La Liga Loca's Good Day, Bad Day - Round 18

Good Day

Mallorca

Wham, bam, thank you Mam!

Six second-half minutes was all it took for Mallorca to bang in a couple of goals against Deportivo and make it a ludicrously exceptional nine home wins from nine for the Balearic club.

The reason for Mallorca’s complete disinterest in last Sunday’s Bernabeu clash against Real Madrid has now become evident, with Gregorio Manzano revealing during the week that the visit of Deportivo was the really big focus for his team in a match that the manager said would be their toughest test so far this season.

And it was a big teacher’s pet A+ from Manzano’s men in a devastatingly efficient 2-0 win that the manager hailed as “their best game” of the season.

Their 33 points so far is Mallorca's best haul by this stage of the season since Hector Cuper’s 1998/99 side, which eventually finished third.

La Liga Loca doubts that this feat will be repeated this year, but the campaign for Mallorca has still been blooming impressive, nonetheless.

Leo Messi

In Marca’s Top Ten of the weekend, Leo Messi is still behind Sergio Canales (might play for Real Madrid) and Gorka Iraizoz (stopped Real Madrid from winning, therefore must be good).

But the Argentinian scored a lovely couple of goals that showed him doing his thing - incredible control in spaces tighter than Maniche’s pants.

Barcelona only really got going in the second half, with Pep Guardiola admitting that the news of Real Madrid’s defeat made his side a little nervous, but Sevilla were never, ever at the races in the 4-0 defeat.

The good side of Barcelona moving five points clear at the top of the table is that it will annoy the heck out of the Madridista press.

But the very, very bad side that has the blog desperately hoping for a Valladolid victory over Pep’s Dream Boys next weekend is the onset of a new wave of sickly drooling from the Catalan papers - drooling that has already begun with Sport writing that Barça are maintaining their “hegemony as the best team in the world.”

Bucket, please.

Gorka Iraizoz

The Athletic Bilbao keeper now sneaks into sixth place in the blog’s list of “Spanish goalkeepers that would probably be ahead of David James if they were English” – the other five being Iker Casillas, Pepe Reina, Diego López, Andrés Palop and Víctor Valdés.

A cracking performance from the Basque battler saw some amazing saves against Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, although not from Kaká as far as the blog can remember, with Gorka realising that standing completely still is these days the only necessary tactic against the Brazilian in front of goal.

Athletic were superbly physical all over the pitch and worked their separatist socks off in a victory that could easily have been a defeat had Gorka not been in such fine form.

Sergio Canales

It looks set to be another week of press mayhem for the Racing striker after he accidentally scored another cracking goal - this time a looped chip-thing against Valladolid.

Not enough to bring about a win for his side, mind.

Valencia’s ‘Little Men’

Marca’s words, not La Liga Loca’s, in praise of Ever Banega, David Villa and David Silva who all contributed efforts in Valencia’s 4-1 win over Villarreal on Sunday night.

Banega's effort was especially impressive with the Argentinian midfielder unleashing an unstoppable effort which saw a flash of white leaving poor Diego López in a very sticky situation indeed.

Atlético Madrid

Are we now seeing Atleti in its purest form?

A side that plays lovely attacking football using the talents of Kun Agüero and Diego Forlán to the full but remains brilliantly inept at the back?

The 3-2 win over Sporting and, to an extent, the cup victory over Recreativo would certainly suggest so.

The Rojiblancos were 1-0 up on Saturday before Sergio Asenjo clattered Diego Castro for no good reason other than the desire to liven the spectacle up a tad.

The subsequent penalty saw Sporting pull the game back to 1-1.

At 3-1 up, Atlético went for the same trick by allowing Sporting the simplest of strikes in the 91st minute to leave the home team with a very nervy end to the game indeed.

If this is the way forward then all hail the New Atlético Madrid, says La Liga Loca.

Osasuna

Although they may have been helped a tad by the referee cunningly sending off the wrong Espanyol player, the damage was already done for the opposition with Osasuna taking a 2-0 lead in the opening eight minutes to ensure a tedious and occasionally violent slog for the remaining 82 of the game.

Henok Goitom

The returning-from-injury Almería striker may have grabbed a point for his side with an equaliser against Tenerife, but the he's still unable to prevent the Spanish sports media from gawking at Goitom in amazement over the fact that he can be Swedish without being blond and blue-eyed.

“Henok Goitom is a footballer of contrasts. He’s Swedish (yes Swedish) although we could deduce something different from the dark colour of his skin,” marvelled a stunned AS last weekend.

This time around, it was the turn of Gol TV with the commentator chuckling that “you didn’t mishear me!” when he gave Goitum’s nationality.

Xerez

A point! Whilst down to 10 men, too!

Bad Day

Real Madrid

“Benzema, Ronaldo and Kaká have never lost a game they started together!” boasted Saturday’s Marca, adding shyly that the total of these stunning triumphs is three - including one against flippin’ Xerez.

The match for Madrid was supposed to be a thrashing for their Basque opponents, with seven out of eight of Florentino Pérez’ new arrivals starting the encounter.

Instead, it was a defeat – although not as “impotent” as the Madridista press are currently claiming.

This particular fixture was won 5-2 at a canter last season.

Saturday’s absentees included Pepe, Gonzalo Higuaín, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Rafael van der Vaart and had a Lassana Diarra struggling throughout the game with a muscle injury - all players signed under the Dark Master, Pedja Mijatovic.

And this has got the blog a-thinkin' that Real Madrid are currently suffering from “Pedja-dependency.”

However, it doesn’t expect an editorial from Marca on the topic any time soon.

Zaragoza’s strikers

Jermaine Pennant had a superb half-hour cameo for Zaragoza on Sunday evening against Xerez, whacking in three delightful, should-have-been-buried crosses for his forwards.

Unfortunately they fell for Arizmendi and most criminally of all, Jorge López, who blasted a late effort over the bar from two metres like a big tw*t - if you pardon the brusqueness of the blog’s criticism - leaving Zaragoza with a goalless draw against the bottom of the table side.

Villarreal

Although there was wonderfully suicidal defending on display from Villarreal for much of the game, the visitors to Mestalla were a little hard done by on Sunday night, when Kiko saw red for a ‘challenge’ on David Villa that saw a successfully converted penalty and a 2-0 lead for Valencia after 27 minutes.

From what the blog saw, the defender cut across Villa whilst in pursuit of the forward without touching the striker, only for Villa to tumble to the ground.

Even if there had been a brush of contact, it took place outside of the box. A bad decision all round.

But this doesn’t excuse what was yet another dreadfully poor performance from Villarreal, their third in a week.

Manolo Jiménez

La Liga Loca recommends a Spanish CSI team is sent to the Sevilla manager’s house forthwith, as it has no idea what could be hidden in Jiménez’ hash browns.

But it can’t be good.

The starting line-up that the Sevilla boss selected to face Barcelona was absolutely baffling.

Yes, the previous lot hadn't exactly been much good of late, and yes a change of players may have worked.

But Jesus Navas in central midfield with Valiente, Stankevicius and José Carlos? Koné up front on his own?

Negredo and Renato on the bench for the whole game? Really?

The Water Boy

The film that La Liga Loca was flicking over to during the Osasuna vs Espanyol clash and one that left the blog wondering how the heckety heck it ever got made.

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