Good Day, Bad Day: Angry Unai Emery & Merry Real Madrid

Good Day

Real Madrid

Not exactly a vintage performance in the opening 45 minutes for Madrid, with the crowd murmuring in discontent - which was some attempt at noise, at least - with their side going in at half-time with just the one goal lead.

“I didn’t like the first half as it is always hard against teams fighting for their lives,” admitted a fairly relaxed Mourinho, who managed manfully not to say anything too headline-worthy or downright offensive in his post match chat. Madrid picked up the pace in the second half and picked off an Hércules team who have only won once and scored just three times on their travels this season.

The Madridista press very much believe that “the league is on!” for los Blancos, with Barcelona drawing at Sevilla on Sunday to bring the gap down at the top of the table to five points, but it is Mundo Deportivo who note astutely that Madrid’s final five away games of the season are Atlético, Athletic, Valencia, Sevilla and Villarreal.

Espanyol

A double day of joy for Paul from Barcelona - the chance to witness another win for Espanyol and also survive nearly two hours in the presence of Deportivo without resorting to jumping from the top tier of Cornella El-Prat to end the pain. A good show all round.

“Our beloved LLL gives Depor a load of stick and on this performance I’m with the blog. They were woeful. A first half memorable for two things. Depor’s lilac shirts and the sending off of Pablo Álvarez, Lotina thought this unjust, the second card was an awful foul from behind, looked yellow to me.

"The game went from coma to drowsy in the second half  thanks to the introduction of MOM Ivan Alonso. Great work down the left by David García and his cross was powered home by the head of Alonso. Espanyol were in complete control and the second was a great strike from Verdú, yet another against his old team and worth looking out for.

"Kameni made his second save of the match in injury time. That Dear Readers says it all. Ok performance from Espanyol and a shocker from shot-shy Depor or maybe the shirts made them Shrinking Violets, (c’mon that’s a good one).

"30-odd Depor fans deserve serious praise for traveling from wherever to see their team. Across the street would have been too far.”

Paul, Barcelona

David de Gea

Fortunately for the Rojiblancos, the Atlético goalkeeper was probably the only one of the eleven players who hadn’t passed the first half-an-hour of the clash against Almería in the doziest of dazes as if they had spent the past 1000 years in stasis on a space freighter. It was De Gea who kept the home side out with three fine stops that allowed Kun Agüero to give his side the lead with the first of his two goals in a 2-2 draw that Almería coach, José Luis Oltra, described correctly as “a fair result.”

Atlético have now gone five matches unbeaten which looks all fine and dandy, but three of those clashes have been draws. Still, it does keep Quique’s comedy troupe in contention of a Europa League finish despite Saturday’s impending defeat against Real Madrid.

Real Zaragoza

With the Mexican manager’s flat-top hair-do primped and preened to perfection, Javier Aguirre knew that it was a limping and lame Valencia coming to la Romareda late on Saturday night after the Mestalla men’s distressing Champions League dumping by Schalke.  

The Zaragoza coach’s hunch that there were three points for the taking turned out to be a good ‘un, with Jiri Jarosik opening the scoring after just four minutes and his team-mates adding three more including two penalties.

Levante

Having suddenly turned into a Levante supporter after being won over by their remarkable survival campaign, the small sentimental side of LLL was more than a tad irked to see Mallorca cancel out an opening effort for Levante from Juanlu that left the heroic home team picking up just the single point on Sunday.

But, with its bottom lip a-quiver, the blog will admit that the point is a positive one leaving Levante with just the single defeat from eight and probably needing just three more victories to stay up.

Osasuna

All in all, it’s quite lucky that Osasuna are so strong at home with just the one league defeat this season considering how blooming awful they are away from home with just the one win. Fortunately for Osasuna, this weekend, the side were playing in Pamplona and it was Racing who were put to the sword in another performance of tiger blood and thunder.

Manuel Pellegrini

The Málaga boss admitted that he has offered to resign twice in response to his team’s recent dreadful run of form. The Chilean won’t need to suggest falling on his sword for at least a week now with Málaga beating Real Sociedad 2-0 in San Sebastian - a result that still isn’t good enough to lift the southern side off the bottom of the table.

Bad Day

Barcelona

Tough to know where to stick Barcelona in today’s section. It was two points dropped - which a concerned Pep Guardiola would have probably taken before the clash - but it was a match that could easily have been won in the final minutes with Barça having efforts crashing against the bar and being cleared off the line.

Barcelona were suffering from a little bit of bad luck in the Sánchez Pizjuán rather than any adverse effects of their midweek clash against Arsenal. An ever-so-slightly controversial decision from referee, Pérez Lasa, to cancel out a Leo Messi free-kick after a supposed shove in the wall by Sergio Biscuits, has given the Barcelona press a good chance to hit back at José Mourinho’s complaints over referee favoritism with some cracking conspiracies of their own.

“He seemed under the influence of Mourinho’s campaign,” tutted Josep María Casanovas in Sport. Even AS have backed Barcelona’s grumbles - not that the Dream Boys camp did complain - with Alfredo Relaño noting that “neither Madrid, nor Barcelona, nor anyone deserved a referee like this.”

The ever excellent Roberto Palomar had a fine anti-Mourinho rant in Marca on Monday, airing the notion that “you can imagine Mourinho at home on his sofa watching the game and dying of shame. Both teams turned up at the allotted time and didn’t complain that it was too late or too early and dedicated themselves to playing football.”

Unai Emery

The Valencia coach had barely stopped his sobbing from Wednesday’s Champions League defeat when his side went one nil down to Zaragoza in a game in which Valencia imploded in a style not seen for some time. “Our match was a disaster with no possible excuse,” blasted Unai after the 4-0 thwacking by their relegation-threatened rivals.

Villarreal

It’s never a good sign when you get bored watching Villarreal games, but that’s what happened on Sunday with their home clash at Sporting. Villarreal have been more than a little ‘meh’ in the league of late but the side have a perfectly good excuse in that the club appears to be giving priority to the Europa League.

Nevertheless, Villarreal were both a tad lucky and unlucky on Sunday. Sporting were good for their point in a 1-1 draw, but that only came about after an outrageous dive from David Barral deep into injury time. It was a double blow for Juan Carlos Garrido’s men who missed the chance to close the gap with Valencia in third to just one point. 

Deportivo

It was the lack of sending off of an Espanyol player that prevented Miguel Angel Lotina’s dastardly plan of another goalless draw for Dull Depor according to the manager himself who saw his cunning scheme busted by the ref. “Had Verdú been sent off then it would have been 0-0,” groaned Lotina.

Javier Portillo

Always fun to be reminded from time to time of the general uselessness of the former Real Madrid and current Hércules forward.

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