With the big three all picking up routine wins in midweek, Tim Stannard turns his attention towards some of the other stories in the league ahead of another big weekend in Spain...
It was a case of as-you-were in the midweek round of La Liga, which was as drama-free as a sleeping tortoise as far as the big three were concerned. Barcelona made it 23 goals in their last five visits to Vallecas by thrashing a nine-man Rayo, as well as missing a penalty for old time’s sake. In doing so, the Catalan club broke a 27-year-old record by making it 35 matches undefeated in all competitions.
Cristiano Ronaldo had to force himself to celebrate goals with his supposedly lesser team-mates against Levante, with the Portuguese pouter selected up top with Lucas Vázquez and Borja Mayoral. Atlético Madrid, meanwhile, won a game without conceding any goals. Again.
The top three take on Eibar, Celta and Valencia respectively on Saturday and Sunday. They're all interesting matches in their own right, but what with all of the kerfuffle of the recent Madrid derby and the whole Gary Neville business, it’s time to get out the media pruners and tend to some other Spanish storylines ahead of the weekend’s action.
Can Aduriz continue reverse-ageing antics against Sporting?
The man of the moment in Spain is not the Mighty Messi or, er, Team Builder Ronaldo, but Athletic striker, Ariz Aduriz, who is now officially enjoying the greatest goalscoring year of his career at the tender age of 35
The man of the moment in Spain is not the Mighty Messi or, er... Team Builder Ronaldo, but Athletic striker Aritz Aduriz, who is now officially enjoying the greatest goalscoring year of his career at the tender age of 35. It's all very Benjamin Button. The Athletic striker racked up a hat-trick against Depor in typical Aduriz style to make it 30 strikes in all competitions for the campaign.
The form of the admirable old-timer has overshadowed another bright story from the Basque Country: the second goal in two games from the eternally injured forward Iker Muniain, who has now doubled his tally from last year. Which is all very timely given the absence of the crocked Inaki Williams.
It was a rather handy week in Bilbao which saw Athletic progress to the Europa League last 16 and win twice in the league. The cherry plonked on top was manager Ernesto Valverde signing a new deal until 2017, ending rumours that suggested he was being looked at as a potential replacement for Vicente del Bosque or even Zinedine Zidane.
Can Getafe make tiny Twitter following happy with victory tweet?
Since the club got with the whole millennium vibe and launched a Twitter site in September, the Madrid-based club have grabbed a mere 14,500 followers
Getafe have officially gone into crisis mode. It’s heads on the block time. Simply unsustainable.
Since the club got with the whole millennium vibe and launched a Twitter account in September, the Madrid-based club have grabbed a mere 14,500 followers. Spanish tabloid-taunter Belen Esteban has 1.2 million. John Cleese has 5.24 million. Hang your heads in shame, digital media department.
None of the footballers are up for employee of the month either, having contrived to lose seven matches in a row, the most recent being Tuesday’s 4-0 reverse at Las Palmas that saw the team’s own midfielder Mehdi Lacen brand Getafe as “completely s**t… we have the second division in our heads”. Their current tally of 26 points after 27 games is their worst during the club’s spell in the top flight, which began in 2004.
Defeats number eight and nine look on the cards: Getafe’s next games are against Sevilla at home and Barcelona at the Camp Nou. Then again, Unai Emery’s men might just be the perfect opponents, with Sevilla without an away win in La Liga since May, a run of 13 matches. Getafe’s lone Twitter handler may have something nice to type for once.
Descending Depor tries to stop malaise against Málaga
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From Super Depor, to Dull Depor, to Down And Out Depor, the side from La Coruna have now become Descending Depor without too many people noticing. Apart from Depor fans, probably. After a blistering first half of the season that saw the Galicians wobbling towards the top six, Depor have managed just a single victory in their last 14 encounters.
The past three games have all been defeats, the most recent coming in the form of a 4-1 tonking by Athletic Bilbao. “The result says it all," huffed Depor boss Víctor Sánchez, who called their upcoming clash with Málaga “our league”. Quite rightly, as Málaga – wedged on 32 points, the same as Depor – are also in the ‘won’t make Europe but won’t go down’ brigade. “It’s a final!” Depor midfielder Juanfran declared, going ever so slightly over the top.