Freddie KanoutÃÂ©ItÃ¢ÂÂs time to juice up the Jacuzzi, dim the lights and put on sexaaaay music. Early Ã¢ÂÂStepsÃ¢ÂÂ always gets La Liga Loca going on a Monday morning.MondayÃ¢ÂÂs blog ramble simply has to open with another drooling love-fest over Freddie KanoutÃÂ©, who scored his first La Liga hat-trick on Saturday night in a 4-1 thumping over Valladolid.Once again, the Malian magician played the game in Matrix-style bullet time. Every time KanoutÃÂ© was on the ball, he seemed to have decades to chose his options or, as in the SÃÂ¡nchez PizjuÃÂ¡n, hammer home three goals.Like Maniche sitting on his picnic basket, the Sevilla striker is on a big old roll at the moment having scored 10 in seven league games. And that, stat fans, is one more than he managed in his three years at Lyon.
"I'll be there in a minute, crank up the bubbles"
Ã¢ÂÂAh, nutsÃ¢ÂÂ was La Liga LocaÃ¢ÂÂs reaction when it rushed back from being bored to death at the Bernabeu to find Barcelona 4-0 up at half-time.The omniscient blog knew that although the Catalan club would probably rack up a couple more efforts, the football fun was over for the evening. Instead, 30 minutes of poncing about, overplaying and generally letting MÃÂ¡laga off the hook would be the dominant themes for the rest of the game.Although La Liga Loca agrees with MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs assessment on Monday that Ã¢ÂÂthereÃ¢ÂÂs no team in the world that can play football like Barcelona,Ã¢ÂÂ it was handing out imaginary yellows to the likes of Henry and EtoÃ¢ÂÂo for some of their fancy pants play in their opponent's box when they should have been getting down to the business of winning 13-0.ValenciaAlthough Valencia were without JoaquÃÂn, David Silva and David Villa in the clash against Racing Santander, their opponents were missing their usual front two of Nikola Zigic and Pedro Munitis through contractual reasons and having been lost down the plughole.However, it was the visitors who grabbed their first win in seven games thanks to a second half Juan Mata strike. But it so very nearly went tits-up for 10-man Valencia when an injury time penalty was awarded to Racing, only for Oscar Serrano to miss horribly.The duff defender who gave away the spot kick, RÃÂ¡ul Albiol, then got into a final whistle scuffle with an angry David Albelda, before the pair were separated by fun-spoiling teammates. Ã¢ÂÂIf my wife gives the OK, then we would make Albeda the godfather of our daughter,Ã¢ÂÂ chirped the Valencia centre-back after the game, claiming that the clash between the pair was merely a handbags affair.Victor MuÃÂ±ozAlthough Bernd Schuster was at the Coliseum on Sunday to watch GetafeÃ¢ÂÂs 2-1 win over Recreativo, the moustachioed maestro wonÃ¢ÂÂt be returning to the stadium on a permanent basis, just yet.Getafe owed their oh-so-crucial victory to two strikes from Roberto Soldado after falling behind to Recre. And the constantly cantankerous crowd were not best pleased when the former Madrid striker was subbed, due to him carrying a niggle or two.Ã¢ÂÂEven my children gave me some stick for changing him,Ã¢ÂÂ chuckled MuÃÂ±oz after the game.Real MadridDue to a blinding sun and an improvised eye-shielding hat, La Liga Loca missed must of the first half action at the Bernabeu. And itÃ¢ÂÂs a good thing too as it was utter rubbish, aside from a thunderous right-footed strike from the distinctly leftie Marcelo - a player now looking quite happy in a midfield berth.The second half improved slightly with two more goals from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar - a player who is absolutely hopeless outside the box, but more than a little useful in it.
Marcelo makes hay while the sun shines
Osasuna waited 92 minutes for their traditional Ã¢ÂÂlob in a free-kick for Nekounam/Pandiani to head it homeÃ¢ÂÂ special, but it was well worth it as the 1-0 win against Espanyol keeps the Pamplonan club in touch with the rest of the relegation struggling pack.Ã¢ÂÂWe scored so late on that they simply had no chance of issuing a response,Ã¢ÂÂ noted manager JosÃÂ© Antonio Camacho.MallorcaThe Balearic side placed a very big bet on Sunday night in paying AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid 120,000 euro to allow midfielder JosÃÂ© Jurado - currently on loan from Sunday nightÃ¢ÂÂs opponents - to play in the crucial clash.Now if only Mallorca would pay Athletic Bilbao some of the transfer fee owed for Aritz Aduriz, the striker who grabbed their first goal in the Ono Estadi.NumanciaAnd a fair-play shrug to Numancia who bounced back from being battered 5-0 by Racing last week with a 2-1 win over Sporting.
AtlÃÂ©tico MadridAfter uncharacteristically competent performances against Barcelona, Real Madrid and Villarreal, the real AtlÃÂ©ti was back in business on Sunday night.Faced with less glamourous Mallorca-shaped opponents, AtlÃÂ©ticoÃ¢ÂÂs display in the Ono Estadi in the 2-0 defeat drew these descriptions from MondayÃ¢ÂÂs sporting press - pathetic, lacking intensity, calamitous, without effort, without quality.On the bright side, itÃ¢ÂÂs an improvement from previous insults hurled at the club this season.
Atletico: Back to their old average tricks
With 16 league goals to his name, the AlmerÃÂa striker - as in proper, signed up, not on loan AlmerÃÂa striker - may have been some use to his side in the Bernabeu on Sunday afternoon.But unfortunately, the cowardly, yellow-bellied and downright cheating Real Madrid stuck a clause in his contract with his current club preventing him from playing in the Bernabeu. (Cue chicken clucking and much arm flapping from La Liga Loca).MÃÂ¡lagaThe good news for MÃÂ¡laga is that their current 43 point tally means that they are almost certain of another season of top flight football.The bad news is that this is set to bring two more games against Barcelona, a side that stuck 10 past them this time round.RacingAlthough they may be sitting pretty in 10th, Racing are still only four points off relegation after the embarrassment of losing at home to Valencia.EspanyolOh dear. Espanyol coach, Pochettino, has used the words: Ã¢ÂÂfight,Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂmathematicallyÃ¢ÂÂ and Ã¢ÂÂimpossibleÃ¢ÂÂ - the traditional white flag of surrender.And there to witness the beginning of the end of days for the Pericos in Pamplona was a seat-breaking Paul from Barcelona.Ã¢ÂÂWell that's that. Second division football next season. The footballing gods are against us. There's unlucky, then very unlucky, then desperately unlucky and then Espanyol.Easily better than Osasuna but a very poor match, though both sets of supporters (500 away fans) put the so-called "Big Two" to shame. A great atmosphere.Basically, a moment of madness - well bad marking - led to a 92nd minute winner. The ball travelled miles before some bloke, unmarked, headed in at the far post.Five hour drive back to look forward to. No way are we going to win seven from 10, so let's start planning for next year. We need a miracle as all the other results went against us.Osasuna need to bolt their seats down better. I ripped mine out easily. Frustration you see. (Didn't throw it and replaced it). Will post the money for two bolts tomorrow.Ã¢ÂÂPaul, Barcelona
Nekounam breaks Espanyol hearts
Another admirable result from Sporting. True, the 2-1 defeat to Numancia was the clubÃ¢ÂÂs 17th of the season, but they still stood by their principles of refusing to draw games.BetisA draw away at Deportivo sees the Seville side just one point above the relegation zone. The tension in the Betico camp is clear to see with, manic manager, Paco Chaparro being sent from the dug out for Ã¢ÂÂwalking half a metre from the technical area" according to the man himself.GutiDropped from Juande RamosÃ¢ÂÂ squad to face AlmerÃÂa for Ã¢ÂÂtechnical reasonsÃ¢ÂÂ - code for being useless, sulking, whining, faking injuries and not bothering to train properly, said the Spanish press over the weekend.