RESULTS Sat Mar 13 Getafe 3-0 Mallorca, Sevilla 1-1 Deportivo, Sporting Gijon 0-0 Athletic Bilbao Sun Mar 14 Almeria 1-0 Malaga, Barcelona 3-0 Valencia, Racing Santander 0-0 Real Zaragoza, Real Valladolid 1-4 Real Madrid, Tenerife 4-1 Espanyol, Villarreal 2-0 XerezSpanish fixtures, results & table here
Now one of the things in this sporting life that gets La Liga Loca very, very, very angry indeed is people ringing into radio phones or hammering away on message boards that Manchester United / Chelsea / Real Madrid / Barcelona would not be as good without Wayne Rooney / Didier Drogba / Cristiano Ronaldo / Leo Messi.
No s**t Sherlock!
ThatÃ¢ÂÂs what normally happens when a side has the worldÃ¢ÂÂs best players in their line-up. Of course, a team is not as strong without them - hence, the Ã¢ÂÂworldÃ¢ÂÂs bestÃ¢ÂÂ definition - but that still doesnÃ¢ÂÂt make them bad.
So shame on the normally quite good Roberto Palomar in MondayÃ¢ÂÂs Marca for praising the Ã¢ÂÂMessi Law: when somethingÃ¢ÂÂs not working, Barcelona implement it.Ã¢ÂÂ
Quite. How stupid of Barcelona to depend (partly) on the worldÃ¢ÂÂs best player and his 22 league goals, this season - a player who scored a simply outstanding hat-trick against Valencia.
(LLL takes deep breath)
Barring an unfortunate beach volleyball mishap or some inter-WAG wandering, a third-choice goalkeeper is never going to be used in a World Cup campaign.
However, through the basic principle of all that is right and just in the world, SpainÃ¢ÂÂs spare leg should be ValdÃÂ©s, this summer.
The Barcelona goalie made another vital intervention for his side, this time from Nikola Zigic, with the score at 1-0 against Valencia and it was just as important as MessiÃ¢ÂÂs marvels at the other end of the pitch.
Ã¢ÂÂValdÃÂ©s saved our lives,Ã¢ÂÂ admitted little Leo.
The Real Madrid forward may be selfish, a scoundrel, a flat-track bully, a fluffy-bunny torturer and responsible for the disappointing Star Wars prequels - all accusations levelled against Pipita over the week by Marca - but the Argentinean is now MadridÃ¢ÂÂs top league scorer with 19 goals after his hat-trick against Valladolid.
Ã¢ÂÂHiguaÃÂn is the present and the future of Madrid,Ã¢ÂÂ writes TomÃÂ¡s Roncero in AS in a rare moment of sense.
Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂs sporting director has shot straight to the top of La Liga LocaÃ¢ÂÂs famous ladder of respect with his behaviour, this week.
Valdano was very quick to dispel any notions that Manuel Pellegrini would be fired after WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs Champions League flop and has also attacked the terrible treatment of HiguaÃÂn in the Madridista press in the wake of the exit.
Ã¢ÂÂHe has suffered a lot and we have done him an injustice,Ã¢ÂÂ said Valdano after the 4-1 win over Valladolid.
The blog has the sensation that the level-headed former player and manager is the only barrier in the way of a mass managerial cull by a frustrated Florentino PÃÂ©rez.
Not only did the 4-1 win over Valladolid keep the Bernabeu club at the top of the proper league table, but it also saw them maintain their five point lead over Barcelona in MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs alternative league. So itÃ¢ÂÂs hats in the air, all round, in the Spanish capital.
Despite a game that should have seen two penalties awarded to Valladolid for a foul and handball by Sergio Ramos, Marca could see nothing wrong with the performance of Mejut
GonzÃÂ¡lez, aside for being too lenient on the home side.
Ã¢ÂÂIt was a round of matches without any serious mistakes,Ã¢ÂÂ claimed a very happy Marca on Monday.
Ã¢ÂÂIt was bad refereeing from Mejuto who missed three penalties...two in favour of Valladolid,Ã¢ÂÂ claimed AS in contrast.
Hugo SÃÂ¡nchez canÃ¢ÂÂt be a happy man. Since being sacked over the winter break, the Mexican manager has been forced to watch his replacement work wonders at AlmerÃÂa with the same players, by stiffening the defence considerably and harnessing the extraordinary pace of Albert Crusat and Pablo Piatti.
AlmerÃÂa have lost just one of the 11 games Juanma Lillo has been in charge, with their most recent triumph being SundayÃ¢ÂÂs 1-0 victoy over MÃÂ¡laga.
For the opening stodgy 30 minutes of GetafeÃ¢ÂÂs 3-0 win against Mallorca in the Coliseum the only fun to be had was a discussion of why it was still frackinÃ¢ÂÂ freezing in Spain in the middle of March and whether Roberto Soldado was rubbish or not.
The always-right-even-when-itÃ¢ÂÂs-wrong La Liga Loca said yes (most of the time), whilst another colleague insisted insanely that the Getafe striker should be going to the World Cup ahead of Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Llorente.
Fortunately, one of the many Real Madrid rejects on the pitch, Dani Parejo, popped up with a goal just after the half hour mark to end the discussion and put some zing into what had been a mediocre match between two teams who were technically going for European places but had a very mid-table, comfy cushion mentality to their play.
It probably wonÃ¢ÂÂt be enough to keep them up, but SundayÃ¢ÂÂs 4-1 for Tenerife over the truly hopeless Espanyol was just the Canary IslandersÃ¢ÂÂ second win in 13.
The normally cold-hearted La Liga Loca felt more than a little sorry for Sevilla, a side that ended up weeping uncontrollably and smashing its bloodied fists against DeportivoÃ¢ÂÂs footballing door, like Maniche missing closing time of his local HÃÂ¤agen Dazs.
At one point in the second half, the statistics were 26 crosses to DeportivoÃ¢ÂÂs 6 - but like Van Helsing fighting a Catholic vampire, their crosses were of no use.
By the end of the game Sevilla dominated Deportivo by 12 corners to 1, 9 shots on target to 4 and had 65% of the possession.
But the visitor's instant reply from AdriÃÂ¡n to FazioÃ¢ÂÂs rather nifty back flick header was enough to see Sevilla dropping yet more points at the SÃÂ¡nchez PizjuÃÂ¡n, a ground where they have only won half of their matches.
Whilst they may not have Ã¢ÂÂremoved headsÃ¢ÂÂ as their captain, Marcos, was calling for during the week, Valladolid were certainly forceful in their approach to SundayÃ¢ÂÂs clash with Real Madrid.
The most wince-inducing tackle of all was Nivaldo standing on RonaldoÃ¢ÂÂs ankle with the Portuguese having good reason to squat on the floor and whine at the referee for once.
Still, Rafael Van der Vaart didnÃ¢ÂÂt seem to mind with the Dutchman pointing out after the game that Ã¢ÂÂitÃ¢ÂÂs football and itÃ¢ÂÂs a game for men.Ã¢ÂÂ
If the bottom three werenÃ¢ÂÂt such dead-on certainties for the drop, then Espanyol would be in a spot of hot water, this season.
Ã¢ÂÂWe were inferior,Ã¢ÂÂ admitted Pochettino after the 4-1 tonking by Tenerife. Ã¢ÂÂWe deserved this defeat.Ã¢ÂÂ
The Mestalla men may be a little closer than a truly embarrassing 18 points off second place, if they were able to complete their matches with 11 men on the pitch.
ValenciaÃ¢ÂÂs squad has seen red in their past four league encounters against Getafe, AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid, Racing and Barcelona. It isnÃ¢ÂÂt even a phenomenon that Ã¢ÂÂs just an issue in la Liga, either.
Two of ValenciaÃ¢ÂÂs last three Europa League encounters have seen players getting their marching orders, too.
Currently riding the greasy pole of doom with Sunday's goalless draw against Zaragoza as the club's fifth league game without a goal.
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