Good Day, Bad Day: A Hyperactive HG Wells & some Horrible Haircuts
Playing MÃÂ¡laga just after seeing Real Madrid drop two platinum-precious points against AlmerÃÂa could have gone one of two ways for Barcelona. PepÃ¢ÂÂs Dream Boys could have choked and had their own Primera wobble. Or they could have humped the opportunity to pieces by mauling MÃÂ¡laga. Seeing as this team is strong like some kind of graceful ox-type creature, BarÃÂ§a did the latter. The title is now officially theirs to be lost.
As the injury time spat between FabiÃÂ¡n Vargas and Iker Casillas showed, AlmerÃÂa were in Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂs faces from the first minute to the last on Sunday and were excellent value for their point. ItÃ¢ÂÂs just a huge shame that the performance from the bottom-of-the-table club has largely ignored in the Madridista press in favour of pathetic moans about penalties and conspiracies against a side that appears to be relying on refereeing handouts to win games despite having spent half a billion on the squad in recent years.
Incidentally, in the aforementioned rut-fest, LLL would chose the goalkeeper in any scrap, every time. Unless itÃ¢ÂÂs David de Gea who looks like a bit of a wuss.
Incidentally, incidentally, when quizzed by LLL on his thoughts on the rumble - the blog likes to get to the heart of the big issues - AlmerÃÂa striker Henok Goitum tweeted that he was with Vargas all the way. Admirable loyalty.
The third of VillarrealÃ¢ÂÂs omnipotent playmakers is in rather fine form at the moment, after a goal against Real Madrid last week, another in the Copa del Rey against Sevilla and now an extraordinary effort against Osasuna in a 4-2 win that came from the halfway line. Oh yes it did.
'The new year is all about consistency', beamed Unai Emery after a 2-0 win over Deportivo that was as torturous as to be expected against their Galician opponents. Valencia have now won four league games in a row to keep them just two points from Villarreal in third.
But the bigger talking point in the Mestalla world in the coachÃ¢ÂÂs Ã¢ÂÂVictorian gentÃ¢ÂÂ look that Unai is sporting these days, cutting a very fine - and very gesticulative - figure on the touchline. A bit like a hyperactive HG Wells directing traffic.
A ludicrous wedge haircut but two fantastic finishes for Espanyol from JosÃÂ© CallejÃÂ³n to give the Pericos just their third away win in la Liga all season.
The Sporting midfielder was making his home debut in El MolinÃÂ³n in what was another make-or-break game against HÃÂ©rcules for his manager, Manuel Preciado. However, the 23-year-old - not really a youngster is he? - came through with his first for the club and SportingÃ¢ÂÂs second in a 2-0 win.
Seeing as the match was played in a thick blanket of fog - how all Zaragoza games should be played, perhaps - La Liga Loca canÃ¢ÂÂt tell you too much about the 1-0 victory over Levante except to say that it was the sideÃ¢ÂÂs second victory under Javier Aguirre and that ZaragozaÃ¢ÂÂs Jiri Jarozik remains the worst defender in la Primera. Even worse than Rafa at Getafe. That bad.
LLL was at the Coliseum to test its theory that although La Real had lost four league games in a row going into the game, the Basque club were still playing some very nice football indeed. For once, the blog was proved right with a (slightly flattering) 4-0 away win over a bedraggled Getafe to move Real Sociedad nicely into eleventh at the halfway point of the season.
Ã¢ÂÂTeam has off day and drops pointsÃ¢ÂÂ was the real story of SundayÃ¢ÂÂs match. But in the context of the eternal BarÃÂ§a v Real Madrid rumble the result sees the end of the world for the Capital City club in their media, who are not quite ready to throw in the towel on the title race but certainly looking at it anxiously.
Marca are largely blaming the four point gap at the top on a combination of a BarÃÂ§a being brilliant, a lack of striking options for Madrid and, of course, refereeing decisions going against their team - despite Real having been awarded the most penalties of all La Liga sides this season, with six compared to BarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂs single spot-kick strike. Ã¢ÂÂOnce again, the Whites were victims of refereeing errorsÃ¢ÂÂ moans MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs editorial on Monday.
ItRÃ¢ÂÂs a similar story in AS who blast Ã¢ÂÂVillaratoÃ¢ÂÂ on their front cover in relation to the paperÃ¢ÂÂs long-held belief that the head of the Spanish FA, Angel Villar - who really should sue the backsides off AS (as it were) - is ordering referees to work against Madrid in every game of the season.
Ã¢ÂÂIt was (PÃÂ©rez Lasa) who sent off Cristiano a year ago for his arm against Mtiliga,Ã¢ÂÂ pointed out TomÃÂ¡s Roncero making no case for the prosecution whatsoever, considering the AS man is referring to an incident where the Madrid player broke the nose of the MÃÂ¡laga defender with an elbow.
LLL suspects what constitutes a perfect game of football for Madrid in the eyes of the clubÃ¢ÂÂs fanboy journalists is for the players to kick off, Angel di MarÃÂa to take his traditional tumble in the box, a penalty to be awarded and repeat, repeat, repeat for the next 89 minutes.
A tad unlucky against Espanyol in a 2-1 defeat but the loss was the fourth at home in la Liga this season for Sevilla who now need a win against Villarreal in the cup on Tuesday to stop their campaign getting flushed down the loo.
Seeing as they're now getting paid just a fraction of their salaries, the HÃÂ©rcules players seem to be only turning up in a fraction of their matches, with SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs 2-0 defeat at Sporting seeing the Alicante outfit going six away clashes in la Liga without scoring a single goal.
Back in action after the playerÃ¢ÂÂs protest with a substitute appearance but nearly came a cropper in the match when crashing his knee against the advertising hoardings.
Although LLL predicted a home win for Getafe in itÃ¢ÂÂs weekend predictions, the blog knew that this was going to be a defeat - a 3-0 loss at that, as soon as it sat down at the stadium. In the end LLL was wrong by the odd goal. What has been a common theme for Getafe this season is the sideÃ¢ÂÂs regular irregularity.
Another week and another rant at a referee decision. Last time around it was a late offside goal from Juan Mata that the club feels cost them two precious points. And two more were lost, on Saturday, is the message against Zaragoza after the referee refused to allow a goal coming after a very quickly taken free-kick from Levante.
Ã¢ÂÂThe only thing you feel like doing is killing someone,Ã¢ÂÂ explained forward, RubÃÂ©n SuÃÂ¡rez, recalling the incident in question. And perhaps needing an hour or two in therapy, too.