GOOD DAYBarcelonaWhen La Liga Loca suggested on Friday that BarÃÂ§a would drop points against a prickly Osasuna in Pamplona, there were some dubious doubters who scoffed and snickered at such a concept. In fact, the blog is now more than a little concerned that there may be a pitchfork-poking, Pep-protecting hit squad forming that will burn down the houses and enslave the daughters of any doubting dissenters.As it turns out, La Liga Loca was just five minutes away from being even smugger than normal. And it would have gotten away with its bold prediction had it not been for a pesky Leo Messi whacking home a lovely winning strike with the scores tied at 2-2. The victory ticked all the right boxes as a good night for Barcelona - hostile crowd (Osasuna never discriminate in the sense that the home fans pretty much hate everybody), freezing temperatures and a match where they were 2-1 behind.
Late Messi rocket breaks Pamplonan hearts
Unai Emery, Manuel Pellegrini
Both managers may see a point in the Valencia vs Villarreal clash as a bad day at the footballing office, but La Liga Loca is handing them a Scooby snack to thank the pair for their attacking efforts with a slot in this weekÃ¢ÂÂs Ã¢ÂÂgood dayÃ¢ÂÂ section. Saturday nightÃ¢ÂÂs derby was a cracker, with goals and stuff hitting the woodwork all in the space of a furious first five minutes. For a few brief but wonderful moments of bliss it was even possible to ignore La SextaÃ¢ÂÂs singing commentators and the constant plugs for the channelÃ¢ÂÂs upcoming programmes. Interest free credit must also go to both bosses for their declarations after the game that a draw was a fair result after 90 odd minutes of mayhem. Ã¢ÂÂI am proud and satisfied,Ã¢ÂÂ beamed Unai Emery despite watching his team throw away the lead on two occasions in the 3-3 thriller. RaÃÂºlEven the small action of placing Raul in the Ã¢ÂÂgood dayÃ¢ÂÂ section of todayÃ¢ÂÂs blog is causing La Liga Loca immense physical and mental pain. It currently has a leather strap between its teeth, as if it is about to have its leg amputated by an 18th century surgeon. On Sunday, the divisive Madrid captain scored his 212th league goal in his 500th league match - a cheeky old effort against a hapless Mallorca. And thatÃ¢ÂÂs a fairly impressive return despite the fact that he seems to be spending much of the current season chasing after the ball like a losing-the-plot labrador. RaÃÂºlÃ¢ÂÂs strike has made at least one man in Spain as pleased as punch - ASÃ¢ÂÂs TomÃÂ¡s Roncero. Ã¢ÂÂRaÃÂºl, captain and hero - you will never walk alone,Ã¢ÂÂ sighed the Madridista madman.
Raul pops home number 212 in 500... not bad
Having had a fairly quiet season by his sterling standards, KanoutÃÂ© has finally woken up with some wonderful footballing work. During the week, the striker popped up with a strike against Deportivo in the Copa del Rey to see Sevilla home. And it was a repeat performance on Saturday night - all be it without the goal. At 1-0 down at the Riazor, Sevilla coach Manolo JimÃÂ©nez abandoned his plan to rest the Malian marauder by throwing him into the action in the second half. And he got an instant return with KanoutÃÂ© setting up two goals with a couple of cracking crosses. Rodolfo BodipoFrom being a player that La Liga Loca recently poked fun at, the Deportivo striker is now on a bit of a hot streak by his fairly sorry standards.Having managed just two league goals in a couple of injury struck seasons, the four-time Spanish international now has three from four in the league. His first half strike against Sevilla wasnÃ¢ÂÂt enough to prevent the 3-1 defeat, but the result saw Deportivo return to seventh place, thus restoring some semblance of order to this crazy, mixed-up world.
King Kanoute: Freddie to the rescue for Sevilla at Depor
A point at home to AlmerÃÂa may not look like a great result for Espanyol - but it could have been a lot worse, with the Pericos in a great deal of peril at 2-0 down. Perhaps the highlight of the match was the sight of the Espanyol subs all huddled together under a pretty, flowery blanket. LetÃ¢ÂÂs hope Paul from Barcelona had one too.Ã¢ÂÂEspanyol are nowhere near as bad as the results suggest. Unlucky not to win again."Kameni got some abuse, mostly from brain dead morons (BarÃÂ§a don't have a monopoly of these people) but after a howler nearly gifted Uche a hat-trick it got louder. Not from me though. He's saved us enough in the past."Roman Martinez has to start. He's strong and has that rare ability to pass to his own players. Rare for us. "Pareja's injury time free kick was Beckham-esque."Readers of David Peace's wonderful book 'The Damned United' will recognise AlmerÃÂa. They are Leeds without the trophies."They took time-wasting to a new level and Uche was like Klinsmann in his prime. One dive with a double twist was very impressive. They played some nice football but their behaviour left a seriously bitter taste."Pretty poor match but Espanyol need to convert their superiority into goals otherwise Girona away next year is on the cards. Sign a new striker please."Stray Cat count = 0. It was very cold, mind.Ã¢ÂÂPaul, BarcelonaFernando LlorenteThe Athletic striker gave the rojiblanco defence a torrid, terrible time on Sunday afternoon - but that wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt have taken too much effort. BAD DAY
Javier AguirreOh dear. Snowballs thrown at Iraizoz in the Athletic end and more chants for Aguirre to go forth and multiply from the ever cranky CalderÃÂ³n crowd. Early year defeats to Valencia and Barcelona had already put a mountain of pressure on the bonce of the Mexican manager, but a 3-2 reverse at the CalderÃÂ³n against an impressive Athletic sees Aguirre up to his eyeballs in goo. Ã¢ÂÂThe fans are right to be angry,Ã¢ÂÂ admitted an unhappy Javier after the game. However, some of the supporterÃ¢ÂÂs ire must be wafted in the playerÃ¢ÂÂs direction too. Ujfalusi has forgotten how to defend, Heitinga was missing through either injury or suspension - or both - and Maniche did not help the Atleti cause after seeing red for a chest high tackle. AtlÃÂ©tico are like a Ã¢ÂÂpaper boat in the middle of a storm,Ã¢ÂÂ writes IÃÂ±aki DÃÂaz-Guerra in AS, Ã¢ÂÂno resources, no means of navigation and no apparent future.Ã¢ÂÂ Oh dear.GutiWhen Guti withdrew from the squad against Villarreal last Sunday just hours before the kick off, the mischievous Barcelona press suggested that his iÃ¢ÂÂmuscle injuryÃ¢ÂÂ was non-existent but that the midfielder was in a big old huff having been dropped in favour of Lassana Diarra. Guti was absent from the squad again on Sunday against Mallorca - perhaps following the tactic that a week of sick days looks more realistic than just the one. Another solid performance from the French new-boy suggests that Guti will be spending considerably more time sulking on the sidelines.
Guti: Unloved and unwanted since Lassana Diarra's arrival
The poor form continues for both teams who have both lost their last three matches. Ã¢ÂÂWe lacked character and personality,Ã¢ÂÂ was the complaint from, Valladolid coach, JosÃÂ© Luis Mendilibar after the 2-1 defeat to Sporting. But, Getafe manager, Victor MuÃÂ±oz certainly went up in the blogÃ¢ÂÂs manly estimations by being filmed trotting out of his Soria hotel over the weekend for a bit of a jog in a blizzard and about a foot of snow. Grr. BetisGetting one man sent off can be considered unlucky - and it was in the case of Emana - but two is just careless. Manager, Paco Chaparro has complained the referee was against his side on Sunday in the 2-1 defeat to MÃÂ¡laga, but the red card handed to Melli was fair cop after the defenderÃ¢ÂÂs horribly late lunge. MallorcaIn all kinds of trouble on and off the pitch with, former President and owner, Vicente Grande now being investigated for financial irregularities in his accounts. Against Madrid, the playersÃ¢ÂÂ heads did not so much drop after RobbenÃ¢ÂÂs early effort as fall off Guillotine-style, to be scooped up by the groundsmen at half-time.