Good Day, Bad Day: Awful Athletic, mediocre Madrid, victorious Valladolid

RESULTS Sat 25 Aug Malaga 1-1 Mallorca, Espanyol 1-0 Real Zaragoza, Real Betis 1-2 Rayo Vallecano, Real Sociedad 2-1 Celta Vigo Sun 26 Aug Valencia 3-3 Deportivo, Getafe 2-1 Real Madrid, Granada 1-1 Sevilla, Osasuna 1-2 Barcelona Mon 27 Aug Atletico Madrid 4-0 Athletic Bilbao, Real Valladolid 2-0 Levante

Good Day

BarcelonaThe trouble with reviewing a team’s performance after knowing the final result is that it can skew the analysis a tad. A few bad passes and iffy finishes over the bar will have fans watching the match live thinking their team suck royally and are doomed. Knowing the scoreline means you know from the start that they are going to be all right in the end and all those little foibles don’t really matter. That is the perspective of LLL, having missed most of Sunday's game in Getafe thanks to a transport ‘mare caused by unexpected engineering works (yes, they exist in Spain as well). So, instead we'll cast an eye over views from the Barça Twitter-verse - apparently Cesc Fabregas was awful, Andrés Iniesta was dodgy and even Leo Messi went partly missing. Mad Tomás Roncero of AS thinks the result forms part of the anti-Madrid refereeing conspiracy and that his team should be above Barça in the league table and that it just isn’t fair.   

ValladolidSecond in the league! Imagine that! How did they do it? By winning their ‘winnable’ games against Zaragoza and Levante and by not conceding any goals. Easy, really.

Leo BaptistaoHas another new star been born? Last week 16-year-old Málaga forward Fabrice filled these particular boots. On Saturday, it was the Rayo winger (who turned 20 a day later) who set Vallecas hearts a flutter by scoring the winning goal away at Betis and by setting up the Madrid side’s first with a beautiful cross with the outside of his boot. LLL expected Rayo to be near the bottom of la Primera after a couple of matches, not third.

FalcaoWith Atlético being Atlético - and really broke - you never know what will happen with the club and whether Falcao will still be there at the end of the transfer window. But if the lovely-haired one hangs around, then surely the Rojiblancos are a dead cert for third this season if his hat-trick form from Monday night continues? No? Oh. Fair enough.

DeportivoThe Galician side made a fantastic comeback against Valencia in a mad 3-3 draw - a shame no-one watched it, though, with the match finishing at nearly one in the morning - and another fantastic sign that Depor are going to be very watchable indeed this season after a couple of years of wandering in the tedium wilderness.

Tomer HemedAt least someone out there seems to enjoy playing at 11 at night. The Mallorca forward bagged two last week in this time slot and managed another on Saturday in a 1-1 draw against Málaga.

Luis GarcíaThere’s nothing quite like seeing a big smile from the Getafe manager. It’s heart-warming stuff. We saw a massive one after last season’s victory against Barcelona last season when Getafe didn’t play especially well but came away with a victory. There was another on Sunday night under similar circumstances but when Real Madrid were the victims. Good to see the giant-killing spirit is back at the Coliseum club. Now if only they could focus on getting some fans in to watch it happen. €100 tickets ain’t going to do that.

ZaragozaA quick response to last week’s rather disastrous home defeat to Valladolid with a victory which was very similar to last year’s wins that kept Zaragoza up in the end -  scoring big, big, big goals, very, very, very late on. This time it was an 89th minute effort from Hélder Postiga.

Real SociedadHow well la Real do this season depends an awful lot on what happens to Athletic Bilbao in the transfer market this week. Should their Basque brothers-in-arms lose Javi Martínez and Fernando Llorente, then the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Iñigo Martinez could be targeted just to make the Bilbao club feel a little bit better about themselves. If Real Sociedad can resist any financial temptations from Athletic then the team should have a fairly solid campaign on their hands, thanks to some of the youngsters in the team gaining in experience from last year and an improvement in squad strength in depth with the recruitment of Carlos Vela and Chory Castro. Saturday’s 2-1 win over Celta was a little more fraught that necessary, but it was well deserved. In the meantime, let’s see how the next five days unfold for the San Sebastian side.

Bad Day

BetisThe Seville side continues to be arguably the most fun to watch at the moment, but sometimes the mad attacking anarchy doesn’t always go to plan. It did in the 5-3 win at San Mamés last weekend, but despite contributing to a completely barn-storming first half against Rayo, Betis died off a little and eventually lost 2-1. “Rayo won because they were better,” admitted a no-frills Betis coach, Pepe Mel.

MálagaNot an ideal start at home for Málaga, with a 1-1 draw against Mallorca, but the priority for the southern side is trying to get a tiny bit of institutional stability and make sure there are no goofy moments in Tuesday’s Champions League qualifier second leg. “The team is well physically and will go into the game feeling good,” said a chirpy Málaga manager, Manuel Pellegrini. Oh. They probably need a striker, too. And not Javier Saviola.

ValenciaPerhaps LLL’s brain is playing tricks, but the blog is sure it heard the first boos of the season in Mestalla for Valencia’s first game of the season. They arrived when Deportivo scored with Valencia 2-0 up. Perhaps the notoriously fickle fans knew that a collapse was on the horizon with Valencia eventually blowing a 3-1 lead. Or perhaps it’s simply the case that the supporters are never, ever, ever, ever, ever going to be happy with their team.

Celta VigoThe record shows two defeats in two matches for the new boys of Celta which is hardly the ideal start for a club that will be looking for an early caffeine hit of confidence in the new campaign. Although Celta took the lead in the defeat against Real Sociedad, the team really should have been behind in the first half with manager, Paco Herrera, admitting that “I didn’t recognise them.” Still, there are reasons to believe that Celta will snap out of their unimpressive opening as from what LLL has seen from them in the first two games, the Galicians ain’t all bad.

Real MadridIt’s not that Real Madrid were particularly horrendous on Sunday against Getafe - Levante at home about four years ago has to be the very bottom of the barrel in terms of performances - it’s just that the side played with the same rather lacklustre intensity and speed as their opponents, but without the finish. The Bernabeu side were a sort of footballing Donald Sutherland body snatchers. In the second half though, there was a hint of blind panic with a forward line of six and poor Xabi Alonso left alone in midfield having to ping long balls up to them with no-one else to count on as support. A five point gap to Barcelona is by no means fatal with just two matches gone, but Madrid really need to buck their ideas up sharpish. LLL has a feeling that was the gist of the post-match message from Mourinho after Sunday’s defeat.

EspanyolLooks like Paul from Barcelona may still be on hols, or given up on the whole Espanyol business, so LLL will simply quote the match report from AS after the home defeat to Zaragoza of all teams - “right now, they are the worst Espanyol team in years.” Which does sound a little unfair.

OsasunaJosé Luis Mendilibar was most unhappy with the referee after the match in blaming him for failing to spot an offside and getting in his player’s way for Barça’s first goal.  This was added to the frustration of seeing his team managing a fine game against Barcelona but having no reward in the end. “We played like never before and we lost like we also do,” sighed the Osasuna manager.

Athletic BilbaoThere really isn’t enough room here  - or energy from a sleepy blog - to discuss in depth what’s going on at Athletic and why they are at the bottom of the table. But in the 4-0 defeat to Atlético Madrid on Monday night, there was no passion, no pressure and no effort. And no Javi Martínez and Fernando Llorente, either. Marcelo Bielsa was still crouching an awful lot, though. At least some things have stayed the same from last season.