Good Day, Bad Day: Villa returns, Málaga's boy wonder, no-sweat for Jose

RESULTS Sat 18 Aug Celta Vigo 0-1 Malaga, Sevilla 2-1 Getafe, Mallorca 2-1 Espanyol Sun 19 Aug Athletic Bilbao 3-5 Real Betis, Real Madrid 1-1 Valencia, Barcelona 5-1 Real Sociedad, Levante 1-1 Atletico Madrid.

Good Day

Leo MessiAs José Mourinho was preparing to explain away a draw and a poor performance from Cristiano Ronaldo at the Santiago Bernabeu, Barcelona and Messi were already tanning Real Sociedad’s hides in a performance that was, as the Spanish like to say, a real thump on the table. However, context and timing is everything in this case - supporters shouldn’t get too overexcited and smug yet, as this is a result that could have taken place just as easily in January as the first clash of the new campaign.

David VillaA fine night for the returning forward, who scored just ten minutes after coming onto the pitch as a second half substitute. Woot!

Gonzalo HiguaínThe league campaign opener for the Argentinean saw Higuaín equalling the real Ronaldo’s total of 104 official goals for Real Madrid. ‘Shame it took him six years’ was the typically sniffy response from Marca’s Miguel Serrano, never the biggest of fans of the Ramón Calderón-signed footballer.

José Mourinho’s deodorantWhen the Real Madrid manager arrived on the touch-line in a light blue shirt with temperatures topping 40 degrees, LLL was certain it was going to be icky, soggy pits ahoy. But once again, LLL was proved wrong in its predictions, with Mourinho as fresh as a daisy during Saturday’s draw.

Diego AlvesLLL has been a fan of the Valencia keeper from back in his Almería days, so very much enjoyed a masterful performance in which nearly everything Real Madrid chucked the Brazilian’s way was blocked. Even the home side’s goal took three attempts thanks to a double intervention from Alves. “Just doing my job,” whistled the goalkeeper after the game.

Fabrice OlingaThe Cameroon striker became the league’s youngest scorer at just 16 years and 98 days, beating the scrunch-faced Iker Muniain in the process, so a fine pat on the back for the wee nipper. But perhaps what should also be making the headlines is the fact that Málaga, who started the summer with talk of Gonzalo Higuaín up front, are currently reliant on goals from a youth academy player, whose residency permit they forgot to renew last week meaning the club was blooming lucky he was even able to play against Celta Vigo in Saturday’s win.

Sevilla“Good things and bad things,” were the musings of Míchel the Manager after Sevilla’s 2-1 win over Getafe. The good being a sprightly show from Ivan Rakitic, who recently admitted that he needed to pull his Croatian socks up, and a fine diving performance from José Antonio Reyes in winning a penalty for Sevilla’s second goal, that was converted by Alvaro Negredo.

Tomer HedvedThe Israeli striker scored a brace on his league debut for Mallorca - one goal on the Saturday night of the 11pm kick-off and one strike on the Sunday. Welcome to Spain. Not the most sensible of times, was the verdict of Joaquín Caparrós on the scheduling of Saturday game.

LevanteLLL must admit that this 11pm kick-off was recorded on the grounds that the blog has better things to do - such as sleep. It is running in the background at the moment and the game appears to be just drifting by. Which is not that surprising, really. Still, it’s an early point for Levante and a sign that the team could be as resilient as ever.

BetisThe Seville side really do play some lovely stuff when they are in the mood and the opposition defence stands off as much as Athletic’s did in Sunday’s completely mad 5-3 victory. Defending set-pieces is still an issue though, as Betis found when Mikel San José headed in two corners, but as Pepe Mel admitted, “last season we were the second smallest team in Europe.” They still are, apparently.

Bad Day

Cristiano RonaldoA sluggish, disinterested display against Valencia from the forward who admits that the season has come a little bit too early for him. “I’m not 100%, but I hope to get there soon,” said the Portuguese, who summed up the performance of the whole team who, as José Mourinho said, did enough to win the match with the chances created but weren’t that great over all.

Celta VigoIt’s never pleasant to lose at home on the opening day, especially to a newly promoted team, but Celta fans have enough reason to be fairly pleased by the performance of the players, if not Saturday’s result. “We matched a Champions League team,” noted Iago Aspas who was one of a few to miss chances in the 1-0 defeat. “I’m getting kicked less in la Primera than the Segunda,” was another sunbeam of hope for the forward.

Atlético MadridMore dropped points away from home, this time against Levante. “We wanted more, but we are starting with a point against a rival who are very organised, so it’s not all bad,” admitted Diego Simeone.

Athletic BilbaoWith the transfer speculation and fan animosity surrounding Fernando Llorente and Javi Martínez causing Marcelo Bielsa to drop the pair for Sunday’s Betis clash, LLL suspected that an away win or at least a draw was on the cards for the visitors. It was sort of right on both counts, but it certainly didn’t expect such an awful start for Athletic who conceded three first half goals before pulling things back and then conceding two more late on to lose 5-3. Worrying signs of a tough second season for El Loco in San Mamés.

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