La Liga’s Good Day, Bad Day - Round 31


Ever BanegaFor an hour or so, it looked like being the 13th consecutive season that poor old Atleti would fail to win on their special ‘Day of the Fans’. It looked like going the same way of the ‘Day of the Children’ the fortnight before, an event that saw thousands of new Real Madrid supporters being formed after a 4-2 home defeat to Osasuna. But then the on-loan-from-Valencia, 20 million euro man Ever Banega came quickly off the bench, had a frenzied five minutes, rose to the occasion and exploded into action with a strike on the hour mark to give the rojiblancos a 1-0 lead.

The Ever reliable Banega 

Opponents Numancia had a perfectly good equalising goal disallowed before Atlético wrapped up the tie with two more efforts and a famous victory. “The Calderón had begun to think the worst, another fiesta and another fiasco,” commented AS, but it was alright on the night and a win to keep Atleti on track for another crushingly disappointing end of season run-in. BarcelonaAs one panicking, perspiring Barcelona fan noted on the blog over the weekend, it was a nervy second half against Getafe on Saturday night. But it really shouldn’t have been. Having restricted the home side at the Coliseum to about two chances on goal during the entire encounter, Barça had penalties, goals, declarations of independence all turned down by the referee who, let’s not forget, has been instructed to hand the Catalan club the league title, according to Marca. La Liga Loca had felt a draw in its waters in this tie, not because of the inferiority of Barcelona, but because of the notion that sod’s law would eventually catch up with Pep’s Dream Boys and some footballing punk like Getafe would get lucky one day. Out of all Barcelona’s wins this season, the 1-0 drubbing of Getafe may well have given Pep Guardiola the most pleasure. The downside is that a day-long strike by the workers of TV station, Telemadrid, meant that La Liga Loca was deprived of seeing what the most outrageously anti-Barcelona presenters of their Sunday night football show would have to say about the refereeing decisions. El Pais were on hand to point out the good side to the blackout noting that the blank screen was “the best programming the channel has produced in years” and that viewers were spared “the systematic insults to our intelligence” that Telemadrid normally trots out. Real MadridAs ever, La Liga Loca has nothing original to say on Real Madrid’s result this week. Nothing different to what even the most barmy of Bernabeu fans are feeling. Yes, 15 wins from 16 is incredible and yes, equalling the record of seven away victories on the trot is also a fantastic feat. But hells bells, does it have to be so dull to watch?“The definition of minimalism,” complains Juanma Trueba in AS. “They’ve found a way of winning games and it doesn’t deviate a minute from the script,” notes Marca’s Santiago Segurola. However, it is the paper’s editorial from Sunday that the blog has to agree with - something that makes it feel very uncomfortable indeed - and its opinion that “it’s a shame they’re not playing well... because they’re making history.”

Business as usual for Real

Alvaro NegredoWhile Madrid are set to blow a good 60 million or so on either Kaka or Cristiano Ronaldo this summer - players who are by no means guaranteed to reach the 25 goal mark in la Liga - the club already has access to player who can achieve that feat, but for considerably less money. In fact, for 4.5 million euro Real Madrid can invoke a buy-back clause on Almería’s Alvaro Negredo, a player who scored 13 league goals for what was a newly promoted club last year and is currently on 19 for the southern side.

Indeed, 15 of those goals came from open play - the same tally as David Villa - and six were headers. That’s six more than Higuaín, Raúl, Huntelaar and Robben have managed all season. However, such a deal would probably make far too much financial sense for those at Castle Greyskull to contemplate. Negredo grabbed two more strikes on Sunday in a 2-1 win over Osasuna that lifts Almería seven points clear of the drop-zone. Espanyol As Christmas is just around the corner, let’s be charitable and keep up the pretence that Espanyol will pick up the 13 points needed over the final seven games to stay up. Here’s Paul from Barcelona. "Well, not a bad day's work but the omens were not good."Three-year-old match-day mascot David Edwards didn't want to go on the pitch with the team, probably scared by the Jolly Green Giant until someone pointed out that he wasn't the smallest person out there. So, after towering over Munitis and Pereira the match was able to get underway."Racing, from here on known as 'The Flying Elbows' had their five minutes of dominance and then it was one-way traffic. Espanyol took charge of the game and should have gone in ahead at half-time. "Second half, Espanyol charged head-first into Racing and were met with yet more elbows. They went ahead after a Nene free-kick was headed in by Ivan Alonso."Espanyol could have scored more and only really looked like throwing it away in the last five minutes. More due to nerves than anything Racing tried. So, overall, a totally deserved three points against a 'not as poor as Depor but not far off it' Racing."Espanyol to stay up if they play like that again whereas Racing are doomed if they keep playing like that."Stray cats - 0. Inappropriately placed crash barriers - 37.”Paul, Barcelona. Pablo HernándezTo help silence the screams in La Liga Loca’s head at night and bring forth sleep, it likes to imagine Valencia’s line-up next season, once everything of any value has been flogged. The forward line currently consists of Zigic and Mata up front, with Vicente on the left and plucky Pablo Hernández on the right. Joaquín’s replacement is still a relative newbie to la Liga but returned to the club he began at after a season with Getafe. However, every time Pablo has played for the Mestalla men he has earned his corn - especially considering the corn has been fairly scarce of late. The right midfielder joined the fight against Sevilla in the second half and was on hand to finish a breakaway move in injury-time as cool as a cucumber. Pablo could be playing a key role in next season’s EasyValencia - the world’s first low-cost club.

Hernández wraps up victory for Valencia

BetisIf his arthritis wasn’t so severe, the 217-year-old Paco Chaparro would have been kicking himself furiously on Sunday night. Along with most of his squad. Betis have now picked up two wins from two in the matches since poor Paco was handed his papers. The second was down to two strikes from Emana, who has now grabbed four in two to ensure firstly that Betis are in the top flight next season and more importantly that he won’t be there with them. DeportivoDespite their best efforts, a lucky late strike from Pablo Alvarez gives Deportivo their first win in five. BAD DAYRaúlAS plonked the Real Madrid captain in their own Bad Day section for his performance against Recreativo and gave him a spanking with no marks. Marca awarded him two out of three.Racing SantanderAs Paul from Barcelona pointed out, Racing were less than impressive on Sunday - but that’s been the case for a while now with the club managing just two wins from 11. But seeing as they were against Numancia and Sporting, they don’t really count. Before the defeat to Espanyol, Racing were on 36 points but a tempting 9/1 to go down, due to them quietly going about their business of being bad. Those odds may be a little bit shorter today. SportingLa Liga Loca may have to change tack in its relegation predictions. A couple of weeks ago, it felt that Recre would be a dead-cert to go down. But the Huelvan side has shown some blood and guts in the recent matches against Sevilla, Barça and Real Madrid. Admittedly they lost them all.But it’s a lot more than Sporting are currently serving up considering their recent record currently reads LLLLWWLLLL. The latest of these ‘L’s was Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Betis in another flop of a performance and another failure to secure a draw.“We’re going to stay up, I’m convinced,” claimed Manolo Preciado after the game. La Liga Loca is not so sure. But it hopes it is wrong and that la Primera’s finest fans will be back again next season. Athletic BilbaoLa Liga Loca has a fine Athletic supporting friend that likes to routinely blame their constant defeats on unfair red cards, turned-down penalties and mind control machines controlled from Castle Greyskull.But he may be lost for words on Monday after what was down-to-earth blind luck against Deportivo in a 1-0 home defeat. Athletic really shouldn’t be four points off the drop-zone, but they are.

Any Copa del Rey victory in May could be very sour indeed if their current awful run continues. Giuseppe RossiA missed penalty for the Villarreal man means that he has not scored in la Liga since the middle of February - a crisis mirrored by his side who have not mustered a league strike for three rounds now. England-based colleagues suspected that Villarreal were flimsy up front in the Big League from what they saw in the ties against Arsenal. The blog argued otherwise, but perhaps it was wrong to do so?

Rossi: "Drat"

--------------------------------------------- More to read...La Liga Loca homeBlogs home Latest Spain newsNews homeInterviews homeForums home

La Liga Talentspotter