Good Day, Bad Day: Stalking Tito, Old-School Atlético and Sensational Sevilla

RESULTS Sat 15 Sep Getafe 1-4 Barcelona, Malaga 3-1 Levante, Sevilla 1-0 Real Madrid, Valencia 2-1 Celta Vigo Sun 16 Sep Espanyol 3-3 Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid 4-3 Rayo Vallecano, Granada 1-1 Deportivo, Osasuna 1-1 Mallorca, Real Sociedad 2-0 Rayo Vallecano

Good Day

Tito VilanovaPoor Tito. Not only was the Barça boss forced to watch the Getafe match from the stands as he continued to serve out suspension for potty-mouth misdemeanors in the Osasuna clash, but Vilanova also had to endure LLL sitting behind and along a bit from the manager, furtively looking to see if he was playing Angry Birds to pass the time or muttering insults about Cesc Fabregas under his breath. Sadly for the exclusive-searching blog, Tito did neither, but instead sat fairly quietly and contentedly as Barcelona had a very uneventful win over Getafe that only really got going when Leo Messi came onto the pitch.

Javier SaviolaThe Argentinean now at his fourth Primera club had a fine weekend. It was Saviola’s first start for Málaga, which produced a goal and an assist to boot. “I’ve not felt such a warm reaction from the fans since I was at River Plate,” squeaked a chirpy Saviola after the game, recalling the moment when he was substituted. However, manager Manuel Pellegrini was less happy in relation to the steamy, sticky, positively English kick-off time on Saturday. “Neither in Sevilla nor here can football be played at four in the afternoon,” complained the Chilean whose team now sit happily in a very splendid second place. MallorcaWith Valladolid yet to play at time of writing, Mallorca are in third place after a 1-1 draw with Osasuna that would be best described as gritty, but not in the usual dull way with the Balearic side but in a gutsy, thuggish, ‘ave-it!’ manner. Mallorca boss, Joaquín Caparrós, complained that his team “lacked intensity” but the side remain unbeaten after a strong start to the season.

Sevilla“Hello? Hello? Hello there!?” Poor Sevilla. Like a tree falling in the woods, making a sound and all that, does anyone remember the opposition when Real Madrid lose a game? LLL does! Sevilla put in the kind of hard-working, sleeves-rolled up, professional performance against Real Madrid on Saturday that the side has consistently failed to do week-in, week-out for the past couple of seasons.

Atlético Madrid Huzzah! The old Atlético Madrid is still alive and kicking despite all that winning trophies nonsense the club has been up to of late. 4-0 up and positively coasting against Rayo Vallecano with eight minutes left on the clock, the Rojiblancos decided to make things exciting on a Sunday night by gifting Rayo three goals - the last of which being Diego Godín inspired defensive chaos of the highest order.

Real SociedadA 2-0 win against Zaragoza in a match that sort of just existed on LLL’s TV. That was pretty much the opinion of the report in AS as well, which suggested that time may have stood still for the duration of the spirit-sapping encounter.

ValenciaAt 2-1 up but with Celta Vigo pressing in the final moments, the sensation that Valencia were about to blow another lead in comedy fashion was immensely strong. However, the Mestalla men hung on to leave the supporters’ white handkerchieves unwaved and tucked in pockets at the final whistle. Saturday’s victory was achieved “without playing well,” opined Mauricio Pellegrino.

MíchelA proper goal for the Levante man. Get ball, run with ball about 50 yards, whack ball into the roof of the net. Job done.

Fernando LlorenteAfter a summer which was hardly the best for the Athletic man, first for his lack of action in the European Championships and then the transfer kerfuffle with Juventus, Llorente finally got back to playing and scored just seconds after coming off the bench in the 3-3 draw with Espanyol. “Although there will be a time in my career when I’m not here, I’ll always be Athletic,” I-will-survived Llorente after the match.

Bad Day

Real MadridThere’s going to plenty of time for the blog to hover like a vulture over the stumbling rabbit in the desert that is Real Madrid in the days to come, so we won’t dwell too much on the current crisis except to say that if all the stories are true about a Spanish/Portuguese split in the dressing room and players fed up with José Mourinho and looking to force the manager out, then Luka Modric is probably going to be feeling a little bit miffed about his move for starters. Oh yes, the title would probably be lost for Real Madrid already, saving everyone in Spain a lot of time and energy over the next eight months or so. However, should everything be a tad exaggerated as things tend to be sometimes in la Liga and Madrid spank Manchester City then before you know it, the local press in Capital City will be declaring “It’s time for the Tenth!” Champions League and claiming that winning la Liga is so passé and for losers anyway.

Cristiano RonaldoThere was much mockery for the Portuguese after it looked like the forward was going to burst into tears after the Sevilla defeat. However the LLL is going to support the Real Madrid man and suggest the criticism would have been even greater had Ronaldo looked like he didn’t seem to care that much about the loss.

Celta VigoThe defeat to Valencia was another game where the Galicians played reasonably well but didn’t have much to show for it after the match.

EspanyolIt was still a nice, shiny point won by the Pericos in the draw against Athletic - a considerable improvement from the zero the side had before the weekend - but it was a couple dropped considering that Espanyol held the lead three times in the game and were even 2-0 up against the Basque visitors. “We need to improve very quickly and a great deal,” was the opinion of Mauricio Pochettino on his team’s defence.

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