Good Day, Bad Day: Brilliant Barça and Awful Arizmendi
Our man in Madrid rounds up the weekend's action in Spain with the latest installment of Good Day, Bad Day.
The Barcelona-barmy sports papers have more sensitive skin than that of the ludicrously pale La Liga Loca, so any slur and slurry thrown in the direction of the cash-strapped Camp Nou club tends to bring them to a bawling, lip-quiver before Sandro Rosell can say Ã¢ÂÂcancel that UNICEF contract and sign the Halliburton deal!Ã¢ÂÂ
In recent weeks, it has been taunts concerning the goalscoring drought of David Villa, and JosÃÂ© MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs suggestion on Friday that everyone get off Karim BenzemaÃ¢ÂÂs back - not because he is already carrying too much weight, of course - and focus on another top striker firing blanks.
However, a brilliant brace from Villa in a 5-0 win over Sevilla sees the BarÃÂ§a-barmy press wiping their eyes, blowing their noses and waving defiant fists in the direction of the Spanish capital.
Ã¢ÂÂBarcelona responded to the insinuations and provocations with good football,Ã¢ÂÂ huffed Joan Batlle in Sport.
Although their papers constantly suggest that PepÃ¢ÂÂs Dream Boys are softer than ManicheÃ¢ÂÂs man boobs, BarÃÂ§a have been brave little soldiers this season, having faced up to and beaten down AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid, Valencia, Athletic Bilbao and now Sevilla - considerably tougher opponents than anything Real Madrid have had to deal with.
Expectations are so low over the failing French striker than one assist and a key part in another goal sees Marca proudly boasting that Benzema is back - thanks to Mourinho of course - some four days after declaring on the paperÃ¢ÂÂs front page that the Real Madrid man was Ã¢ÂÂdeadÃ¢ÂÂ.
It is enough to suggest that SpainÃ¢ÂÂs biggest selling sports daily may have no real clue what itÃ¢ÂÂs talking about. Fancy that.
Very handy points away at Valencia and AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid respectively, despite Zaragoza being hampered by the ludicrous sending off of Ander Herrera, a footballer who could barely bring himself to look at a goose, never mind say boo to one. Meanwhile, a very decent looking AlmerÃÂa side were helped largely by a truly abysmal Rojiblanco performance in the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n.
Still to reach the lofty heights that LLL expected of them at the beginning of the season - fourth - but Athletic will still be fairly content with a 3-0 win over Getafe along with the fact that the sideÃ¢ÂÂs goals came from three players who did not have the name Ã¢ÂÂLlorenteÃ¢ÂÂ on the shirt and an uncanny resemblance to Big Bird.
Three goals against Espanyol on Sunday from three set pieces with two defenders as scorers. Even when the Galician side win the word Ã¢ÂÂgrindingÃ¢ÂÂ springs to mind.
Racing SantanderÃ¢ÂÂs Swedes
A monstrous meatball of a shot and two cracking corners from Kennedy along with a brace from Markus Rosenberg gave Racing Santander a 4-1 win over Osasuna to tweak the teamÃ¢ÂÂs nozzle a tad and ease the pressure on manager, Miguel Angel Portugal, to give him more of an Ikea how to move Racing away from the relegation zone.
Two goals and an assist in two wins for Real Sociedad continues to show why the freebie acquisition of the forward from Villarreal could be the shrewdest signing of the season.
Only in the Bad Day section because LLL couldnÃ¢ÂÂt possibly put the Real Madrid man anywhere else after sporting pink and polka-dot boots in the 3-1 win over HÃÂ©rcules.
And celebrating his first goal like a tool with the Ã¢ÂÂhands up to ears, canÃ¢ÂÂt-hear-youÃ¢ÂÂ gesture that is just soooo 2006.
And completely ignoring Karim Benzema in his initial celebrations for the second, the player who set his effort up on a plate.
No wonder the Real Madrid fans have yet to show him the love the same way that they have with Mesut Ozil and Angel di MarÃÂa. And no wonder that both AS and Marca are desperately trying to persuade them to do so, every single day of the week.
Sporting are a fairly feisty foe in their GijÃÂ³n home, so a point for Villarreal is not a terrible result. But it is when you are trying to keep up with Real Madrid and Barcelona at the top of the table.
Standby for more on the current malaise for the men for Mestalla in TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs LLL, but SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs 1-1 draw saw a soporific performance from a side that have driven into a ditch with just one point in their last two home games, and have very little idea of how to get out of it.
Ã¢ÂÂOur confidence is lowÃ¢ÂÂ admitted Unai Emery, after the Zaragoza match.
LLLÃ¢ÂÂs continuing insistence that MÃÂ¡laga are actually a very decent side continues to sound flimsier than a Diego Costa penalty claim. The southern sideÃ¢ÂÂs 2-1 defeat to Real Sociedad sees MÃÂ¡laga with five defeats from five in la Rosaleda this season.
Despite it being somewhat chilly at the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n on Sunday, LLL had its cockles warmed nicely by a throwback performance from AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid to the pre trophy-winning, good old days - shambolic, lazy-ar*ed and feckless.
Grateful for their point against AlmerÃÂa, AtlÃÂ©tico fans can now spend the week wondering if Luis PereaÃ¢ÂÂs suspension for the clash against Real Madrid on Sunday is a positive or negative for the sixth-placed side.
In a story for another day and perhaps for the grand children, LLL was the wrong side or tipsy, dressed in fur and clutching an axe for much of SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs Camp Nou clash, but it was still able to recall Sevilla having their Andalusian backsides to them by a truly brilliant Barcelona.
Due to vitally important blog business down at the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n on Sunday, LLL didnÃ¢ÂÂt get to see GetafeÃ¢ÂÂs inevitable 3-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao. But it is quite sure that Arizmendi was wholly useless in the 25 minutes he played.