Good Day, Bad Day - Round 20

GOOD DAYLeo MessiA mischievous Madrid press may have forced the outstanding Argentinean into an unnecessary bout of ‘I love the club, me’ badge-kissing - and there’ll be more on that little saga coming soon - but for now let’s give the little fella his umpteenth appearance in the ‘good day’ section. In a repeat of their performance against Sevilla, Numancia made themselves tough old cookies to break down, and should have gone 1-0 up, but an away team effort was cruelly cancelled out by the ref.

The furious, fist-waving gestures to his players to the non-goal from Pep Guardiola was evidence enough that the strike was a good’un. Whilst the Madridistas papers and TV stations spent Sunday complaining about that decision and a pass to an offside Dani Alves for Barça’s first goal - whilst happily forgetting last weekend’s helping hand in the Bernabeu - the referee’s assistance doesn’t amount to a hill of beans to Barcelona at the moment. As, Numancia president, Francisco Rubio said on Sunday: “they could have beaten us perfectly easily without these decisions.”

Another game, another goal for El Pulga

Sporting fans

About 2,000 plucky souls travelled a very long way, in appalling conditions, to Getafe’s Coliseum stadium just to watch their side get tonked 5-1. And bless their cotton socks as they are surely the best away fans that La Liga Loca has seen for some time - fans who kept on singing even when the match was over and their players were undoubtedly receiving a rollicking of some magnitude from their manager. Roberto SoldadoAlthough the score-line against Sporting showed an impressive-sounding 5-1 thrashing for the mighty Coliseum crusaders, Getafe weren’t especially good on Sunday afternoon. But some defensive howlers from the opposition, fine work by Uche and a handy hat-trick by Roberto Soldado, who started the game on the bench, gave Victor Muñoz a tiny bit of breathing space after four defeats in a row. José JuradoThe Mallorca midfielder has perhaps found his playing level. Discarded by Real Madrid and then by Atlético, who insisted on playing him as a wide left player, Jurado has found the Ono Estadi a considerably happier home - although the same cannot be said for most of his team-mates this season. Mallorca’s 3-1 win was thanks to two goals from Jurado and a penalty won by the midfielder in what was one of the surprise results of the round.

Jurado: Virtuoso display seals surprise win

Hugo Sánchez

Almería may have been a bit of a step down for Hugo after losing his job as the manager of Mexico, but Sánchez has sorted his new side out and moved them seven points clear of the drop zone. All he needs to do now is get Negredo scoring again, something he hasn’t done for about two months now. “Almería are a good side,” confirmed, his opposition number on Sunday, Joaquín Caparrós after the 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao. OsasunaIt may be far too late for Osasuna to achieve survival with just 14 points to their name so far, but Merciful Zeus they are making a fight of it. In their fearsome foursome run, the plucky Pamplonans snatched a point from Sevilla, came very close to beating Barcelona, were robbed blind in the Bernabeu and came away with a point at Villarreal.Osasuna now need to do the same against their relegation rivals, starting with an intriguing home tie with Mallorca next weekend.

Osasuna: Not going down without a darn good fight

Recreativo

The most remarkable turnaround from any team so far this season has surely come from Recreativo. The side’s first 13 matches of the current campaign saw just one win - in the very first game. The last seven encounters has brought about a fantastic five victories - the most recent of these being the 1-0 win over Betis, a team who really don’t like playing in Huelva. Racing Unbeaten in seven, Racing have slowly snuck up the table and may even try to repeat their UEFA Cup qualification of last year. Or get to 40 points and put their footballing feet up, which sounds like the more sensible solution. Real MadridThree points against a side you’d expect them to beat. Marca’s headline of ‘unbeatable boredom’ was the best way to sum up an awful, awful game. “Another win, the same script,” grumble AS. BAD DAYThe BernabeuThe Madridista crowd are going to feel the blog’s wrath today on two pugnacious points. The first concerns the now traditional deathly silence from the seed-swallowing support from the start of the game, followed by the whistles and boos that start up after 22 minutes if the side is not 10-0 up. A Deportivo player that La Liga Loca nattered to after Sunday’s game revealed that opposition teams now play on this weakness and do their level best to keep the crowd on the home side’s backs for the opening period of the game. The second gripe concerns the current treatment being handed out to both Marcelo, but more especially Royston Drenthe - two young footballers who are being booed even before they set foot on the turf.

"Shut up, shut up all of you"

“I’m very down,” admitted the Dutchman after the game. “It’s tough when you go out to play and they boo you before you even touch the ball.”

If Real Madrid fans are looking to shatter the confidence of the two footballers and drive them from the club, then they are going the right way about it. Pascal CyganEven before his air-swiping attempted clearance led to Osasuna’s equaliser on Saturday night, the Villarreal defender’s head was in his hands. The Frenchman was making just his second appearance in the league this season. The first was a 3-0 victory in el Madrigal. For Valladolid. "I'm hurt because my mistake has cost us three points," admitted poor Pascal.

"Oh not again..."

Valencia, Sevilla, Villarreal

Season-long inconsistency from this sorry trio means that even Atlético Madrid still have a chance of Champions League qualification this season. BetisThere is a current campaign amongst Betis fans for, club president, De Lopera to strip down, peel a few notes from his figure-hugging money belt and buy a striker. With Pavone out injured - not that it makes a huge difference - José Marie having been booted out of the club and Edu in some kind of alternate dimension, Betis are completely reliant on Sergio García for goals. And as the 1-0 defeat to Recreativo showed, that ain’t always going to be enough. Atlético MadridFour defeats and two draws is the rojiblanco tally for 2009. “Mediocre, soulless and with no football,” was the somewhat withering opinion of Marca after Sunday’s 1-1 draw away at Malaga.

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