The 10 Shocks So Far Of A Scintillating Start To La Liga

It has been an enthralling start to the La Liga  season, with some unexpected results and some outstanding performers. 

From the leading lights of Real Madrida, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid to the other sides in the division, there have been plenty of surprises.

We look at the ten shocks from the start of the La Liga campaign. 

16-year-old Fati makes the breakthrough at Barcelona 

16-year-old Ansu Fati has hit the headlines after making an excellent impact for Barcelona

Ansu Fati is the sensation of the first three games of the season becoming the second-youngest player to ever play for Barcelona and the youngest to ever score for them. 

Still only 16 (until October 31) he has the world at his feet and the Messi clan at his back – Lionel has already given him a very public embrace of approval and Rodrigo Messi (Leo’s brother) is working as an assessor for him. 

He has even surprised himself – that much was clear by his reaction to scoring last Saturday.

Bale comes in from the cold to impress for Real Madrid 

Gareth Bale ended up staying at Real Madrid and has produced some impressive displays

Oh you’re still here! Gareth Bale could have buckled in the summer when all the pressure was for him to take a pay cut to get a move away from Real Madrid. 

Instead he cleared his head on the golf course, stayed fit, and then put in three top performances in the first three matches of the season. 

‘Good job we never sold him’ said supporters. ‘I’m pleased for Gareth,’ shrugged Zidane. His brace salvaged a point away to Villarreal at the weekend and the Hazard, Benzema, Bale triumvirate could be special if they all stay fit.

Kieran Trippier exceeds expectations at Atletico Madrid 

After joining from Tottenham, Kieran Trippier has fared well for Atletico Madrid

Kieran Trippier has surprised everyone at Atletico Madrid. They knew they were getting quality and experience but he looks like a veteran of team-Simeone, not someone only signed this summer.

He gets it tactically, he never gives the ball away, his recovery runs are impressive, and he really does bend it like Beckham. Just ask Alvaro Morata who headed in his cross to score the team’s first goal of the season.

Newcastle reject Joselu among surprise leading goalscorers 

Joselu struggled to make an impact at Newcastle but has started well for Alaves

After just seven goals in 52 games for Newcastle Joselu has two in two starts at Alaves. 

The top-scorer chart is full of surprises. Betis’ Loren has three in three, after six in 33 last year. 

And Gerard Moreno has three in three after eight in 35 last season.

Barcelona prospect Carles Perez draws comparisons with Pedro 

Carles Perez might not have grabbed the headlines the way Ansu Fati has but Barcelona’s other young forward has already drawn comparisons with Pedro: intelligent, great decision making, one goal already and all with the minimum noise or fuss. 

He turned down offers to stay at the Nou Camp. The offers will come again in January if there is limited game time.

Carles Perez has drawn comparisons with Pedro after catching the eye for Barcelona

Real Madrid prodigy Vinicius Junior endures difficult start to the season 

Whatever happened to Vinicius? Last season he looked just a few finishing practice sessions short of being a Real Madrid first-team regular. 

Now he looks nervy, trying too hard to do something extraordinary. Is this just Zinedine Zidane’s reverse Midas touch with the younger players? Or is the 19-year-old not the player Madrid hope he was going to be?

Vinicius Junior has struggled to live up to expectations in the early stages of the season

Adnan Januzaj faces a battle to keep his place at Real Sociedad 

Adnan Januzaj knows that he must improve in order to keep his place for Real Sociedad

Remember the clamour to get Adnan Januzaj to commit to England and not Belgium, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia or Turkey? 

The former Manchester United winger is now under pressure just to keep his first team place at Real Sociedad. 

‘La Real’ have signed Portu and Alexander Isak and one could soon replace a player who has failed to finish any of the first three games. Maybe a good performance for Belgium can lift him.

Ousmane Dembele has much work to do at Barcelona 

Injury has meant that Ousmane Dembele has had a frustrating start to the season

This was going to be Ousmane Dembele’s season. It still might be but it hasn’t started well. He came back for pre-season training early and was told by the president: you’re better than Neymar and you are not for sale. 

He had international team-mate Antoine Griezmann for company on the training ground and with Messi and Suarez injured he had the chance to show how he is maturing. He tweaked a hamstring on the first Friday of the season, went on a mini-break to France on the Saturday instead of getting it scanned, and is still out injured.

Mallorca have reasons to be optimistic 

Iddrisu Baba is one of several very talented players at newly-promoted side Mallorca

Mallorca haven’t just got the same team that came up last season, they still have half the same team that came up from their third tier two seasons ago. 

There’s an array of former sportsmen on the board including Basketball player Steve Nash and England left-back Graeme Le Saux and they have all that boundless positivity that teams that come up in the play-offs (they finished 5th last season) tend to have. 

Okay so they have lost two since an opening day win but they are going to give it a real go and look out for 23-year-old holding midfielder Iddrisu Baba — he’s going to a player. 

It would be unfair not to mention the other two promoted teams. Osasuna drew with Barcelona at the weekend, taking them sixth, and Granada are ninth.

New-look Sevilla gel quickly and add Javier Hernandez 

Sevilla's new-look side have gelled quickly and they have now added Javier Hernandez

No surprise to see Sevilla sign 13 new players (thirteen) in Monchi’s first summer back behind the controls as Sporting Director. 

The surprise so far is that they have gelled as a team. The only thing missing in the first three weeks of the season was a finisher – hence Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez arriving in Spain on deadline day. 

Next home game for them is against Real Madrid. Julen Lopetegui – dumped after two months by them last season – might want to win that one.

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