Good Day, Bad Day: Iker's day off, Joaquín's grin & forlorn Forlan
The Madrid captain only had to work just the one-and-half minutes after his sending off against Espanyol on Sunday and now gets next weekend off too. Lucky so-and-do. This has LLL imagining the fun that could be had when combining of one of the goalkeeperÃ¢ÂÂs sponsors - beer company, Mahou - and some a free weekend. A few sleepless nights for the residents of Mostoles, perhaps.
LLL is feeling most kind today and has put Espanyol in the Good Day section after a performance that the blog felt contributed to a cracking game against Real Madrid. A vigorous handshake too to the referee, Mateu Lahoz, who has again received praise in the Spanish press for letting all the silly stuff go by the wayside to help the spectacle (although not for sending off Casillas in certain Madrid-based papers).
Still, Paul from Barcelona watching from the stands wasnÃ¢ÂÂt too happy with him....
Well that was fun, losing at home against ten men. Basically Real Madrid were better, deserved to win and despite playing well, Kameni was beaten at his near post again. Espanyol are putting too much faith in the kids and we are getting beaten by experience. Madrid are nothing special and Manchester United and BarÃÂ§a wonÃ¢ÂÂt be losing any sleep.
Usual Madrid fans dotted around the stadium. Ref was as youÃ¢ÂÂd expect. Madrid had carte blanche after Casillas was sent off. No ref would ever reduce Madrid to nine so Xabi Alonso stayed on despite about six yellow card fouls. Marcelo was man of the match by a mile.
Ronaldo giving the diving sign to CallejÃÂ³n was priceless. No doubt he went home to hurl rocks in his greenhouse.
Always a pleasure to see a chirpy, cheeky grin from JoaquÃÂn, who was making just his third league start for Valencia in 2011 but still grabbed two goals to lift the Mestallamen into third ahead of a faltering Villarreal.
ItÃ¢ÂÂs a very comfortable position for Valencia to be in with their Champions League campaign restarting against Schalke on Tuesday - a campaign that could see Unai EmeryÃ¢ÂÂs men sneaking through to the semis, crystal balls LLL (as long as they donÃ¢ÂÂt play anyone hard in the quarters. Or lose to Schalke).
LLL is looking forward to hearing all about the ValentineÃ¢ÂÂs Day package of chocs and saucy undies that JosÃÂ© Mourinho will be sending to Manuel Preciado in way of expressing his appreciation for his masterminding SportingÃ¢ÂÂs performance against Barcelona to reduce the gap at the top of the table to five points and as means of apology for his suggestion that Sporting didnÃ¢ÂÂt try in SeptemberÃ¢ÂÂs Camp Nou clash.
It was a welcome three points for new Racing boss, Marcelino, after a 3-2 stonker against Sevilla that was won by the home side after an injury time effort from a blubbering, Arana. However it did come at a physical cost for the coach who was starting his second spell in Santander - a sore bum after slipping celebrating a Racing goal and a voice that was lost to the winds after watching his team throw away a 2-0 lead.
Losing 2-0 to Getafe, it looked like being another tough day for bottom of the table MÃÂ¡laga. However, a penalty struck by Julio Baptista and a late, late effort by RondÃÂ³n gave MÃÂ¡laga a point, although in truth three were needed if the southern side are to get out of their sticky situation. Ã¢ÂÂFrom a football perspective, we are on the right path,Ã¢ÂÂ claimed a half-happy manager, Manuel Pellegrini, after the game.
In his fifth season for HÃÂ©rcules, the midfielder had to wait until the Alicante sideÃ¢ÂÂs match-up against Barcelona a fortnight ago after a spell on the sidelines with injury for eight months for his Primera debut with the club. Unfortunately, the return for FarinÃÂ³s was not exactly a fun one with the veteran being sent off soon after coming onto the pitch after a rash tackle and castigating himself for playing like a Ã¢ÂÂlittle kidÃ¢ÂÂ.
FarinÃÂ³sÃ¢ÂÂ second return was a much merrier affair with the HÃÂ©rcules player scoring a scorcher from thirty yards and then providing an assist for David Trezeguet in SundayÃ¢ÂÂs 2-1 win against Zaragoza.
SundayÃ¢ÂÂs 1-0 win over relegation rivals, AlmerÃÂa, was LevanteÃ¢ÂÂs fourth victory on the bounce. ItÃ¢ÂÂs run that sees coach, Luis GarcÃÂa, facing next weekendÃ¢ÂÂs trip to the Bernabeu with Ã¢ÂÂnothing to lose.Ã¢ÂÂ
No, it wasnÃ¢ÂÂt the dreaded Ã¢ÂÂFIFA virusÃ¢ÂÂ international break, nor resting of three starters for the clash against Sporting that caused Barcelona to drop two points. Nor was it BarÃÂ§a underestimating their opponents, focussing too much on Arsenal, or Madrid based refereeing conspiracies.
The 1-1 draw up in GijÃÂ³n was down to the excellent work of BarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs opponents and the simple matter that it isnÃ¢ÂÂt possible for the Dream Boys to win every single game of football. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs why the previous record of 15 league victories in a row stood for 50 years.
A second defeat in a row for Villarreal, this time against Deportivo, sees Juan Carlos GarridoÃ¢ÂÂs men going through a poor run of form that was probably due, after the sideÃ¢ÂÂs brilliant first half of the season. Nevertheless, it has allowed Valencia to sneak up into third place and has the Villarreal coach calling for a quick response next week against MÃÂ¡laga.
Atleti thoroughly deserved to lose their previous three league games but it wasnÃ¢ÂÂt the case on Saturday, where LLL was down at the CalderÃÂ³n to witness - as much as it is possible to do so from the very top of the main stand - a match where Atleti deserved a point but lost 2-1 to leave the home fans calling for the head of the ever unpopular co-owner, Miguel Angel Gil, rather than Quique SÃÂ¡nchez Flores.
Atleti are now in their worst run in the league since 1998-99. The last time the club lost four in a row, it caused the sacking of Arrigo Sacchi, but this time round Quique looks temporarily safe due to a decent performance from his side on Saturday with the other co-owner, Enrique Cerezo, promising that Ã¢ÂÂQuique will carry on at AtlÃÂ©tico no matter what happens against Zaragoza, Sevilla and the next games.Ã¢ÂÂ
LLL, for one, is not fully convinced by this assertion with its spider tenses tingling like nobodyÃ¢ÂÂs business.
A missed penalty for the AtlÃÂ©tico striker with the scores at 1-1 sees an already rotten season get even worse for a depressed Diego.
Defeat to Racing and just two points from the last nine sees SevillaÃ¢ÂÂs season slipping further down the plughole of doom. It was no wonder that club president, JosÃÂ© MarÃÂa Del Nido, looked so glum slouched in his VIP chair. That and the sight of his Racing counterpart, Ali Syed, going ballistic and actually doing a bit of a dance at the end of the match to celebrate the 3-2 win.
JosÃÂ© Antonio Camacho
Another head rolls in la Primera with Osasuna boss, JosÃÂ© Antonio Camacho, finding his booty fired after a 1-0 defeat to Real Sociedad. His former Pamplonan side are still without an away win in la Liga all season and have drifted into the relegation quagmire.