can click the image below

To subscribe to the podcast and all future episodes, why not click the link below and as if by magic it will appear in your iTunes library

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*All stats are correct as of Friday 19th November

Many questions were raised when Jay Bothroyd received a call up to England’s National team for the friendly against France. Isn’t there someone else playing in the Premier League that would be more worthy of a call-up? Is a player playing in the second tier good enough for an International team as highly ranked as England?

There are many blogs that have gone into the positives and negatives of Bothroyd’s call up, that is not the question I wanted to look at. Fabio Capello has himself questioned the number of English players playing at the highest level, limiting the pool of players he can pick his squad from. Does Capello have a point? If not who are the strikers playing in the Premier League that Capello could call on and are other countries suffering the same fate?

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Another amazing fantastic podcast from myself, Gav Stone, Charlie Anderson and Brent Atema.

We discuss the biggest topics in football this week, Wayne Rooney, Gareth Bale, Frank Rijkaard, Leon Knight. Then we have a catch up with what’s been going on in Serie A and La Liga, Charlie gives us the latest update from Scandanavia it’s a podcast choc full of Malmo goodness.

it also kicks off the start of the predictions game Check Here for all our predictions made and the guest predictions from Britski Belasi, if you want to make guest predictions please get in touch, also any questions you want answered by any of our esteemed panel and myself send us a line.

Thanks to Mirko Bolesan and malbennett29 for the Questions this week.

As Charlie mentioned in the Podcast the guys at twofootedtackle are trying to raise money for a great cause, Cardiac Risk in the Young, for more information and how to help please check out this link

I hope you all enjoy the PODCAST also subscribe on iTunes

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As someone put it today on Twitter, I am starting my own football revolution, first their was this website, then I brought you my Podcasts, so what’s next I hear you ask, well…….

gibfootballforum

Yes that’s right I have launched a sister site to this, a forum where people can go and make their own points, start conversations, teach each other about players and teams we might not be aware of.

There used to be a group of us on a Pro Evo forum that had indepth conversations about football the in’s and out’s of the beautiful game so I wanted to create a place where this could happen again, so please go to the forum, sign up and start the conversation.

I hope to see a few of you there.

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Going to start a series of posts today all mapping out my thoughts on the finales to most of the big european leagues around, Starting with La Liga.

Most people unless they have been living under a rock will know that this years title race is between the “El Super Classico” teams of Real Madrid and Barcelona, Manuel Pellegrini trying to save Madrid blushes and win a league title before he gets sacked, however Pep Guardiola is trying for the “Double Double” can he win the league and Champions League 2 years running in only his 2nd year in management.

Saturday saw Barcelona roll into the Bernabeu armed with the Greatest Players playing today in Leo Messi and walked away with all 3 points, this seasons sensationl players Messi and Pedro with the goals, and put Barca in the driving seat, still 7 games left and a lot of time for both teams to gain more points, with a 3 point lead this is there run in.

14th Apr – Deportivo (H)
17th Apr – Espanyol (A)
25th April – Xerez (H)
 2nd May – Villarreal (A)
 5th May – Tenerife (H)
9th May – Sevilla (A)
16th May – Valladolid (H)

A very interesting few games left, at home I would put a substantial amount of money on Barca winning all 4 games without complication, it’s the away games that make things interesting, a Catalan Derby, trips to El Madrigal and the Sanchez Pizjuan could easily turn into 3 defeats, especially with Sevilla and Villarreal in the tussle for European places. Real Madrids run in on paper looks the easier of the two, only Valencia and Mallorca at the top half to play, however Malaga away on the last day could be a match to decide the title and relegation battles. If Barcelona slip up, Madrid have a run of games where they should pick up points, Valencia’s away record has been very poor, Almeria, Zaragoza an Osasuna could have nothing to play for.

15th April – Almeria (A)
18th April – Valencia (H)
25th April – Zaragoza (A)
2nd May – Osasuna (H)
5th May – Mallorca (A)
9th May – Athletic Bilbao (H)
16th May – Malaga (A)

You also need to factor in that Barcelona have 2 more Champions League games to play and will be tough games against Mourinho’s Inter Milan, Barcelona have always been “my team” when choosing between them or Madrid, but I can see Real sneaking in to take the title, however with Lionel Messi playing the way he is, it would be hard to bet against him scoring the goals to lift Barcelona to that 20th Spanish League title.

The third automatic Champions League place see’s Valencia in the drivers seat 5 points ahead of Sevilla and Mallorca all 3 teams still have to face one of the Big Two, they don’t have to face each other again however they do come up against teams also fighting for the Europa League places, Valencia have Athletic Bilbao at Home and Villarreal Away, Sevilla have to travel to Getafe and Mallorca will go to the San Mames in Bilbao tough games against Bilbao for those team but also tough for Bilbao in their chase for a Europa League spot, with 5th and 6th place going into the Europa League Getafe and Villarreal find themselves 2 and 4 points respectively off that 6th spot.

Villarreal have the toughes run in, big game against Getafe then home stands against Barcelona and Valencia, Getafe have Sevilla visiting them, nearly impossible to predict, I will have a try.

Looking at the remaining fixtures and trying to work out how each game will go (if I could predict this I’d be rich) this is how I think the table will finish, and unfortunately for Villarreal and Getafe it’s how you are for the 6 teams involved

3. Valencia 38 games 69 points – Champions League
4.Sevilla 38 games 64 points – Champions League Qual.
5.Mallorca 38 games 62 points – Europa League Playoff
6. Athletic Bilbao 38 games 59 points – Europa League 3rd round
———————————————-
7.Villarreal 38 games 58 points
8.Getafe 38 games 58 points

So If (Big if) I’m correct Villarreal and Getafe will be close but no cigar, Valencia and Sevilla will be in the Champions League, and I might put a cheeky bet on Real Madrid winning the title.

Next…………Serie A

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This morning I woke up with a smile on my face, for the first time in 7 years there are no English teams in the Champions League Semi-Finals, this means I don’t have to hear about how the Premier League is the greatest league in the world, far superior to any other league etc, Alex Ferguson blaming those “typical germans” for getting Rafael sent off, when it was Ribery a Frenchman and van Bommel a Dutchman who had approached the referee

Teams from Germany, Spain, Italy and France make up the 4 left in the competition, by English media standards surely this means now these 4 leagues are all better than the Premier League, of course it doesn’t, it is simply a great advert to how global the game of football has become. Personally I do enjoy the Premier League, but also in the same I Love La Liga, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga, I just love football, and will watch any league available, of course in all these leagues, you will get games that bore you to death on the other hand games that will blow you away, there are people that I speak to on a regular basis who just decide that they don’t like a league and will never ever change their opinion of it, no matter what.

This type of opinion really gets to me, why be so narrow-minded, given the choice of watching Wigan v Burnley or Bayern Munich v Stuttgart, to me it would be the German match every time, and sometimes it could turn out to be a poor 1-1 draw or it could be a cracker, the same with every game you sit down to watch, I love watching top European football no matter what league or country it is from, this allows me to form opinions of players based over league, cup and international matches, not just 2 or 3 Champions League games against English opposition and then form a limited opinion.

The opinion that the Premier League is the greatest league in the world, is one that English people love to spout off about, 1 point I always make is, “What players at the peak of their game have moved to the Premier League?” and “How English is the Premier League?”

From last year’s Champions League semi-finals 3 of the teams were English but only 8 different English players started in both Legs, not a great amount from 3 of the top teams in England’s top Division.

9 French players played, 7 Spanish, 3 Brazilian, 3 Ivoirians and 2 Argentineans, in total 21 different nationalities were represented, and who was in charge of these so called “English teams” a Scotsman, a Frenchman and a Dutchman, and only Arsenal were owned by an English company.

Without boring everyone with stats as far as I am aware, most other big leagues have a majority of home based players in their squads have home grown coaches and are owned by men or companies from their own country, this so call domination of the European game by “English” teams to me is very diluted, and there are very little English things remaining of these teams, except where they play.

I don’t want this post to seem like an attack of the English game, I watch the Premiership every week and there are some fantastic players playing for some great teams, however I could never limit myself to English or even British football, I’d be missing out on some fantastic players, La Liga with Messi, Xavi, Ronaldo, Higuain and David Villa, Bundesliga with Franck Ribery, Robben, Toni Kroos, Torsten Frings, Stefan Kiessling, Serie A with Sneijder, Milito, Pato, Ronaldinho, Totti, and Cavani, Ligue 1 with Gourcuff, Chamakh, Bastos, Lisandro, Gervinho, Jelen I could go on and on.

People often ask being Scottish why do I bother with the World Cup, and all the players mentioned above are why, I have long come to terms with the fact that Scotland don’t have the players to make it on the International or Club stage, that does not however make my want to watch football any less, because there are hundreds of wonderful players worldwide that make it a joy to watch the beautiful game.

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