La Liga’s Good Day, Bad Day - Round 24

RESULTS Sat Feb 27 Barcelona 2-1 Málaga, Getafe 0-2 Real Zaragoza, Tenerife 1-5 Real Madrid Sun Feb 28 Atlético Madrid 4-1 Valencia, Deportivo Xerez 1-1 Espanyol, Racing Santander 0-2 Almería, Real Valladolid 1-2 Mallorca, Sevilla 0-0 Athletic Bilbao, Sporting Gijón 3-2 Osasuna, Villarreal 1-0 Deportivo La Coruña

Spanish fixtures, results & table here

Good Day

Atlético Madrid

If Mensa were to update their IQ tests on a regular basis, the following question would have been included in their most recent edition:

“Complete the sequence - Atlético 2-1 Barcelona; Almería 1-0 Atlético; Galatasaray 1-2 Atlético...”

The correct answer, of course, would have been Atlético 0-7 Valencia.

But, on Sunday night, the Rojiblancos decided to put on their pulling pants, doused themselves in Old Spice and gave their long-suffering supporters a night on the tiles.

However, supporters were as grumpy as ever during Sunday’s clash and with good reason, too, as referee, Pérez Burrull, missed a clear penalty for Atleti after a trip on José Antonio Reyes and was about to miss another after a handball by Carlos Marchena, before his fourth official pointed out the mistake.

Whether or not he is entitled to do that could well be the hottest of topics in Spain over the week.

Nevertheless, a sprightly Atleti clawed back the 1-0 deficit from the subsequent spot kick after David Silva had taken the lead for Valencia after some top-class comedy defending from the Calderón club.

And the home side continued to pound their 10-man opposition, who had César Sánchez to thank for keeping the scoreline down to a respectable four.

After the very deserved victory, Rojiblanco manager Quique Sánchez-Flores claimed that the 'one good game, four rubbish ones' tendencies of Atlético had been banished for good. This time, he may well be right.

Gonzalo Higuaín

The double against Tenerife was Higuaín’s fifth brace of the season and his 15th and 16th goals in la Liga.

Higuaín is the most effective forward in la Primera, according to AS, with a goal every 77 minutes.

Higuaín is Real Madrid’s top scorer in the league, this season, a position he occupied in the last campaign.

Higuaín is currently paid €1.5 million a year with a new deal reportedly offering the Argentinian a rise to €2.5 million.

Karim Benzema is on €8.5 million a year, note Sport.

“Nobody at Madrid can complain about their contracts,” said the club’s sporting director Jorge Valdano on Saturday night.

Especially if they are one of Florentino Pérez’ underperforming pets, it seems.

Dani Alves

The blog would not want to go as far as to claim that Barcelona depend on one player alone, but it certainly has a whiff of it with the sudden return to form of the Catalan club coinciding with reinsertion of Dani Alves (along with the failure of any Málaga players to mark him).

The Brazilian was magnificent as ever throughout Saturday’s 2-1 win, but it was in the assist for Barcelona’s winning strike where Alves really showed his true godlike genius.

At 1-1 with just seven minutes to go (and Real Madrid having won already), the full-back collected a wonderful pass from Xavi and took the time to look up and roll the ball along to Leo Messi rather than blast it at the Málaga goal - something that La Liga Loca would have done.

And that’s why Dani Alves is one of the best players in the world and the blog is merely writing about him, having failed to impress an Ipswich Town scout at the age of nine, something that La Liga Loca is NOT AT ALL BITTER ABOUT.

Roberto

Getafe’s Roberto Soldado requires an average of 31 shots for every one of his goals. Probably.

On Saturday, Zaragoza’s debuting on-loan-from-Atlético goalkeeper Roberto saved every one of them, along with a few free-kicks launched his way to keep a clean sheet while...

Chupete Suazo

...his team-mate Chupete Suazo whacked home two first-half strikes to make it four goals in the last five for the forward, despite the blog calling the Chilean forward a chunky-headed trundling loon on his arrival at Zaragoza over the transfer winter window.

Villarreal

Like La Liga Loca rubbing in sunscreen, Villarreal’s 1-0 win over Dull-Deportivo wasn’t pretty to watch but it was very, very necessary.

Xerez

Xerez coach Gorosito may have called the 1-1 draw against Espanyol “a bad match, really bad,” and claimed that it was the worst since he’d been at the club, but it proves the blog’s rather tenuous claim that Xerez are not as bad as their 12 lonely points may suggest.

Yes, ‘tis true that the bottom of the table team have only won two league games all year, scored 14 and conceded 44 (fewer than Tenerife and Zaragoza, mind).

But the plus side is that Xerez have only been given a proper thrashing twice, in their spell in la Primera with five-goal drubbings against Real Madrid and Getafe.

The blog maintains that with even a half-decent striker in their ranks, Xerez would have had a fighting chance of survival this season.

Mallorca

The Balearic side showed their incredible cojones by bouncing back from their first home defeat of the year in the league last weekend with just their second away win on Sunday against Valladolid.

It’s a result which sees them in fifth and just three points off Sevilla. Which is fairly astonishing, really.

Almería

The general belief on the blog and amongst its legions of followers may be that there is very little point to Almería, la Primera’s answer to Wigan.

However, Almería couldn’t care less with Juanma Lillo set to keep the club in la Primera with a run that sees the southern side unbeaten in five and having picked up three victories in that spell - the most recent of which was the Albert Crusat-inspired smash-and-grab win over Racing.

Sporting

A team that pretty much everyone loves in La Liga - not something that could be written about the previous entry - is Sporting, mainly due to the wonderful Manuel Preciado and their fun, fantastic fans.

So Spain can rejoice in back-to-back victories for the Asturian club after wins over Zaragoza and a coming-from-behind special against Osasuna.

Bad Day

Cristiano Ronaldo

In an attempt to correct many of the imbalances of the universe - sadly, the blog can’t do anything about the existence of Spanish TV channel Telecinco - La Liga Loca is going to regularly rip into Cristiano Ronaldo in an equal amount to the praise thrown in his direction by a loved-up Marca.

Against Tenerife, Ronaldo was petulant, pouting, selfish and egotistical. And this is why...

1) In one mazy run upfield, the Madrid forward chose to take on three defenders but failed and won a free-kick instead (which he subsequently took and missed) rather than pass to the completely free Higuaín.

2) After a harmless 50-50 challenge, Ronaldo dropped to the ground holding his arm and lay there a bit. Sergio Ramos was on the ball at the time, didn’t quite know what to do, so kicked it out at the same time as Ronaldo sulkily rose to his feet having been ignored by the ref. Tenerife attacked from the throw-in, which was not too far from the Real Madrid box.

3) When failing to control a pass properly, Ronaldo ran off the pitch, looked to the heavens, spat, sulked and spent five minutes wandering back to the halfway line while his outnumbered team-mates defended another Tenerife attack.

Heck, Ronaldo was so “plenty of I’s in TEAM” that even AS editor Alfredo Relaño has attacked him for failing to realise that “football is not tennis, it is a team game,” and is rather worried that Ronaldo will do anything to become Pichichi this season.

“Such an individual battle [with Higuaín] would not be good,” predicts Relaño.

Getafe’s “Billy Big B****cks”

“Our worst match of the season,” blasted Getafe coach Michel after the 2-0 home defeat to Zaragoza. And he knows exactly who to blame - those members of his squad who believe they're slightly better than they actually are.

“This normally happens when they begin to hear the songs of the sirens and get confused,” noted the square-jawed coach, who happily named the likes of Pedro León and Roberto Soldado on his list of shame as receiving and falling for the constant press praise.

Tenerife

Real Madrid were clearly superior to the Canary Islanders but were certainly helped in their opening goal in the 5-1 win, with the Tenerife back four shepherding Marcelo through for the assist to Higuaín’s opener.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Punished for every ‘foul’ for simply being taller than his opponent and had a goal disallowed for goodness knows what.

Sevilla

Never has the blog been more grateful for a stroll down to the Vicente Calderón. The trip to see Atlético spared La Loca Loca from another half of Sevilla’s clash with Athletic – an encounter that may have improved dramatically from the first 45 minutes, but with the encounter ending goalless, La Liga Loca somehow doubts it.

Valladolid

Things ain’t looking too bright for the purple-shirted players of Valladolid with their side third from bottom of the table and four points from safety.

Former boss José Luis Mendilibar saw his side repeatedly punished for playing the offside trap on the halfway line. His replacement, Onésimo, has yet to win since his arrival in Pucela for failing to close down games.

“If we score a goal, we’ll always try and score another,” claimed the coach after Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Mallorca in a match Valladolid were winning.

Espanyol

Wetter than a newt’s notebook on their travels this season, with just one away win all year. Only managed a point at Xerez.


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