What's been going on in Spain? Tim Stannard has the answers...
LLL is still in an anti-Big Two funk, especially since Real Madrid made buffoons of themselves for an overblown, typically pompous official communication whining about Michel Platini opining that a German should win the Ballon d’Or. Heaven forbid someone who actually won the blooming thing three years in a row should express an opinion on the new holder. The blog suspects the club may not have been so trigger-happy had he expressed his love for Cristiano Ronaldo. But a small pat on the back for the club record 16 wins in a row.
- Real Sociedad 3-0 Elche
- Getafe 1-2 Athletic
- Espanyol 2-1 Levante
- Málaga 1-2 Real Madrid
- Celta de Vigo 0-1 Eibar
- Atlético Madrid 2-0 Deportivo
- Sevilla 5-1 Granada
- Córdoba 0-2 Villarreal
- Valencia 0-1 Barcelona
- Almería 0-1 Rayo Vallecano
- All La Liga news
Anyway, LLL digresses. Of course, the overwhelming news from the weekend were the very ugly scenes along the very beautiful banks of the Manzanares river by the Atlético Madrid stadium when two sets of Ultras pre-arranged a terrifying riot which resulted in the death of 41-year-old Francisco José Romero Taboada, a participant in what became running battles among the joggers and strollers.
The event will be studied by the various football organisations, who will investigate whether the unpleasant activities or Ultras fall into a club’s jurisdiction or a lack of police intelligence gathering.
But onto the football and some tit-bits picked from the weekend....
Stealthy Atlético Madrid hang on to leaders
Away from the ugly off-field scenes, the 2-0 win over Deportivo was a classic Rojiblanco performance. No real danger of losing the match and two set-piece related strikes to keep Atlético just four points from the team’s neighbours at the top of the table. Because this is now par for the course for Atlético Madrid, few people in Spain are taking too much notice of the team’s traction, which is just how Diego Simeone’s side like it.
Prophet Nuno close to coming good with prediction
Barcelona’s visit to Mestalla was entertaining enough without home coach Nuno going bananas on the touchline as Claudio Bravo thwarted a number of assaults on the Barça goal. After last weekend’s defeat in Levante the Portuguese coach had promised that his team wouldn't lose back-to-back matches; he was seconds from being correct when pesky Sergio Busquets popped up to take all three points.
“Yes, I was wrong, we lost two games in a row,” snapped Nuno to a brave hack afterwards. “We didn’t deserve to lose the game.” Although it will be of no consolation whatsoever to the Valencia boss, there were still plenty of positives from taking Barça to the edge of another defeat: the Mestalla men displayed a nice combination of sprightliness up front, a solid boot in midfield and bit of Ayala-style nastiness in defence.
Sevilla’s just-in-time service in the Sánchez Pizjuán
Granada are not exactly the bee's knees these days, and thus the perfect opponent for a struggling Sevilla suffering a bit of homespun pressure. LLL feared a Sánchez Pizjuán stodge-fest with the visitors parking a cruise ship in front of goal, but Granada stretched an awful run of form into a ninth winless game, collapsing completely at 2-1 down to lose 5-1.
The win was timely for Unai Emery but also for alleged slacker Carlos Bacca, who scored two. The other winner was José Antonio Reyes – under fire for being José Antonio Reyes – who had a sparkling half-hour cameo, set to be followed by four months of endless lacklustre disappointment.
Córdoba continue to suffer Primera growing pains
Seriously? Booing the club president because the side has yet to win in La Primera? What about giving a little support to club punching well above its weight, especially against teams like Sunday's visitors Villarreal. OK, 13 winless matches isn't exactly a great record, but there's little to be gained by pummelling the players. At least Miroslav Djukic was trying to look on the positive side by claiming after the 2-0 loss that “No BS, and I’m not mad, but I thought the team did well.”
David Moyes pleases crowd with Scottish stereotypes
A comprehensive 3-0 victory for La Real over Elche should have seen David Moyes as pleased as punch. But of course, playing up to the image of Scots people as curmudgeonly and moody, the former Manchester United boss had to grumble that he wasn’t entirely happy with the performance and that there should be a few more people packed into La Anoeta. Indeed, the only good word Moyes seem to have was for Carlos Vela, and with good reason after the striker bagged a hat-trick to continue what has been a bit of a revival for the Mexican striker.
Celta Vigo continue their funk
Ever since beating Barcelona in the Camp Nou, Celta Vigo have truly sucked – picking up just the single point in three league games. That’s a bit of a shame as the Galicians had been wondrous to behold; now the northerners are losing at home to Eibar. All due respect to the plucky Basque outfit, but Celta really should be coming out on top in these kind of encounters. The order from LLL is for the Vigo outfit to snap out of it by the time a trip to the Bernabéu comes around next weekend.
Athletic Bilbao continue battering-ram run
Another match and another win for Athletic, pulling themselves out of the mud of the relegation zone to the fringes of the European places with three wins.
Espanyol show genius of La Liga Loca
What did the blog say on Friday? Didn’t read? Oh. Fair enough - LLL wouldn’t read itself either. Anyway, it was rumbling along the notion that the Pericos always get a result just when they are about to reach bladder-bursting, having-to-go-in-a-plastic-bottle-on-the-bus desperate. And so Espanyol did it again on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Levante, even managing to come from behind for the first time in over a year.