Good Day, Bad Day: Disaster for Depor but ecstasy for Osasuna
A shimmy and shammy as purty as a Tennessee beauty queen saw Iniesta glide through a sluggish Espanyol defence to set Barcelona on their way in what was, considering the bust-ups of recent years, a somewhat boring Catalan derby. Barcelona just need a single point against Levante on Wednesday to win the title, providing Real Madrid dodge their local civic duty and beat Getafe the day before.
Four goals against Sevilla means that although the Portuguese poser may not be picking up either the Champions League or Primera trophies this season, he could be winning the one that really counts to the Madridista press right about now - the Pichichi - with Ronaldo holding a two goal lead over Leo Messi, or three if you are a Marca reader.
Comfortable is the best word to describe ValenciaÃ¢ÂÂs 3-0 win over Real Sociedad, a victory that guarantees the Mestalla men a shot at the Champions League next season. However, this good news hasnÃ¢ÂÂt prevented the normal Valencia feuding and fighting, with AS reporting some training ground scuffles on Sunday.
Jokin CaparrÃÂ³s and his team of seven-foot tumblers and hoofers nearly blew their chances of victory on Saturday. Athletic were 3-0 up with half an hour to go before two efforts from Levante made it a very nervous end to the game.
Levante were a touch unhappy at the home sideÃ¢ÂÂs second goal when the weak and spindly Fernando Llorente went down like three tons of bricks to win a successfully converted penalty. Ã¢ÂÂCaparrÃÂ³s has spent the whole season complaining that they donÃ¢ÂÂt give enough penalties to Llorente, heÃ¢ÂÂs got one now,Ã¢ÂÂ moaned Levante boss, Luis GarcÃÂa, after the game.
Giovani dos Santos
Another contender for the winter signing of the season along side Ivan Rakitic and Julio Baptista. The on-loan Spurs man appears to have got his career back on track and scored two goals in a huge win for Racing against HÃÂ©rcules to make it five since joining at the end of January.
And itÃ¢ÂÂs hello once again to the Good Day section for the aforementioned Brazilian Beast, who bagged the second of MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs goals in the 3-0 win over AtlÃÂ©tico to make it four wins in a row for Manuel PellegriniÃ¢ÂÂs men and six goals in that spell from MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs miracle.
Perhaps the biggest winners of all. Hanging on at half-time 1-0 down to Zaragoza after a Nelson-assisted goal, Osasuna could have crumbled. But instead, the Navarran side fought back in the second half to win 3-1 and really turn the relegation battle on its head in the final three games.
The first of the two games that Getafe have targeted to stay up was AlmerÃÂa and the victory was secured in just four minutes with AdriÃÂ¡n Colunga scoring the first of GetafeÃ¢ÂÂs two goals. The next big Ã¢ÂÂun for the Coliseum club is SundayÃ¢ÂÂs home clash with Osasuna. ItÃ¢ÂÂs going to be fruity. There may even be fans there.
Nobody told the AtlÃÂ©tico defence about the whole Ã¢ÂÂstick the ball on Rondon and BaptistaÃ¢ÂÂs headÃ¢ÂÂ big-men-up-front strategy that MÃÂ¡laga have so carefully been deploying the past month, it would appear. Actually, they probably did, but the back four were two hapless to do anything about it.
The first two goals of the the Rojiblancos' 3-0 defeat at the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n on Saturday evening were carbon copies and wholly avoidable grumbled Quique SÃÂ¡nchez Flores after the game.
Diego Costa summed up a poor night in the Spanish capital for AtlÃÂ©tico by admitting that Ã¢ÂÂwe were at 20% of our level and I donÃ¢ÂÂt know why.Ã¢ÂÂ Fortunately for the Rojiblancos, the damage done in the defeat was limited due to losses for Sevilla and Espanyol which leaves AtlÃÂ©tico with a four point lead in seventh over the PÃÂ©ricos in the chase for a European spot.
It was a day of adventure for Paul from Barcelona, who left the comforts of Cornella to watch his team in the confines of the Camp Nou.
Ã¢ÂÂWell, a day of the status quo for all concerned I think. BarÃÂ§a decided to take away EspanyolÃ¢ÂÂs ticket allocation on Friday after fears of bad behaviour and people letting off flares. People in glass houses etc was the Espanyol response.
So your correspondent called in a favour and managed to get a ticket from someone he knows who works for the evil empire.
Two defensive howlers from Espanyol gave BarÃÂ§a victory. The first, Galan (yes, him again) gave the ball to Iniesta (m.o.m) who did well to score, then terrible marking allowed Pique, who did foul an Espanyol player, a free header to make it 2-0. And that dear readers was about it to be honest.
Espanyol had a couple of chances from Osvaldo who with a bit of support might have nicked a goal back. BarÃÂ§a dominated, Villa looked rubbish, Dani Alves play acted and Messi didnÃ¢ÂÂt look that bothered about scoring but preferred to kick Jordi AmatÃ¢ÂÂs ankles.
Surprisingly the ref didnÃ¢ÂÂt give any dodgy decisions BarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs way but did give them everything else. Best team won, Espanyol defended quite well but with five first teamers out the result was never really in doubt. BarÃÂ§a will need to play a lot better to beat Man Utd.
Good to see Abidal back, even I applauded.Ã¢ÂÂ
Levante, Sporting, Mallorca
All three teams failed to pick up three points over the weekend and a freakish set of results elsewhere means that the tally of 43 that the trio currently have may not be enough to stave off the drop, with the relegation zone just four points away with nine still to play for. Levante and SportingÃ¢ÂÂs goalless draw, time-wasting, kick-about from last weekend is not looking so clever now.
So much for the crazy showing games at midday on a Sunday for the Asian market scheme. La LigaÃ¢ÂÂs reputation for sexy, zesty football will take decades to rebuild after the weekendÃ¢ÂÂs snore-inducing, bore-fest between these two teams who are very much in the naughty corner.
The fantastic work from the victory in the Santiago Bernabeu blown to smithereens against Osasuna with a 3-2 home defeat.
While the evil half of LLL would love to see Deportivo relegated simply because being forced to watch them inspires suicidal thoughts, the good half thinks it might be a shame to see the former golden Galician side go down after 20 years in the top flight. Besides, LLL wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt have any gags left, although Betis are set to return to la Primera which could help cover the potential deficit...
Miguel Angel Lotina is most unhappy - as ever - at the two penalties awarded against his team in a 2-2 draw with Sporting complaining that he was Ã¢ÂÂfed up and the players in the dressing room are crying.Ã¢ÂÂ Lotina was right with the first call with the ball striking LaureÃ¢ÂÂs back and not his arm as the referee thought. But the second penalty with the game in injury time with Deportivo 2-1 up was correct when David Barral was brought down.
Deportivo are now in the relegation places and facing Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona and Valencia in their final three games with two of the those teams with potential points to play for in the run-in.
A home defeat to Racing sees HÃÂ©rcules hanging on to their top flight status by their finger nails. With a bit of luck, Mallorca will stamp on them on Wednesday evening to send the Alicante side back to la Segunda.
Despite being supported by SatanÃ¢ÂÂs representative on earth, David Bisbal, LLL has never really had anything against AlmerÃÂa. The southern side play fun, counter-attacking, speedy football and have a couple of decent players knocking about. What AlmerÃÂa didnÃ¢ÂÂt have though was fighting spirit with the club losing their last seven games to become the first team relegated this season.