Relentless Valencia still hunting Real Sociedad in chase for Champions League spot

Good Day

BarcelonaThe champions are still on course for a 100 point campaign, after a fairly humdrum 2-1 win over Valladolid in the pouring rain at the Camp Nou. The club also got to lift the league trophy, an honour given to Tito Vilanova and Eric Abidal in the loveliest of touches.

Imanol AgirretxeA whopping win for Real Sociedad, who beat Sevilla 2-1 in the Sánchez Pizjuán to hold firm in fourth, equal on points with Valencia. The scorer of the decisive goal was Imanol Agirretxe, a forward who has popped up with six timely goals in the last six matches.

ValenciaThere’s a certain Terminator 2, T-1000, relentlessness about Valencia’s pursuit of Real Sociedad in the battle for fourth. Their straightforward 1-0 win over Getafe in the Coliseum was their third victory in a row. “We have to win all of our matches and we are doing it,” barked Valencia coach, Ernesto Valverde, before asking each of the journalists in the room if they were John Connor.

PitiIf Málaga’s appeal against next season’s ban from European competitions next season fails, then eighth place in La Liga will be enough to qualify for the Europa League. Rayo currently occupy the spot, although they have yet to get their UEFA license to participate due to outstanding debts to other clubs. Rayo moved up the table after an impressive 3-2 win at Levante and two more goals from the imperious Piti. “He’s a spectacular footballer who plays and creates,” purred Rayo boss Paco Jémez. “What’s more he’s got 17 goals, everything he does is dangerous and he’s scored more than Higuaín and Benzema.”

Granada A huge spurt, as it were, from Granada sees 11 points chalked up from the last five matches, after a run of eight matches without a victory. Granada are  Ã¢Â€Â˜virtually safe’ on 39 points, although manager Lucas Alcaraz warns that “it’s not over, when it seems like there’s not much left, it can still be a lot.”The question for Granada must be why they can’t play so well a little bit earlier in the season, and save themselves from all this kerfuffle come April and May.

Deportivo Depor achieved a whopper of a win over Espanyol, who now look like being in a straight fight with Zaragoza, one point and one place beneath, to avoid going down. The tough ask for Depor is that the club’s final two games are a trip to Málaga and a home clash against Real Sociedad.

ElcheA quick pat on the back for Elche, who confirmed their position in La Primera next season after 24 years away.

Bad Day

SevillaUnai Emery blamed Saturday’s season-killing home defeat to Real Sociedad on three things: La Real being very good, Sevilla being very bad, and the referee. “We have to be self critical to get better, but not look for the guilty,” mused Emery on Sevilla’s path for the future.

Luis García“It’s a club whose natural position is between eighth and twelfth and that’s where we are now.” Those were comments Getafe boss Luis García shared with the blog almost a year ago. Getafe’s home defeat to Valencia sees the club slap-bang in the middle of that range in tenth with two games to go. The challenge for García once again has been trying to get his footballers to make that extra step required to get into Europe. However, breaking the natural way of life for Getafe has been a difficult business.

Ander HerreraThe Athletic midfielder should have been a chirpy fella having fretted all season about the chances of his club slipping into La Segunda. Athletic’s late win over Zaragoza put the Basque side onto a very handy 44 points, unfortunately it left Sunday’s rivals in deep trouble. “It was the saddest victory of my life,” was the lament from Herrera after the win over his former club. “The situation at Zaragoza is painful for me as I am Zaragocista.

OsasunaLLL has a feeling the three points Osasuna need to make life a little more comfortable will arrive next week against the hopeless Sevilla. However, it’s going to be a horrible week of waiting, predicted José Luis Mendilibar after the 3-0 loss to Granada. “At the moment, I’m worried about lifting the spirits of the lads,” fretted the Osasuna boss.

Nelson OliveiraThe Portuguese forward scored Deportivo’s second in the 2-0 victory over Espanyol, but decided to get some payback on fans who have been critical of the footballer after a disappointing season. The on-loan Benfica man attempted the always controversial finger-on-lips-to-crowd gesture before being dragged away by teammates.

ZaragozaThat’s got to hurt. 1-0 up against Athletic Bilbao, and then two goals lost in the final ten minutes to see Zaragoza in the relegation zone with two matches left. “The tension and pressure weighed heavy on us this time,” noted manager, Manolo Jiménez.

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