Good Day, Bad Day: Angry Pep Ã¢ÂÂnot angryÃ¢ÂÂ and LevanteÃ¢ÂÂs heavyweight hero
Fernando TorresÃ¢ÂÂ comedy blunder against Manchester United may have edged the Valencia striker a rung nearer the Chelsea manÃ¢ÂÂs spot in the Spanish side after SoldadoÃ¢ÂÂs fifth goal in just three league games gave the Mestalla men a table-topping victory against Sporting. It was the second of two solitary strikes from successive 1-0 wins for Soldado that sees Valencia riding high like Sergio Ramos in an airplane bathroom.
The time really is getting close to nigh for Pep to leave his Dream Boys and start a solo career as there are certain, unfortunate Mourinho-like qualities creeping into his psyche. Before SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs Osasuna match, the BarÃÂ§a boss was bickering with a Marca journalist - a complete waste of anyoneÃ¢ÂÂs time - and after the 8-0 destruction which should have been a Pep happy time there was a touch of the tin-foil beanie hat about GuardiolaÃ¢ÂÂs Ã¢ÂÂletÃ¢ÂÂs be Ã¢ÂÂavin yaÃ¢ÂÂ reaction to the result with his claim that Ã¢ÂÂthereÃ¢ÂÂs a lot of people who donÃ¢ÂÂt want us to win.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂThey want to see me angry but theyÃ¢ÂÂve still not managed it,Ã¢ÂÂ declared Pep angrily. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm very happy with my players and the only thing I can do is defend them.Ã¢ÂÂ
The Levante centre-back may be carrying a little bit of extra timber, be a tad slow and go to ground rather easily when shoved by belligerent Germans, but Ballesteros led a wonderful defensive display from a Levante back four who had a combined age of 138, in front of a goalkeeper who was not having one of his best evenings. Levante are a dirty old bunch who do whatever they can to get a result, but when you are dealing with opponents possessing a TV income thatÃ¢ÂÂs 10 times bigger than yours, then one cuts oneÃ¢ÂÂs cloth accordingly.
A miserable two year spell of injury for the Ivorian striker is hopefully behind KonÃÂ© after his cracking winning strike against Madrid.
The finishing in the 1-0 away win at Mallorca wasnÃ¢ÂÂt quite up to the standard of MondayÃ¢ÂÂs victory over Granada but Manuel PellegriniÃ¢ÂÂs side did more than enough to earn three very handy points on their travels.
The winning strike in a narrow 1-0 win against Real Sociedad saw the Malian forward enjoying his 100th victory for Sevilla. SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs match was a fairly even affair - which says a lot about the progress la Real have made over the summer - but KanoutÃÂ©Ã¢ÂÂs touch of class made the difference.
It is a tribute to the all round nice guy nature of Villarreal that the scorer of GranadaÃ¢ÂÂs first league goal of the season, Ikechukwu Uche, is a Villarreal player loaned out to the Primera newcomers for the year. Villarreal will certainly be regretting the decision not to jam a non-playing clause into the NigerianÃ¢ÂÂs contract which would have prevented him from featuring on Saturday and scoring the only goal in a deserving 1-0 win for Granada. Juan Carlos Garrido now has to work out if someone has put non-playing clauses on every one of his own side instead.
The big lad up front for Rayo had a goal incorrectly disallowed for offside against Zaragoza last weekend, but the strikerÃ¢ÂÂs towering header to beat Getafe after just four minutes was a good Ã¢ÂÂun, as was the overall performance of the striker - industrious and committed, two words which sum up RayoÃ¢ÂÂs impressive start to the season which sees five points from the sideÃ¢ÂÂs opening three games.
Ã¢ÂÂBlisteringÃ¢ÂÂ and Ã¢ÂÂferociousÃ¢ÂÂ were the words that popped into a gasping LLLÃ¢ÂÂs tiny mind on Sunday night - as well as Ã¢ÂÂ11pmÃ¢ÂÂ, Ã¢ÂÂSundayÃ¢ÂÂ and too late for footballÃ¢ÂÂ as it watched the 3-2 win over Athletic Bilbao that sees Betis sharing the lead at the top of the table with Valencia.
Heck, if even the renowned cynical, old misery guts LLL is starting to believe that there could be something special going on at AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid then it really is time for the Rojiblanco massive to either start getting sticky with excitement or really worry.
Racing Santander were torn a new one on Sunday with Falcao grabbing a hat-trick to go with the goal against Celtic three days previously. However, it was all round loveliness from the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n club with Diego and Arda continuing to settle in very well indeed.
A bit of breathing space for coach, Javier Aguirre, with Luis GarcÃÂa popping up in injury time to give Zaragoza their first points of the season against his former club Espanyol.
It seems that JosÃÂ© Mourinho is caught between blaming his footballers for losing their heads and joining in a hacking match against Levante and the instinctive urge to have a pop at the referee. In truth the man-in-the-middle could have sent a whole load of players off including Juanlu and Angel di MarÃÂa for their respective lunges and especially RubÃÂ©n for a rather brutal hack on Cristiano Ronaldo. And then there was Pepe and so on and so on.
The point is that the lack of goals in two games against Levante in their ground last season wasnÃ¢ÂÂt a big enough warning for the Madrid players a season later with the Santiago Bernabeu club immediately losing the advantage the side had against Barcelona with SundayÃ¢ÂÂs surprising defeat.
Ã¢ÂÂPlayers need to be sufficiently intelligent to avoid situations like this,Ã¢ÂÂ noted Mourinho on Sami KhediraÃ¢ÂÂs rash decision to push over Sergio Ballesteros when the German already had a yellow card. Although Madrid already had enough quality on the pitch to overcome Levante even when down to ten men, KhediraÃ¢ÂÂs petulance certainly didnÃ¢ÂÂt help matters at all.
The Yellow Submarine are still punch drunk from their opening day thrashing by Barcelona which really has knocked the stuffing out of the east coast side, who are now second-from-bottom of the table with just a single point from nine. The midweek loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League certainly canÃ¢ÂÂt have helped either although Villarreal do have only themselves to blame for not even picking up a point against Granada with Giuseppe Rossi hitting a penalty against a post and Jonathan De Guzman slicing the rebound wide. VillarrealÃ¢ÂÂs home game against Mallorca on Tuesday is already looking like a whopper.
Ã¢ÂÂQuite hopelessÃ¢ÂÂ was the gist of the prevailing wind of LLLÃ¢ÂÂs feeling from the Coliseum after seeing GetafeÃ¢ÂÂs 1-0 defeat to visiting Rayo. That also was the sensation from manager, LuÃÂs GarcÃÂa, who despite coming into the press conference looking fairly chirpy was not a happy man. Ã¢ÂÂThe first half was a disaster on the ball,Ã¢ÂÂ admitted the former Levante boss, Ã¢ÂÂwe missed every pass.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂOh no!Ã¢ÂÂ bemoans LLL clutching its face dramatically in an homage to both Macaulay Culkin and Angel di MarÃÂa. A third defeat from three for poor Sporting leaves the sorry GijÃÂ³n side at the bottom of the table without a point and without much hope of getting one if the performance against Valencia was any indication. Sporting were their usual industrious selves but when it came to creating chances the team were as clueless as VÃÂctor ValdÃÂ©s when being asked anger management tips. Ã¢ÂÂWeÃ¢ÂÂre having trouble producing attacking football,Ã¢ÂÂ noted an under pressure Sporting boss, Manuel Preciado.
Ã¢ÂÂBiesla has turned lions into catsÃ¢ÂÂ was the lament from one Athletic Bilbao fan complaining about the failing tactical revolution in the Basque Country that saw Athletic torn apart at times by Betis in SundayÃ¢ÂÂs 3-2 defeat and still without a win in la Liga.