Villarreal let Spanish side down as Barcelona win heaven sent thriller

Much like this blogger doing his household chores, the Spanish football collective attempted a perfect clean sweep this weekend, but couldn’t quite finish the job. 

The Champions League chumps of the la Liga quartet were Villarreal, who lost 3-1 to Bayern Munich. But considering the fact that the visitors had nothing to play for in a Champions League campaign that’s gone all Arizmendi on them, avoiding a heavy hammering and scoring a goal in Germany can perhaps be considered a bit of a Brucey bonus.

“The league and cup are a priority for us now,” admitted Villarreal boss, Juan Carlos Garrido, in what must be Spanish pop music to the ears of Manchester City fans hoping that the east coast club can do them a favour and nick some points off Napoli on matchday six.

Tuesday’s other match, Real Madrid’s 6-2 win over Dinamo Zagreb, was an utterly pointless waste of time, with the Croatian visitors doing their best to run away from the oncoming Madrid forwards, failing to put in a tackle and helping their hosts to a four goal lead in just 18 minutes. “They were smashed immediately,” said José Mourinho after the game with perhaps not quite as much smug self-satisfaction as you’d imagine.

Nevertheless, the Madrid press were never going to doubt the importance of a match so ridiculous that José Callejón was on a hat-trick and Esteban Granero played 45 minutes. This saw Marca pull out all the insanity stops on Thursday by publishing a front cover demonstrating in graphic detail that the brace-scoring Karim Benzema had transformed from a simple cat to “Puss in Boots”.

Meanwhile, mad Tomás Roncero in AS was ready to declare the 2011/12 Madrid vintage as being “the best squad in history” and this would surely be the year of ‘The Tenth’.

What LLL feared might be a rather drab, overly-tactical affair in the San Siro between AC Milan and Barcelona on Wednesday evening ended up being a game sent down from football heaven in a carriage pulled by Penelope Cruz and her better-looking sister. The scintillating clash swung one way then the other, and even contained a controversial Barça penalty that had some members of the Madrid press hammering away ‘no penalty!’ on Twitter just a fast as their Catalan cousins had done on Saturday after Gonzalo Higuaín’s chest/arm affair in Mestalla.

The 3-2 win leaves Barcelona as the winners of the group and a very happy Josep Maria Casanovas writing in Sport that the Champions League clash had “a great win, a great Xavi, a great Barça, a great game.” There was also a complaint that UEFA that did not allow Pep’s Dream Boys to walk out onto the pitch wearing t-shirts to support second-in-command, Tito Vilanova, who had just had surgery to remove a tumour from this throat. “UEFA showed they have no heart,” growled the Sport columnist, showing that he hasn’t really been keeping a close on European football’s governing body over the past 20 years or so.

The big bust up between Pep Guardiola and Zlatan Ibrahimovic never took place, with the Barça boss suggesting that “the enormous, Swedish, bottling coward didn’t dare to face me and thus avoided a mighty smiting.” However, the Milan striker did get to score a goal but said that his celebration was not a personal swipe at his former manager. “I scored a goal against Barça, not against Pep.”

Although Valencia were stuck away in a Champions League backwater somewhere, the Mestalla men managed to cause one or two rumblings with a 7-0 victory over Genk, which included a hat-trick from Roberto Soldado, who it’s fair to say is in fine form at the moment. That win and Chelsea’s defeat sees Valencia having to travel to Stamford Bridge needing either a win or a score draw in their final group stage fixture, for reasons that LLL really can’t be bothered explaining. And not because we're too thick to work out...

All in all, it’s an A- for Spanish teams this week, with two clubs already group winners, another with a 50/50 chance of passing through to the next stages and one who is being forced to stand in the corner, feeling very sorry for themselves indeed.