WEEKEND RESULTS Saturday Oct 31: Athletic Bilbao 1-0 AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid, Deportivo Xerez 0-2 Sevilla, Osasuna 1-1 Barcelona, Real Madrid 2-0 Getafe. Sunday Nov 01: Deportivo La CoruÃÂ±a 1-1 Sporting GijÃÂ³n, Espanyol 1-1 Real Valladolid, MÃÂ¡laga 0-1 Valencia, Mallorca 1-0 Racing Santander, Real Zaragoza 2-1 AlmerÃÂa, Villarreal 5-0 Tenerife. Details here
With back-to-back victories, Villarreal have crawled out of their foxhole of doom and out of the relegation zone.
The wins may only have been against bottom-feeders MÃÂ¡laga and struggling Tenerife, but as the huge sigh of relief from manager Ernesto Valverde showed as goal number three of five went in, he wonÃ¢ÂÂt really care.
The 38-year-old Valencia goalkeeper. Y'know, the one Harry Redknapp referred to as Ã¢ÂÂthe Spanish ladÃ¢ÂÂ during his short time at Spurs last season.
He came in for Carlos MoyÃÂ¡ in round six of la Liga and has yet to concede a goal since replacing his now bench-bound, expensively purchased colleague.
The former Madrid manÃ¢ÂÂs fourth clean sheet in a row in the league came in a 1-0 win at MÃÂ¡laga and sees Valencia bounding after the top three like a panting puppy thanks to 10 points from the last 12.
Gonzalo HiguaÃÂn, Alvaro Negredo
Now, La Liga Loca isn't going to leap on the Ã¢ÂÂBenzema is badÃ¢ÂÂ bandwagon after just a handful of games - he clearly isnÃ¢ÂÂt.
But is he better than the two players listed here?
They both suffered from the FrenchmanÃ¢ÂÂs arrival at the Bernabeu, with Higuain sidelined and Negredo flogged.
But they scored three prize peaches of goals between them over the weekend to let Madrid and Sevilla close the gap on Barcelona at the top.
Not only did he mastermind a 2-0 win over dangerous opposition, under enormous personal pressure, and with just 10 players after the ludicrous sending off of RaÃÂºl Albiol.
But he also dropped GutiÃ¢ÂÂs booty for the game against Getafe and TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs clash against AC Milan.
ItÃ¢ÂÂs a shame that Madrid couldnÃ¢ÂÂt give the real reason for his exiling of his pea-brained player.
Instead, Pellegrini had to come out with some blurb at FridayÃ¢ÂÂs press conference about Guti being injured.
Which would have been fine had the man himself not said he was good to go, just 20 minutes before.
Sitting happily in fifth with a whopping 17 points already in their Balearic bag.
MallorcaÃ¢ÂÂs 1-0 win over Racing sees them having won five from five at the Ono Estadi with just one goal conceded.
Once again, itÃ¢ÂÂs a shame that just 12,600 bothered to turn up to see it.
A somewhat predictable ball lobbed into the box for Javi MartÃÂnez put an end to a tough old run for Athletic Bilbao with a 1-0 win against AtlÃÂ©tico, their first league victory in six.
Deportivo manager Miguel Angel Lotina may not have enjoyed Sunday night's 1-1 draw against Sporting, saying that he will never have any respect for referee PÃÂ©rez Burrull until he retires, but his counterpart Preciado did.
Ã¢ÂÂI loved the atmosphere,Ã¢ÂÂ beamed the Sporting boss praising the 8,000 fans who travelled to La CoruÃÂ±a.
WhoÃ¢ÂÂd have thought seeing Victor ValdÃÂ©s being hit in the face by the ball could be so amusing?
Gerard PiquÃÂ©Ã¢ÂÂs late, late own goal in the 1-1 draw against Osasuna was a fantastic sight to see, not just because of the intrinsic comedy value of the blunder but it keeps the title race nice and open with Real Madrid just one point behind.
There was nothing so entertaining last season, than seeing an increasingly agitated Catalan press whine like little girls as Real Madrid hung on to Barcelona's coat-tails with a string of 17 bruising, battling wins from 18 while the pretty - oh, so pretty - Catalan club flounced through their matches like the complete tarts that they are.
A repeat performance from the BarÃÂ§a press would be a treat indeed.
Some open questions from La Liga Loca to the Getafe manager, SpainÃ¢ÂÂs equivalent of Bryan Robson in that he only gets gigs due to his fame as a player.
- Why play Manu del Moral from the start? HeÃ¢ÂÂs a waste of space. Always has been, always will be.
- Do you think standing on the touchline for 90 minutes actually makes people think you have any idea of what you are doing?
- The double pivot of Boateng and Celestini was working well. Do you think that the removal of the Ghana midfielder and HiguaÃÂn scoring seconds later could be linked?
- You throw AdrÃÂan on as a sub and not Javier Casquero. Is one of them being your son anything to do with the reason why?
- How many times are we going to hear players say Ã¢ÂÂwe lack characterÃ¢ÂÂ this season?
- Do you beat Roberto Soldado round the head after every game for every sitter he misses? If not, why not?
The blog doesnÃ¢ÂÂt think it could have scripted the week ahead any better for AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid.
SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs defeat to Athletic Bilbao sees the Rojiblancos down in the relegation zone, facing a Tuesday night trauma against a Chelsea side whose Premier League pants are on fire, and then welcoming their dear neighbours Real Madrid next weekend.
And you will be able to follow both those encounters in a special Ã¢ÂÂLetÃ¢ÂÂs all laugh at AtletiÃ¢ÂÂ double Twitterfest live from the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n.
Ha! With Espanyol hanging on to a 1-0 win over Valladolid in a bright encounter, Paul from Barcelona knew that doom lay just around the corner.
Ã¢ÂÂLike watching a car crash or a BarÃÂ§a fan with a revolving door, you know it's not going to end well. So it was watching Espanyol's comedy for the last five minutes today.
"After dominating for most of the game and being one up thanks to Luis GarcÃÂa's smartly taken goal, all they had to do was keep the ball against a very limited Valladolid side.
"But no. That would be too easy. I know, let's give them the ball as much as possible and see if they can do what they havenÃ¢ÂÂt remotely threatened to do for nearly 90 minutes, one free kick against the bar aside.
"You know the rest.
1) A gift of two points to Valladolid who will finish lower half, just above relegation. 100 odd fans.2) Spain's famous referee - famous for being cr** - Mejuto GonzÃÂ¡lez, was as per normal. Where he got four minutes injury time from, I have noidea. One poor Valladolid player was booked for diving when he hadn't appealed for a penalty. He'd just fallen over. Nothing malicious.3) Never mind 40 goals, if Manucho scores four I'd be amazed.4) A positive point: As my mate Nick said, in the last few years we would have lost that match. We are definitely moving forward."
A side that has fitted a secret Stealth Cr*p device with people only now just realising that they are fourth from bottom of the table with just one win all season.
RacingÃ¢ÂÂs latest defeat came on Sunday afternoon at the hands of Mallorca.
Pulled up with a hamstring injury after just 25 minutes in SundayÃ¢ÂÂs 2-1 win over AlmerÃÂa.
The Zaragoza winger is not having the best of times in the first few months of his Iberian adventure.
Hopefully things will get a little bit better soon.
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