La Review: Barcelona pass title-winning test as Real Madrid romp
A rather ambitious LLL had a very different weekend in mind. It saw in the tea leaves that Barcelona would blow their good work from the Clásico with a draw against Celta, Real Madrid would sneak up to a point behind the Catalan club and Valencia would power on to keep the top two on their toes.
Pesky results ruined all that. However, there are plenty of opportunities for some midweek thrills and spills in a bonus edition of La Liga...
Real in Sunday afternoon stroll
LLL is normally a lily-livered hang wringer when it comes to Leviathans like Barcelona and Real Madrid giving thrashings to wee, no-budget outfits just doing their best to get along on bread crusts and broth.
But Sunday lunchtime’s absolute battering of Granada was enormous fun, with Carlo Ancelotti deliberately telling his players to show no mercy and keep going until the final whistle.
With Cristiano Ronaldo sensing something historical was about to happen with his five-goal haul, Madrid’s Italian coach telling his players to ease off a little would have probably disappeared into the wind anyway.
LLL isn't entirely sure what the result means in the whole grand scheme of the universe, aside from a little bit of tension being relieved from the Madrid ranks with a giant spurt of goals.
But at least Ronaldo has another pleasing picture for his bathroom wall, with the front cover of Monday’s AS plastering his name five times across the page.
Real Madrid 9-1 Granada
Barcelona in ‘as big as Clásico’ win against Celta
That Frenchman had to go and ruin everything. It's not the first time these words have been used in the history of the world (they're used 50% of the time with Luc Besson films).
LLL was feeling very pleased with itself predicting that Barcelona would drop points against Celta Vigo after the international break. Very pleased indeed.
But then Jérémy Mathieu popped up with a late Atlético Madrid-style set-piece winner to blow the prediction with stupid things called facts. The statistics will list the cold, hard result of Celta Vigo 0-1 Barcelona, but the reality is that this win was as important as the Clásico for the league leaders, after Barca predictably struggled to get into gear but picked up three points by any means necessary.
An honourable mention from the game must go to Sergi Busquets, who was apparently mortally wounded by a lump of grass hurled at him with remarkable accuracy by Celta’s Fabian Orellana. Turf war!
Celta Vigo 0-1 Barcelona
Back to the old routine for Atlético Madrid
2-0. No dramas. No goals for Fernando Torres. No strikes conceded and back in third spot after it was temporarily occupied by Valencia for the international break. It was also back to the old routine for poor old Córdoba as well, with the bottom dwellers now on a run of 10 straight defeats.
It’s a sequence that had the Andalusian side's boss, José Antonio Romero, using the F-word to describe Wednesday’s visit to Deportivo. “It’s a final.”
Cordoba 0-2 Atletico Madrid
Valencia stumble across stepping stone
First off, apologies to Valencia fans, as the limp goalless draw to Villarreal is largely LLL’s fault for getting a little over excited about the team’s recent form and what would be possible for the remainder of the campaign. Rather than challenging for second spot, the team now faces a challenge for fourth from Sevilla down below. LLL will stay away from anymore pom-pom-waving premature cheerleading.
Valencia 0-0 Villarreal
Another body blow for Eibar
Another knack to the nether regions for Eibar, a team that's picked up just two points from the last 33 available. Friday saw a home defeat to Rayo Vallecano, a very winnable game in theory, but at least there's another clash in Ipurúa around the corner with the visit of Málaga. Except that this may not be good news after all, seeing as Eibar have lost their last five games at home with just the three victories there all season.
Eibar 1-2 Rayo Vallecano
Sevilla sneaking up on Champions League spots
And so another team joins the Champions League party. Valencia’s slip-up at home to Villarreal has invited rivals Sevilla back into the shake-up, with Unai Emery’s magnificent men now just two points from fourth.
The southern side had the traditional taste of their Flamenco-spiced mettle with the visit of Athletic Bilbao, but came away with a solid 2-0 success to have Unai thinking about his next conquest. “My dream is to play in the Champions League with Sevilla,” announced the squatting legend with a statement of intent.
Sevilla 2-0 Athletic Club
History repeats for Almería
Another defeat, and a second sacking of the season. Juan Ignacio Martínez has lost his job for the second time in a year having picked up just 15 points from the last 42 on offer.
Losing 4-1 at home to Levante was a straw that broke Almería's back, and when you see those words written down it was easy to see why the team’s bosses pulled the trigger. Taking over for the fun of a first match against Barcelona is the former Camp Nou player and Recreativo manager, Sergi Barjuan.
Almeria 1-4 Levante