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Good Day, Bad Day: Incredible Carvalho and Devastating Depor

The best and worst of the La Liga weekend...


Ricardo Carvalho
Off the field, the Real Madrid defender has a delicate, almost ladylike way about him not too dissimilar to that of another footballing beast that LLL rubbed shoulders with once - well, perhaps rubbed shoulder to hip - Julio Baptista.

But in the footballing mix, Carvalho is as tough as John Wayne's boots and had a fine derby day by opening the scoring for Madrid and dealing with whatever the Atlético attack offered up before leaving the pitch after being smacked in the eye.

It was a performance that saw Marca yell âÂÂCarvalhazo!â on Monday's front cover â a deserved accolade for surely the best value of José MourinhoâÂÂs summer signings, especially when taking into account the early season injuries to fellow centre-backs Raúl Albiol and Ezequiel Garay.

Aside from the former Chelsea man, there isnâÂÂt too much else to be said over a clash that is constantly hyped to pieces in the Madrid media but, like Atlético Madrid, largely fails to deliver.

Leo Messi
Shows absolutely no signs of slowing down, maybe because much of the forwardâÂÂs game is played in the 30-metre âÂÂzone of terrorâ where little Leo has scored in five consecutive matches for PepâÂÂs Dream Boys.

Borja Valero
There was much teeth-gnashing and potty-mouthed swearing in the LLL household when it realised far too late that the Villarreal v Athletic Bilbao clash was on TV due to a bit of a schedule change-around.

Juan Carlo GarridoâÂÂs men are still the best non-Barça side to watch this season and spanked Athletic Bilbao red raw on Sunday afternoon with a devastating counter-attacking display marshaled by Santi Cazorla and the brilliant Borja Valero. Unfortunately, the blog could only enjoy the trailer rather than the main event.

Gadzooks! If Valencia fail to beat Sevilla, Espanyol will stay in the Champions League places after a 1-0 win over Málaga, despite having scored just nine goals in 10 games! HereâÂÂs Paul from Barcelona with further explanation on the mad goings-on in El Prat-land.

âÂÂQuick seems to be the way to go here. Quick goal from Espanyol in 50-odd seconds. A long-range belter from man of the match Javi Marquez. Arnau should have saved it. He didn't want to hurt his hand, it seemed. He has a record of doing this, as Barça fans might remember. Roberto Carlos free-kick, anyone ?

"Osvaldo missed a good chance then it was deja-vu. Espanyol did all they could to throw it away but Málaga's 4-6-0 formation was never going to score. They showed some life when ex-Arsenal man Quincy came on. He hit the bar with a rocket â not bad for a 88-year-old ex-medical examiner. One for the teenagers there.

"That was it. A pretty poor game. Espanyol didn't play well but won. Málaga, great pace on the wings but final delivery was a shambles.

"150 Málaga fans, 20-or-so shirtless. An ex-pat stag night would be my guess [Brits abroad, Guiri-Army peña, perhaps - LLL]. Average ref.

"Málaga might just stay up due to there being three worse teams in Zaragoza, Almería and Racing (who'll beat us next week). Espanyol, at time of writing, are in the Champions League places. Not going to stay that way but Europa League spot is there for the taking."

-- Paul, Barcelona

Real Sociedad
Not exactly the most stimulating of games, but Real SociedadâÂÂs 1-0 victory over Racing Santander was notable for the eight âÂÂcanteraâ players in the Basque sideâÂÂs starting XI. Sadly, there was no repeat of the car-based celebrations for Joseba LlorenteâÂÂs winner to liven things up a tad.

LLL never doubted them for a second! A second win on the trot for deadly Depor with a 2-1 victory away at Levante that sees the gallant Galicians out of the relegation zone by two whole points.

When watching Zaragoza this season, LLL has always felt that there was some zing and zest about the side even if there wasn't much evidence of quality. It was this vim that saw the home side coming from 2-1 down against Mallorca with six minutes to go to win 3-2, ZaragozaâÂÂs first victory of the season.

A hefty 3-0 win over the typically inconsistent Hércules moves Osasuna into 12th. All three goals came from set-pieces, but the variation from the normal Osasuna theme is that none came from the head of Walter Pandiani, because he was out injured.

Nacho Novo
A first goal in la Primera for the former Rangers man gives Sporting just their second point on their travels.


An exasperating first half of Sunday night's Coliseum clash with Barcelona. Although going toe-to-toe with the Catalan club is not the easiest of asks, some kind of effort and commitment from MíchelâÂÂs men would have been nice.

Javier Arizmendi
A classic moment for the gangly chance-waster when one-on-one with Víctor Váldez in the second half - looking a little lost at what he was supposed to do (the same look LLL used to have when going into Argos) before missing with typical style and aplomb.

Gerard Piqué
The Barcelona manâÂÂs sending off was not the result of a yellow card from a handball in the box as many people may have assumed, but due to the direct intervention of José Mourinho. ThatâÂÂs what Mundo Deportivo claim, anyway, responding to jibes from the Madrid manager that Barça get an easy ride from refs.

âÂÂReal Madrid moaning is nothing new and gets rewards,â complains JM Artells, âÂÂbut refereeing from a press room is certainly new.âÂÂ

Atlético Madrid
More of a âÂÂdayâ for Atlético Madrid rather than a âÂÂbad dayâÂÂ, considering the Rojiblancos haven't won a derby since October 1999.

Note also that Quique Sánchez Flores was looking cooler than ever after the game with a new beardy look. âÂÂWe missed four chances but they scored theirs,â noticed the Atlético manager after yet another defeat against Real Madrid.

More dropped points at home for Almería sees the spiky pendulum of doom moving once again in the direction of manager Juanma Lillo.

Another defeat sees Málaga rock bottom of the table and with Manuel Pellegrini landed with a heck of a job when he starts work with the southern side this week.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Two goals against Hércules, four against Racing and two against Málaga. None against AC Milan and Atlético. Just sayinâÂÂ... [Raised-eyebrows naughty look]