Good Day, Bad Day: Comeback kids, sorry Sevilla and AtléticoÃ¢ÂÂs new era
Gonzalo HiguaÃÂn, JosÃÂ© CallejÃÂ³n
Both Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo looked a little lost in the hurly burly of the second half of MadridÃ¢ÂÂs 2-1 win over Mallorca, when pretty much every forward player at JosÃÂ© MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs disposal was out on the field. Heck, even KakÃÂ¡ played, things were so desperate at 1-0 down.
However, HiguaÃÂn celebrated five years with the club with yet another crucial comeback goal, while CallejÃÂ³n continued in what has become a sparkling campaign for both the player and his flat top, with his third league goal of the season making him the most effective player in la Liga with a strike rate of one goal every 75 minutes in all competitions.
Rather like Angel di MarÃÂa, Alexis is never going to be a favourite for the blog due to the footballerÃ¢ÂÂs outrageously theatrical ways and unnervingly tiny face, but the bustling BarÃÂ§a player has qualities that LLL loves, in his strength, drive and finishing. Alexis popped up with an assist and a goal on Sunday against in Betis, in a game when PepÃ¢ÂÂs Dream Boys had a bit of a scare having gone 2-0 up in the first half to then blow the lead. Fancy that, BarÃÂ§a falling asleep in the middle of match.
Marcelo BielsaÃ¢ÂÂs side were hugely disappointing last week against Getafe, but showed signs of the old, proper Athletic on Sunday in a 3-0 win over Levante with all three goals being headers, the call sign of the Basque battlers who now move into fifth-place.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy
The goal from the Dutch striker against Sporting was just his second of the season in la Liga for MÃÂ¡laga.
A 3-0 win over Villarreal sounds fantastic - especially compared to recent results - but it isnÃ¢ÂÂt yet Ã¢ÂÂanother chapterÃ¢ÂÂ as claimed by AS, who are most enthusiastic in their response to Diego SimeoneÃ¢ÂÂs home debut on the Rojiblanco bench. ItÃ¢ÂÂs an attitude shared by Marca who boast of Ã¢ÂÂanother AtletiÃ¢ÂÂ.
While the former player was more active on the sidelines than Gregorio Manzano - responding to the chants of fans, hi-fiving his players, applauding Diego off the pitch - AtlÃÂ©tico werenÃ¢ÂÂt enormously better than in previous games in the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n this season. They were however a little luckier, and were also playing awful opposition.
The line-up was not that different, nor the tactics. FalcaooÃ¢ÂÂs first goal came from a move that was offside and the second from a penalty that was a foul committed outside the box. LLL is not saying there are not signs for temporary optimism for the Rojiblancos, but the Ã¢ÂÂnew AtlÃÂ©ticoÃ¢ÂÂ, Ã¢ÂÂEurope, here we comeÃ¢ÂÂ declarations within a couple of games of a new regime have been made to look silly before. Instead, the message from LLL is patience, young Padawan, patience.
Before the appearance of the new AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid manager before the press post Villarreal, LLL was joshing whether a pertinent question for the Argentinean would be, Ã¢ÂÂare you ready to apologise to David Beckham?Ã¢ÂÂ
DidnÃ¢ÂÂt feel quite so brave when Simeone walked out, though. Looked like the AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid boss could remove your head with a pair of tweezers without breaking into a sweat.
The Seville side are very much a confidence team that tends to win and lose in runs. At the moment, Betis tails are up after three straight wins and that form carried on into the Camp Nou with the visitors coming from 2-0 down to get back to 2-2 but eventually lose out 4-2.
Pepe Mel was still unhappy with the outcome though, when asked about the secret of facing down the Catalan club. Ã¢ÂÂI donÃ¢ÂÂt have the formula for beating BarÃÂ§a as they knocked four past us.Ã¢ÂÂ Despite the scoreline at the Camp Nou, Sevilla - the next opponents for Betis - should be feeling very concerned indeed about next weekendÃ¢ÂÂs derby.
LLL is enjoying watching the Rayo striker enormously this season. Tall, physical with good Michael Bolton hair, Michu popped up with his eighth league of the season to help Rayo to a 2-1 win over Granada. The forward wonÃ¢ÂÂt be in Vallecas for much longer.
It was with a gasp of surprise that LLL noticed that la Real were in 14th now, having gone six games unbeaten. SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs smash and grab by Antoine Griezmann was a jammy effort involving a hand-ball and deflection, but the Basque outfit did enough to deserve something from the game.
A remarkable run for the managerial trio at Racing continues an unbeaten streak ever since the sacking of HÃÂ©ctor CÃÂºper. RacingÃ¢ÂÂs latest triumph was a 2-0 win - assisted by two penalties - over Osasuna to lift the Cantabrians into 15th, two points clear of the drop zone.
A iffy offside decision, a 1-0 lead lost and a superb Mallorca performance that had no reward in the end was too much for CaparrÃÂ³s to bear with a sending off in the final seconds of the game, with the AndalusianÃ¢ÂÂs notorious temper getting too much for him and the man-in-the-middle.
MallorcaÃ¢ÂÂs fight and fire in the first forty-five minutes saw JosÃÂ© Mourinho praising the opposition with the claim that Ã¢ÂÂthe team responsible for what we couldnÃ¢ÂÂt do in the first half was Mallorca,Ã¢ÂÂ a useful reminder that when the big two do badly it isnÃ¢ÂÂt always down to their own deficiencies but impressive opposition.
A win so dramatic that at least one member of the Sporting side appeared to be in tears. A late Ruud van Nistelrooy equalising effort looked like producing a 1-1 draw in GijÃÂ³n, until a whopper of an effort from Oscar Trejo in injury time gave Sporting a hugely important win.
The Mestalla men are only just back from a long, relaxing winter break, but Unai Emery was blaming fatigue from a Copa del Rey double against Sevilla for a 1-0 home defeat to Real Sociedad, a second league match in 2012 without a win. However, SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs opposition had just been smashed 6-1 by Mallorca in the cup but didnÃ¢ÂÂt seem to be suffering any adverse consequences.
ValenciaÃ¢ÂÂs normal front two of Roberto Soldado and Jonas were absent from the starting line-up due to suspension and rotation, but their replacements of Ariz Aduriz and Dani Parejo in support simply didnÃ¢ÂÂt deliver.
A first defeat at home for Osasuna, this season, to Racing Santander of all teams.
Watching a whole host of Sevilla players blast the ball over and wide of the goal again and again, left LLL feeling a little sorry for manager, Marcelino. The forward line fielded against Espanyol was fairly attacking for the normally defence-minded coach with Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas, Manu del Moral and JosÃÂ© Antonio Reyes all in action.
But every one of those footballers were guilty of misses, especially in the first forty-five minutes, a run that contributed to a goalless draw in a less than impressed SÃÂ¡nchez PizjuÃÂ¡n. Ã¢ÂÂAfter the first half we played, itÃ¢ÂÂs not normal for it to end 0-0. But thatÃ¢ÂÂs football,Ã¢ÂÂ sighed Marcelino who is under increasing pressure after a run of four league matches without a win.
Fabri was furious on Saturday and as well the Granada manager might be after a 2-1 home defeat to Rayo. Fabri was angry at the ref - as all coaches are these days, except Pep Guardiola, and especially his players. Ã¢ÂÂMatches are begun to be lost during the week, Ã¢ÂÂ fumed the Granada boss, Ã¢ÂÂevery minute of training has a reason, not just for filling in a report and getting paid at the end of the month.Ã¢ÂÂ
Sporting boss, Manuel Preciado, summed up MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs situation the best when noting that although they were better that Sporting on paper, his own team had more spirit, fight and effort. Five league matches without a win and a cup knock-out to Real Madrid sees the MÃÂ¡laga project in some trouble at the moment.
JosÃÂ© Molina now has to decide which Villarreal is the real team that heÃ¢ÂÂs stuck in charge of. The side that went 2-0 up against Valencia last weekend or the one that was utterly hopeless in the 3-0 defeat to AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid. The incredibly-gloomy looking boss who has the air of Miguel Angel Lotina in terms of misery was ruthless in his appraisal of his players after the defeat.
15,000 fans demonstrating outside the ground and yet another chance for all three points missed at home for bottom-of-the-table Zaragoza who could only draw 1-1 with Getafe.