Good Day, Bad Day: A Frowning Forlán and Dr Flappy McBobbins
Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Li'l Leo's hat-trick against AtlÃÂ©tico and Ronaldo's brace against Real Sociedad Ã¢ÂÂ ending what for him was something resembling a drought for normal players after three league games without a goal Ã¢ÂÂ sees both footballers tied on 23 goals for the season in la Liga. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs unless you're a Marca reader, in which case youÃ¢ÂÂll believe Ronaldo has 24, what with the paper having ignored pretty much every other media outlet in Spain by handing the Madrid man a deflected goal by Pepe against Real Sociedad earlier in the season.
And on a Marca tangent, LLL was disappointed last week to note the absence of the regular Ã¢ÂÂDi Stefano prizeÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ the ongoing award for the best player of the season, as voted for by the readers. Last week, Madrid's defeat to Osasuna saw Ronaldo fail to win the weekÃ¢ÂÂs votes with Leo Messi apparently coming first Ã¢ÂÂ thus leading to a bit of an award blackout at the paper, according to the blogÃ¢ÂÂs spy behind enemy lines.
The name Di Stefano came up over the weekend again with Pep Guardiola boasting that his man Messi was the new centuryÃ¢ÂÂs version of the Argentinian/Spanish/Colombian oldster, but Jorge Valdano counter-claiming that Ronaldo was the true heir.
LLL can only assume both are discussing Di StefanoÃ¢ÂÂs sporting prowess rather than a willingness to change nationality to get a gig.
A regular 2-0 win against HÃÂ©rcules through goals from Ariz Aduriz and Tino Costa didn't seem to excite Unai Emery that much Ã¢ÂÂ but the three-point haul, which gives Valencia a six-point cushion from fifth with the Champions League soon set to fire up the engines, certainly made the Mestalla manager a happy bunny. Ã¢ÂÂWeÃ¢ÂÂve got ourselves some breathing space but the fight for the Champions League is very even,Ã¢ÂÂ noted Unai.
It was another Ã¢ÂÂWham, Bam, Thank You Mam!Ã¢ÂÂ performance from Athletic Bilbao in a 3-0 victory over Sporting, a fourth consecutive league win from the Basque club Ã¢ÂÂ the first time they've put together such a run since the 1997/98 season, the last time the club qualified for the Champions League.
This golden grail is once again a very achievable goal, thanks to a zippy streak owing a great deal to Iker Muniain, the 18-year-old forward who is like a turbo-charged Alan Smith (the Leeds version) and who has been causing all kinds of carnage to opposition defences in recent weeks.
Ã¢ÂÂAll the confidence we had lost came back,Ã¢ÂÂ beamed MÃÂchel the Manager after GetafeÃ¢ÂÂs 4-1 win over Deportivo that ended an awful run of three defeats and a couple of thrashings at home.
Well, LLL feels all with the stupid now. More so than usual, anyway. In FridayÃ¢ÂÂs predictions the blog pooh-poohed LevanteÃ¢ÂÂs attempts to save their season using self-help exercises and team building activities on the relegation-threatened squad.
It seems to have worked rather well considering the club pulled off one of the results of the season on Saturday by beating Villarreal 1-0 in el Madrigal and thoroughly deserving their victory too. A chastened and suddenly-believing LLL is off to fall backwards off a table. But this time, it will remember to find some volunteers to catch it.
Despite the Levante defeat, scary-shouting hardball Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido wasnÃ¢ÂÂt as angry as LLL feared he might have been, boosting his team by noting that Ã¢ÂÂthe defeat was a blow, but we should not nor cannot look below us.Ã¢ÂÂ
The Uruguayan had a face like particularly ill-tempered thunder when filmed making his way into the visitorÃ¢ÂÂs dressing room at the Camp Nou Ã¢ÂÂ and as well he might, considering he had been dropped for the BarÃÂ§a clash in favour of a five-man midfield behind Kun AgÃÂ¼ero all on his lonesome up front.
Whilst the move has seen a fair amount of criticism in Spain for Quique, what with AtlÃÂ©tico without a goal in la Liga now for three matches, itÃ¢ÂÂs doubtful that ForlÃÂ¡nÃ¢ÂÂs inclusion from the start would have made a whole heap difference as the capital side still has an awful, dithering defence and Barcelona are still very, very good.
The big guy between the sticks is normally Mr Reliable for Espanyol. But in his sideÃ¢ÂÂs 3-2 defeat at AlmerÃÂa, the Cameroonian goalie was Dr Flappy McBobbins and at fault for two of the southern sideÃ¢ÂÂs goals.
Sevilla / MÃÂ¡laga
Before leaving for the Santiago Bernabeu on a lovely Sunday evening, LLL watched the first 45 minutes of this particularly turgid encounter and noticed that absolutely nothing of note had happened. Reading the accounts of the second half later on, it appeared that was the general theme of part two, too. The point each from SundayÃ¢ÂÂs goalless draw sees Sevilla losing even more ground on the Champions League places and MÃÂ¡laga remaining at the bottom of the table.
Whilst Deportivo were decent at the back, the sideÃ¢ÂÂs disdain for scoring goals wasnÃ¢ÂÂt really an issue. Unfortunately, of late that solidity has liquified to mush with Depor now managing just one win in eight and hovering fourth from bottom of the table Ã¢ÂÂ albeit level on 22 points with five other teams.
With MÃÂ¡laga expected to pull themselves out of their pit and AlmerÃÂa and Levante capable of the odd win, these are dangerous days indeed for Deportivo, who now face Villarreal on Sunday in game that may actually be interesting to watch. How times have changes in la CoruÃÂ±a.