La LigaÃ¢ÂÂs Good Day, Bad Day - Round 22
GOOD DAYMad Sammy EtoÃ¢ÂÂoÃ¢ÂÂWeÃ¢ÂÂre all quite fed up,Ã¢ÂÂ complained the crestfallen presenter on TelemadridÃ¢ÂÂs football round-up show on Sunday evening. Ã¢ÂÂBarcelona keep on winning.Ã¢ÂÂ If their remarkable streak achieves nothing more than annoy the heck out one of the most objectionable TV stations on the planet, then La Liga Loca is more than happy to see PepÃ¢ÂÂs Dream Boys continue on their winning ways until the end of time. SundayÃ¢ÂÂs 3-1 win over Sporting was very much by-the-book and owed a great deal to a brace from Samuel EtoÃ¢ÂÂo who has now racked up 21 goals in 21 games. But so consistently good is the Cameroonian striker that this remarkable goalscoring rate has gone fairly unnoticed.
Business as usual for Barca
Pep Guardiola was complaining during the week that the sideÃ¢ÂÂs rhythm had slacked off a little, but thatÃ¢ÂÂs no surprise considering the ferocity of their forward play and the constant Copa Del Rey action.
ItÃ¢ÂÂs probably a good idea for the side to use their 12-point lead over Madrid to put their feet up by giving the likes of Keita and Hleb a game or two and rest a bit for the Champions League, due to restart at the end of the month. Juande RamosThe Madrid press are still up in arms over the general tedium of watching Real these days - letÃ¢ÂÂs just say people are calling for Ã¢ÂÂPay Not to ViewÃ¢ÂÂ for their games - and Juande RamosÃ¢ÂÂ ultraconservative ways.
But hey-ho, itÃ¢ÂÂs now seven wins on the trot, no alarms and no surprises and whatÃ¢ÂÂs more, itÃ¢ÂÂs just one goal conceded in that period.Is it time for some mealy-mouthed columnists back in Blighty to start reassessing JuandeÃ¢ÂÂs reign over Spurs? Especially in light of Martin JolÃ¢ÂÂs fairly impressive work at Hamburg. Gonzalo HiguaÃÂnWhile most Brit-based pundits will be focussing on Arjen Robben over the next couple of weeks as the Liverpool game inches ever closer, it could well be an Argentinean striker - little known outside of Spain - who could be the big source of danger to the Scousers. HiguaÃÂn is never going to be a Villa-esque 25-goal-a-season mean machine, but he is in fine form at the moment and has produced a bunch of assists and goals (13) since the start of the season. The one stinky note is that he has yet to score outside of the Spanish capital with 12 of his goals coming at the Bernabeu, and the other one at the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n.HiguaÃÂnÃ¢ÂÂs form is so good, it can even withstand playing next to the less than rampaging RaÃÂºl and is keeping the gormlessly-gorky Huntelaar firmly on the bench. AtlÃÂ©tico MadridIf Javier Aguirre wasnÃ¢ÂÂt in some kind of state of grace on Sunday - or wandering and weeping around Ikea - heÃ¢ÂÂd have been hurling and burling at the television, watching AtletiÃ¢ÂÂs 3-0 win over Recreativo. After five defeats and two draws in 2009, the rojiblancos decided to both stitch up their former boss and suck up to the new one with a tidy win, thanks to Kun and ForlÃÂ¡n getting their act together again. Ã¢ÂÂHow long will this attitude last?Ã¢ÂÂ ponders IÃÂ±ako DÃÂaz-Guerra, just itching to answer his own question with Ã¢ÂÂabout a week.Ã¢ÂÂ
Back in business: Forlan and Aguero
Don't know him? He's Valladolid's left winger Ã¢ÂÂ in terms of football only, as far as the blog knows.
(Then again, politics and the Spanish sporting press donÃ¢ÂÂt always mix. When Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂs Miguel Torres started speaking about his hopes for Barack Obama and fears over the global financial situation in an interview with Marca over the weekend, the journalist quickly cut him off to ask him who his best friend in the dressing room was. Iker, in case you are curious.)Anyway, Sesma. The Canary Islander was by far the best player against AtlÃÂ©tico last weekend and popped up with an assist and won a penalty against Athletic in a 2-1 victory on Sunday. He even got Fran Yeste sent off in comedy fashion, by getting shoved to the ground when blocking a free kick. OsasunaBefore, they were just ugly and brutish. Now, theyÃ¢ÂÂre still ugly and brutish. But picking up points. And Hallelujah to that.Paco ChaparroOn a slow day, the Betis boss is an excitable little fella, but when he leads his side to a victory in the SÃÂ¡nchez PizjuÃÂ¡n for the first time since 1996, then potty Paco is likely to lose his marbles. And thatÃ¢ÂÂs exactly what he did with a fine fist-pumping performance to the home crowd during the 2-1 victory. Ã¢ÂÂI want to dedicate this win to all the Andalusians who have stoically born the bad results,Ã¢ÂÂ said the manic manager after the game. Salva BallestaOne of La Liga LocaÃ¢ÂÂs big dreams - aside from getting its internet working again - is to see a forward line of Walter Pandiani and Salva Ballesta. It would be enough to send shivers up the spine of even the toughest-talking central defenders. The MÃÂ¡laga forward began SundayÃ¢ÂÂs game against AlmerÃÂa on the bench and watched his team go 2-0 down. In the second half, he was thrown on to the pitch and popped up with two goals to help lead MÃÂ¡laga to an extraordinary comeback and a fine 3-2 win. BAD DAYSevillaOh dear. A third defeat in a row for Sevilla and a home loss against Betis thrown in for good measure. Ã¢ÂÂIt would not be a lie to say that it all went down hill after the hour,Ã¢ÂÂ admitted Manolo JimÃÂ©nez both on SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs match and La Liga LocaÃ¢ÂÂs general work ethic.
Sevilla sunk by city rivals (again)
Hells bells. WhatÃ¢ÂÂs wrong with this less than dynamic duo? SundayÃ¢ÂÂs 1-0 loss in the hellmouth of Osasuna was ValenciaÃ¢ÂÂs fifth away defeat in a row. And it raises some sneaky suspicions that the clubÃ¢ÂÂs less than healthy financial circumstances may have forced the squad onto part-time contracts to make ends meet. GetafeA home game. Against Espanyol. Must do better. Julien FaubertÃ¢ÂÂNi fu, ni faÃ¢ÂÂ wrote Marca on the West Ham manÃ¢ÂÂs debut. Quite.
Faubert: Ã¢ÂÂNi fu, ni faÃ¢ÂÂ
The two bottom dwellers both took the lead in games against Getafe and Deportivo. But they both lost them to draw their respective ties. Espanyol have not won a game since round nine and now face Sevilla, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Villarreal. They could have the finest new stadium in La Segunda at this rate. NumanciaIt was four defeats from four against the teams now being faced by Espanyol. NumanciaÃ¢ÂÂs real fight against relegation starts now.