Good Day, Bad Day: A Marvellous Messi and a Golden Goalkeeper


Leo MessiLittle Leo was insanely good in spells in Barcelona’s 2-1 win against Athletic Bilbao that should steady a few nerves in the Catalan capital without the need to resort to a swift drink or two.

With the Sunday night score at 1-1 after an early David Villa goal and penalty converted by Iraola - and the headline writers in Madrid about to release “Hay Liga!” onto the world for a second weekend running - Messi popped up with a winner in the second half and it was just reward for a spell of pressure on Athletic where Messi was truly sublime.

“Messi and this Barcelona are the two greatest things in the world,” gasped an over-excited Joan Batlle in Sport on Monday.

Real MadridFor just one evening, Madrid’s torturous and utterly pointless 2-0 win over Levante reduced the gap with Barcelona to two points. This temporary lift was bubbly enough to get Tomás Roncero all excited, with the AS man declaring that his beloved team are indestructible by comparing Madrid to the evil cyborg in Terminator 2.

“You think you have melted him with a temperature of 3000 degrees and he reunites his molecules once again,” gasped Roncero admiringly after a game where Levante turned up with a five-man defence and had no intention of trying anything at all.

ValenciaAnother slip-up at home, this time against Sporting, but one that has had its impact reduced somewhat due to fourth-placed Villarreal dropping points against Málaga.

Daniel AranzubíaDeportivo super striker Riki is set to be looking over his shoulder - not to see the offside flag going up yet again, but to catch sight of Aranzubía just three goals behind him the the club’s scoring charts. While it's always good to have competition in the ranks at Deportivo – a club where goals are as scarce as... er... goals for Deportivo – Riki will be a tad upset by this statistic as Aranzubía is a goalkeeper.

Desperate times at Depor call for desperate measures – which is why, some five minutes into injury time with the side 1-0 down at Almería, the keeper went up for a corner and ended up heading an equalising effort to scenes of immense bedlam and general mayhem.

Kun AgüeroThe lunatic local press in the Spanish capital have now ditched the narrative of Atlético Madrid's Doomed Campaign to Atlético Heading For Europe after a Kun Agüero goal stopped a run of four league defeats with a win at struggling Zaragoza.

However, these three points were very much in the balance with Zaragoza having a late rally and striking the crossbar twice. “The first stone in the path,” noted Quique on the club’s renewed recovery which will probably coming crashing down to earth again with a home defeat to Sevilla next weekend.

SevillaNot exactly brilliant in their 1-0 win over Hércules, with Alvaro Negredo perhaps the best of the bunch, but not exactly terrible either. And Gregorio Manzano will take that, with the Sevilla boss claiming before the match that he was looking for a result to make the team “smile a little bit” after Thursday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Porto.

Sporting Looks like a slog up to the Santiago Bernabeu in the rain to watch the reality of paint-drying portrayed in the form of a football match was still preferable to Valencia and Sporting’s goalless draw on Saturday evening, a match whose general theme seemed to be ‘dull’ according to the morning after's press ramblings.

Still, it’s another fine result for Sporting, whose two points from the last two games against Barcelona and Valencia are as unexpected as they are welcome. Had these points not been gathered on hostile turf, Sporting would have been second-from-bottom on Monday.

MarcelinoTwo games in charge at Racing for the marvelous Marcelino and two wins, the latest coming at Getafe with a 1-0 victory in the Coliseum. Sadly, there was no sign of the exuberant celebrations from the club’s owner Ali Syed after last weekend’s antagonistic antics against Sevilla.

José Luis MendilibarAnother coach having a fine debut with his club is the new boss of Osasuna, who promised to return a more robust brand of football to the Pamplonan club and came through with Osasuna managing a 4-0 win against Espanyol that was largely owed to chucking a whole bag of crosses into the opposition box at any given opportunity.


VillarrealA tough break on Sunday for Villarreal, who are now without a Primera win in three. The side should have gone into the final few minutes in the clash against Málaga 2-0 up after a goal from Marco Rubén and a clear-cut, clattering penalty tackle on Nilmar by Eliseu. But the spot-kick wasn’t given, leaving Villarreal vulnerable to a counter-attack by Málaga who brought the scores back to 1-1 with just eight minutes left.

AlmeríaThere is the feeling that Aranzubía’s freak effort costing Almería two points at home could see the heads dropping a tad on the south coast with the side now with just one win in four and second from bottom of the table.

“It’s going to be hard to lift the spirits of the team,” admitted Almería boss José Luis Oltra after the Deportivo draw. “It’s really tough to see someone score like that when you have done everything to win the game.”

EspanyolEspanyol’s loss to Osasuna was the club’s fourth straight defeat and sees the side hanging onto a European place by just three points. Should this form continue for much longer, the decision to sell defenders Víctor Ruíz and Didac may be very costly indeed.

HérculesA 1-0 defeat at Sevilla sees Hércules having won just the single away game in the league all season. Remarkably, it’s the 2-0 victory in the Camp Nou.

Felipe CaicedoA fine spell of three wins from three was ended by Real Madrid but striker Felipe Caicedo – currently on loan to Levante from Manchester City – says that it won’t stop what could be a successful survival campaign. “If we play with the same spirit as today then we’ll stay up,” said the Ecuadorian forward in a chat with LLL after a match where Caicedo wasn’t given a sniff of a chance on goal by his team-mates.

And on the subject of what will happen over the summer after a campaign in which Caicedo has already banged home nine goals, the Man City man revealed that “I have ambitions and the desire to go to a club which is fighting to win titles, but I am happy here at Levante, I feel very comfortable. Levante are happy with me and are keen to invoke my buy-out clause [of one million euro] so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.”