Good Day, Bad Day: Barmy Barça, Rubbish Ronaldo and Amazing Atlético
RESULTS Sat 20 Oct Deportivo 4-5 Barcelona, Valencia 3-2 Athletic Bilbao, Real Madrid 2-0 Celta Vigo, Malaga 2-1 Valladolid Sun 21 Oct Real Sociedad 0-1 Atletico Madrid, Osasuna 0-0 Real Betis, Granada 1-2 Zaragoza, Espanyol 3-2 Rayo Vallecano, Getafe 0-1 Levante.
BarcelonaThe glass half empty section of BarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs support will bemoan the four goals conceded to a previously terrible Deportivo - three of which came before the Catalan collective went down to ten men - which leave the Catalan club having shipped 11 this season, as many as bottom club Osasuna. And that really canÃ¢ÂÂt be good. Then again, a more positive approach from the culÃÂ© collective will note that just one of those four goals from SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs 5-4 victory came from open play (dodgy pen, great free-kick, own goal for the others) and that Barcelona were pretty spectacular in the opening part of SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs 5-4 win. LLLÃ¢ÂÂs advise is not to spend too much time analysing whatÃ¢ÂÂs going on with the league leaders these days but simply hug the chaos tightly and hope it never goes away.
Leo MessiA footballer who produced three more goals to make it 11 in la Liga this season, but who must have been looking around and trying to comprehend the carnage during BarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂs 5-4 victory over Deportivo. May soon be craving a quieter life at Getafe if this season continues in the same vein for the Catalan club, especially as the Argentinean is on the brink of becoming a father.
AtlÃÂ©tico MadridAnd so the RojiblancosÃ¢ÂÂ incredible campaign keeps on going with a third last-minute victory in the past three matches in la Liga and Europe. AtlÃÂ©tico were by no means brilliant against la Real, a team who had won all of their home games so far this season, and a point looked like being a fine return from the game - a return that the Rojiblancos would have gladly taken last season for example. But this is the new improved version and AtlÃÂ©tico picked up yet another victory with Falcao scoring from a direct free kick in the last minute of normal time. Magic stuff.
FalcaoThe Colombian has now scored in ten consecutive games and has even added free-kicks to his arsenal. Ã¢ÂÂHeÃ¢ÂÂs been practicing for a while,Ã¢ÂÂ noted team-mate, AdriÃÂ¡n.
JoaquÃÂnThe Malaga winger is one of the chirpiest footballers on the planet when he's a happy camper, so itÃ¢ÂÂs a fluffy feeling indeed to see JoaquÃÂn enjoying his football so much these days. With the departure of the equally-chippy Santi Cazorla, LLL senses the ÃÂ¼ber-positive side of JoaquÃÂnÃ¢ÂÂs character was required in order to get his teammates through some difficult times over the summer. Now the season is underway, itÃ¢ÂÂs JoaquÃÂn the fantastic footballer that has taken over, with the former Valencia man scoring the sideÃ¢ÂÂs winner after earlier missing a penalty in a 2-1 victory over Valladolid in a game that Manuel Pellegrini summarised where Ã¢ÂÂwe kept our concentration but we werenÃ¢ÂÂt brilliant.Ã¢ÂÂ
Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂEfficientÃ¢ÂÂ trumped AS. Ã¢ÂÂA normal day at the office,Ã¢ÂÂ yawned MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs match report on the 2-0 win over Celta Vigo in a game LLL couldnÃ¢ÂÂt describe any better, so wonÃ¢ÂÂt. After all, 90 minutes of the blogÃ¢ÂÂs life has already vanished watching the match.
Michael EssienLimited opponents and all that, but it was still an admirable performance at left-back for the on-loan Chelsea man, who was the natural born filler for the injured Marcelo, Fabio Coentrao and Alvaro Arbeloa. Essien won the most balls for Real Madrid and put in a delightful cross for Cristiano Ronaldo that the Portuguese in a very wasteful mood somehow failed to covert. Yet Marca were not overly impressed, giving Essien a rating of just 6.5 and noting that Ã¢ÂÂnot Marcelo, letÃ¢ÂÂs be clear, but nor is he Coentrao.Ã¢ÂÂ SomeoneÃ¢ÂÂs going to find their security pass not working on Monday morning.
LevanteA classic smash-and-grab from Levante helped the Valencia-based side earn back-to-back wins and sixth spot after eight games. The victory in the derby a fortnight back came from a hoofed long ball from Gustavo MunÃÂºa, and it was a repeat performance in Sunday's 1-0 victory over Getafe in the Coliseum, with MÃÂchel whacking home the headed-down ball from some 30 yards.
Mauricio PellegrinoThe Valencia coachÃ¢ÂÂs special parts were lying on footballÃ¢ÂÂs chopping board, with only two minutes left of his teamÃ¢ÂÂs clash with Athletic Bilbao. Two late goals bought the Argentinean some time in the end in the 3-2 win, but it can only be temporary for a boss who's grip on his job will have weakened even further, with calls from the eternally prissy Valencia support calling for the resignation of the board.
Ever BanegaBack in action for Valencia after a length spell on the sidelines having been run over by his own car.
EspanyolMerciful Zeus. That was close to being another disaster for Espanyol who were seconds from failing to win yet again. However, a powerful header from Stuani in injury time gave the Pericos their first victory in the season, but it was a close run thing in the 3-2 victory over Rayo. Second-from-bottom of the table, and likely to stay there for many weeks to come unless the defence improves considerably.
Cristiano RonaldoIn the bad day section just for the novelty factor and tummy-tickling enjoyment of sticking the Real Madrid man where Riki and Javier Arizmendi normally reside. Missed two absolute sitters against Celta Vigo and far too many superfluous back-flips for the blogÃ¢ÂÂs conservative football leanings.
RaÃÂºl AlbiolThree defenders down for Real Madrid and the Spanish international still canÃ¢ÂÂt get a gig, with Raphael Varane being chosen at centre-back in place of the rejigged Sergio Ramos and a midfielder being plonked into the left-back position.
A significant chunk of Valencia fansAs Marca noted, in the space of just two minutes the Valencia supporters went from booing to cheering with their side 2-1 down with just two minutes of normal time remaining. Goals from Tino Costa and Nelson Valdez saw what LLL suspects is a significant barracking sector of the Mestalla support going home very disappointed indeed after a very late 3-2 victory over Athletic Bilbao.
Ander Herrera & Fernando LlorenteMore trouble at tÃ¢ÂÂmill with an apologetic Herrera saying sorry about a second half sending off from a retaliatory kick during the 3-2 defeat to Valencia. Ã¢ÂÂI made an unforgivable mistake,Ã¢ÂÂ admitted the midfielder. Llorente didnÃ¢ÂÂt get the chance to say anything at all with the striker remaining an unused substitute for mad Marcelo Bielsa.
GetafeAnother game and another day without goals for GetafeÃ¢ÂÂs ineffective strikers.
GranadaÃ¢ÂÂWe were a team without a soul in the first half,Ã¢ÂÂ grumbled boss, Juan Antonio Anquela, after the 2-1 home defeat to Zaragoza. A situation that canÃ¢ÂÂt be good at all, imagines LLL.
OsasunaAn experience just as depressing for those watching in the stands as those on the pitch. A goalless draw against Betis where all Osasuna could do was lump balls into the box from a variety of angles, but with no one on the other end of any of them - a familiar sight, this season. ItÃ¢ÂÂs a sad situation in Pamplona that leaves Osasuna at the bottom of the table.