La Liga Loca’s Good Day, Bad Day - Round 35

Good Day

Real Madrid

Madrid at their very worst are just as watchable as Barça at their best. A defensively suicidal performance saw the second-placed side make an absolute dog’s dinner of what should have been a straight forward contest against an Osasuna side that had left Walter Pandiani - the scorer of a third of the team’s 30 league goals before the game - at home

But over the past few seasons, the best seat in town has been the one which lets you see just how exactly Real Madrid are going to claw their way out of the latest hole they’ve managed to dig for themselves.

Having beaten Zaragoza, last weekend, with a full eight minutes to spare, Madrid thought they would make things a little more interesting on Sunday, by staging their comeback with two minutes left on the clock.

Expect a basketball style buzzer shot from the halfway line to go in against Mallorca on Wednesday night.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Perhaps his best performance for Madrid, this season, and not just for the two goals he grabbed.

For once, the Portuguese forward was composed, patient and looking to pass to his teammates - even Gonzalo Higuaín on the odd occasion - rather than going for glory from 45 yards.

Barcelona

Before the Villarreal clash, the Barcelona press was as nervy and spooked as a cat hearing the words ‘vet’ and ‘put down’.

Although they were at their boisterous best in claiming this was the real, real game of the century (and this time they meant it), there was a feeling that Barça’s heads were about to drop to let Real Madrid win the title - the side that the Catalan club have beaten twice, this season.

Strangely, the only paper that had confidence that the league leaders would shrug off the Milan mishap to be masters in El Madrigal was AS, with Saturday’s editorial warning optimistic Madridistas that “these may not be the best days of Barça, but it is still Barça.”

And after the 4-1 victory, it was chief AS Alfredo Relaño who was on hand to praise Barcelona for proving that they had “great inner strength, as well as great football.”

The Catalan crazy papers threw their hats into the air and are went out kissing random ladies like it was VE Day in response to the win. “In one word, they were back to being the true Barça,” gushed Josep María Casanovas, using seven more than promised.

The final, final, hurdle will be an away match against Sevilla on Saturday. But the hurdle may not actually be that high, with Villarreal issuing a handy reminder that the rest of la Liga isn’t actually any good when all is said and done.

Bojan Krkic

It’s not just Mad Sammy Eto’o that Pep doesn’t have that all important ‘feeling’ with, it’s Bojan Krkic, too.

The youngster has never been held in high regard by Pep Guardiola, but all that might be about to change with the wee young nipper returning some zest to the forward line having been chosen ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic who, let’s face it, has the mobility of the Eiffel Tower.

This sudden spurt in form coincides with a story in Marca - so therefore completely true - that Bojan is set to be part of a cash and Hleb deal with Valencia for David Villa. That move doesn’t look so clever now.

Pep Guardiola

On Friday, the Barça boss could have been tense and tetchy. But he was back to being fun and funky as he attempted to understand the English stylings of a Catalan inquisitor who was mangling a language that Pep knows fairly well.

Atlético Madrid

A victory for the Rojiblancos against Sevilla would have done nothing more than move Atlético into ninth. However, the 3-1 defeat described by Marca as ‘suicidal’ thanks to the two penalties given away, keeps Sevilla in the hunt for fourth and the Champions League space that they could take, leaving Atlético with a Europa League spot no matter what happens in the Copa del Rey final.

Mallorca

An away win at Athletic still keeps the team of year, players of the year and manager of the year in fourth and near certain for a European tour of some sort, next season - but that all depends on the club staying out of administration in the meantime.

Javier Clemente, Míchel

The point in the goalless draw between their teams, Valladolid and Getafe, may have done little for their respective survival or European chances, but it meant that both got to save face in an encounter that was loaded with a hefty back story.

It is no exaggeration to say that both men loath each other due to Míchel’s days of writing disparaging editorials in Marca about his footballing brethren - something the former Madrid player got up to quite a lot.

Eight years ago, the Getafe boss wrote a fairly pointed piece about Clemente claiming that the then Tenerife coach was a bit hopeless and that all he really cared about was playing golf. “His words are just like his deeds, empty,” tutted Míchel back in 2002.

Clemente certainly hasn’t forgotten this slur and said before Saturday’s clash - the first where the two have met as managers - that their relationship was “non-existent”.

“I write articles now, but I don’t insult anyone” claimed Clemente. “If he offers me his hand, I won’t accept it.”

And the Valladolid manager was true to his word with the two bosses ignoring each other before and after, whilst ordering their teams to offer up 90 minutes of utter tedium in between.

Tenerife

A victory against Racing sees Tenerife hanging off the walkway of doom Indiana Jones style - but about to have their footballing fingers crushed by Barcelona on Tuesday.

Mario Bermejo

Last weekend against Barcelona, the Xerez players responded to their defeat by going a little bit nuts and getting themselves sent off - two in actual fact.

Facing a 1-1 draw at home against Almería and into injury time, Xerez held their nerve with Mario Bermejo heading home a cross that should have been ruled out as offside, to be fair.

That goal, Bermejo’s twelfth of the season, has probably sealed a move to another Primera side next year and it keeps Xerez in the survival hunt for one more round of action, but needing a midweek away win at Valencia to make it another.

Nikola Zigic

Two goals against Espanyol gives the Spanish press another chance to note just how blooming tall the Serbian striker is.

Bad Day

Marca

A newspaper that’s getting more wretched and pathetic by the day. Despite Cristiano Ronaldo himself blaming the near disaster at the Bernabeu on the footballers, “it was all our fault...we were bad all over the pitch, in attack, in midfield and in defence,” Marca still savage the Real Madrid manager at every opportunity in Monday’s edition.

“The defeatist coach” sneers the front page over the Chilean’s claim that his side will “force Barcelona to win the league with 99 points”. The paper then criticised Pellegrini for being too downbeat in the press conference, not praising Ronaldo enough and for being too tough on his defence.

The name-dropping dunderhead, Roberto Gómez, also gets in on the act claiming that “Madrid kept going thanks to the public and because of the faith of the footballers, not Pellegrini,” despite the fact that the Bernabeu faithful were deathly silent apart from taking time out to boo Esteban Granero and the footballers were responsible for the enormous c*ck-up that took place out on the pitch.

LLL has heard grumblings that even the Real Madrid hierarchy feel Marca have lost the plot this season and have made life very difficult for them indeed, should they wish to continue with Pellegrini - a coach who has been treated disgracefully in a bitter campaign championed by Marca’s spiteful director, Eduardo Inda.

Nilmar & Masoud Shojaei

A fine example of striking incompetence from this Primera pair who could have dished out defeats for both Barcelona and Real Madrid almost single-handedly.

But out of the two performances, it was the Osasuna man who won the season’s biggest “what the ****!” moment, so far, with his stunning miss against Madrid.

Juanma Lillo

The Almería manager was not a happy camper at all, after the 2-1 defeat to Xerez that saw a red-carded Ortiz go quite bananas at the final whistle over the controversial nature of the home side’s winner.

“I’ve got a mobile full of messages from people who work on TV saying that Bermejo’s goal was offside” complained Lillo.

Valladolid

The aforementioned goalless draw with Getafe may have another match without a defeat under Javier Clemente, but it was one where the Pucela side really, really, really needed the three points.

Valladolid are now lying second-from-bottom, two from safety, and probably needing at least seven from the final nine available to stay up. The problem there is that the side’s final games are against Atlético (A), Racing (H), Barcelona (A).

Deportivo

It’s hard to know whether the home defeat to Zaragoza is merely a ‘day’ rather than ‘bad day’ for Deportivo, now that Miguel Angel Lotina’s men are nose-diving down the table and without a win in ten.

Espanyol

It looks like Espanyol have called time on their campaign - and it’s Paul from Barcelona who was there for last orders at a 2-0 home defeat against Valencia.

“Roget's Thesaurus didn't contain a word that explained what a steaming pile this game was but Roger's Profanisaurus came pretty close.

Pretty dull all round and the clash between King of the online merchant bankers Banega, Pillud and that bloke on here who doesn't give loans (uh oh - LLL), didn't happen as Pillud was on the bench and Loan has never been anywhere near a footy stadium.

1) About 300 Valencia fans. Not a lot of noise but their response to the Jarque tribute was excellent. Well done to them.2) Espanyol had basically the reserve defence playing and looked comfortable until the first goal, which was the first conceded at home since Jan 24 so can't complain.3) David Villa is well worth the 20 quid a week salary he's asking from Man Utd and Chelsea on this performance. José Callejon isn't. Another sitter missed.4) Zigic is a freak. There I said it. I'd long since given up caring by the time he scored his second.5) Valencia third and Mallorca fourth is cause for concern.

Espanyol's league position is at times generous.”

Paul, Barcelona

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