Monday’s Good Day, Bad Day - Round 17

GOOD DAYDeportivoIt’s been a troubling start to 2009 for La Liga Loca. The blog returned from foreign parts to find an odd smell of an unknown source in the kitchen and the deeply troubling concept that it might have to take Deportivo seriously now. Heck, it may even have to watch one of their games. An away win against Getafe on Sunday night sees Lotina’s lot move away from their seventh place comfort zone and into the badlands of the UEFA Cup places. And that’s a fairly remarkable performance for a club that boasts Riki and Bodipo as strikers. With 30 points on the board and “the return of SuperDepor” according to Marca, the blog has its fingers crossed for three more victories and then a slow and steady decline as the players focus on the more important task of buying sports cars. Thierry HenryFrom being a player that the Catalan press were prone to cocking the biggest of snooks at, the sulky striker is now back in the Barcelona good books with his ninth league goal of the season against Mallorca. “You don’t win the league against Villarreal, Sevilla, Valencia or Madrid, but also against Getafe, Racing, Numancia and Mallorca,” confirmed Henry, forgetting that Barcelona lost against Numancia and drew against Getafe and Racing.  Titi’s tally is now just three behind last year’s La Liga total and that stat has got the likes of Sport very sweaty indeed. But not as gurgly and gushing as their report over Maradona’s visit to Saturday’s game and the training centre.

Thierry celebrates popping in number nine for the season

“Maradona is the new ally of Laportism,” purred Joan Battle in Sport. “God has blessed us,” sighed Mundo Deportivo’s blasphemous Josep Artells in an interesting description of a journalist-shooting drug cheat.

At this point, La Liga Loca would like to throw a stern word in the diabolical direction of, AS editor, Alfredo Relaño who, like an overenthusiastic archaeologist, embarked on a very unnecessary dig. His target of ire was Leo Messi who arrived late for training after the Christmas break. Considering everyone who attempted travelling to Spain this weekend was delayed thanks to the good folk at Madrid’s Barajas airport - a number including La Liga Loca who became very familiar with a 40 metre stretch of Stockholm airport - the complaint from the AS man was a tad harsh. Lassana DiarraWhilst Marca and AS believe that the combination of both Casillas and Robben will win the Champions League for Real Madrid - good luck with that plan, Juande - La Liga Loca thought Lassana Diarra was worthy of a pat on the back. It was a tremendously confident debut against Villarreal considering the stage, the quality of opponents and the fact that he has been playing for most of the year at Fratton Park - a ground where La Liga Loca once got rained on and sunburnt during the same game. It was Diarra’s commitment to the tackle and decent distribution that should keep Guti light years from the starting line up - until the Champions League of course - if the Bernabeu boss has any sense.David SilvaIt’s Valencia’s turn to lead the ragbag taggle of clubs left mewling and puking in Barcelona’s wondrous wake. And much of it was thanks to one of the softest penalties the blog has seen for... well, about two weeks, considering this is Spain... and the return of David Silva. Coming on as a sub a fortnight ago at the Bernabeu, Silva managed to make Raúl look productive - which takes some doing - but after some turkey and a decent stuffing over the holiday period, Silva returned with a dazzling double.

David Silva: Back with a bang

Málaga

Should the investigating nose of The Man discover that Málaga worked their way into the top flight through, ahem, alternative means, then the club busting its footballing balls to ensure that their stay in the top flight will be a memorable one. Out of the three promoted clubs, Malaga continue to make the best fist of their spell in the Primera and have now seen just one defeat from seven. Their latest win was a cheeky 1-0 effort over fellow promoted club Sporting. Asier Riesgo Recreativo may still be as doomed as box of Quality Street in the Maniche household, but their goalkeeper Asier Riesgo gave the supporters a bit of holiday cheer by saving not one but two penalties against Numancia in a 3-1 win. Once the keeper masters stopping crosses, volleys, chips, shots, back-passes and lame grass-cutters then Recreativo may have a fighting chance this season.Nikola ZigicThe return of Zigic to Racing also sees a regrettable rerun of the “blimey, isn’t he tall!” stories to the Spanish press, despite the fact that he has been plying his trade in La Liga for a few years now. Perhaps the least ambitious player on the planet started his loan spell back at Racing with a goal and - shock, of shocks - it wasn’t a header either. Hugo SánchezThe Mexican manager caused quite a stir with his arrival at Almería - a stir consisting of a couple of hundred holidaying fans turning out to greet him - but he has already racked up his first win. BAD DAYSevilla La Liga Loca only caught the second half of this match, but it was sorely tempted to sit watching static instead. But a phobia brought on by The Poltergeist many years ago prevented that particular option. Instead, the blog sat through Sevilla grabbing a 1-0 lead, sitting on it and being punished for their slackness by a jammy injury-time equaliser from Osasuna. The only joyful moment from the 45 minutes was the “where’s my Minority Report sick-stick?” glare from, Sevilla coach, Manolo Jimenéz when Pandiani’s strike went in. Sevilla continue to be awful to watch these days, with AS grumbling that “Pandiani punished Sevilla for their poor, fearful football.” And it was a finger-wagging line taken by Marca with their man’s possibly-sitting-next-to-his-mate-from-AS remark that “Pandiani punished Sevilla’s miniscule ambition.” VillarrealAnd ‘miniscule ambition’ is an apt description of Villarreal’s first half performance in the Bernabeu. The pre-game hype from the Yellow Submarine camp was all ‘we have to be brave’, ‘go to win’, ‘blah, blah, blah’. Although Villarreal bucked their sorry ideas up in the second half and were thwarted somewhat by Iker Casillas, it wasn’t enough to get their first ever win at the Bernabeu. As well as having blown their title chances through their torpedo tubes, Manuel Pellegrini’s men are now starting to slip out of Champions League contention with just one win in seven (against Recre) and three consecutive defeats. And La Liga Loca is more than a little miffed about this.

Robben torpedos Yellow Submarine to yet another defeat

Betis

Must buy striker. Must buy striker. Must buy striker. Must buy striker. Or kiss and make up with Edu sharpish. GetafeAfter a thrilling ride in La Liga a few weeks ago, Getafe are now going through an itchy spell having been turned over by Osasuna in the last match of 2008 and losing at home to Depor in the first of 2009. “Two defeats in a row against beatable rivals,” sighed Víctor Muñoz.Atlético MadridSaturday’s defeat to Valencia was Atleti’s first in 15 games, so it feels a little mean to put them into the Bad Day section. But, hey, it feels good too. Germán LuxAnother three goals went flying past the much maligned Mallorca goalie on Saturday night. But the Argentine keeper does get bonus points from the blog for perhaps being the only EMO-inspired player in La Liga. La Sexta“And it’s a goal from Andrés Iniesta,” yelled La Sexta’s commentator during the Barcelona vs Mallorca match. “A goal from The Mentalist!”“What an odd thing to say,” thought La Liga Loca until it heard the next sentence. “And The Mentalist is the new show on La Sexta! The number one show in America!” Classy stuff, as ever, from the channel.

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