Good Day, Bad Day: Mediocre Madrid overtake losing Levante

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RESULTS Sat 29 Oct Barcelona 5-0 Mallorca, Real Sociedad 0-1 Real Madrid, Valencia 3-1 Getafe, Villarreal 2-0 Rayo Vallecano Sun 30 Oct Atletico Madrid 3-1 Real Zaragoza, Malaga 2-1 Espanyol, Osasuna 2-0 Levante, Racing Santander 1-0 Real Betis, Sporting Gijon 1-1 Athletic Bilbao Mon 31 Oct Sevilla 1-2 Granada

Good Day

Real Madrid
José Mourinho has got quite a good thing going on with the local media. Win in an incredibly impressive fashion - as the side has been doing of late, especially in the victories over Málaga and Villarreal - and it’s proof positive that the ‘Mou Team 2’ is going to rule over all the dimensions of earth. Scrap to a narrow and unconvincing 1-0 win, as Real Madrid managed against Real Sociedad, and it’s a case of “that’s how you win leagues.” Cake. Eaten. Thank you.
Mourinho claimed after the game that his side were suffering from fatigue, although  it’s hard to buy that line completely as three quarters of the front four alone have been swapping games over the past month and Alvaro Arbeloa and Fabio Coentrao at the back are still fresh as daisies. What’s a perfectly acceptable excuse for the 1-0 win that moves Real Madrid to the top of the table is a feisty opponent and lack of precision in front of goal for once.

Leo Messi
The one-two-three hand signal after the Argentinean scored just his first goal might have been the coolest thing that the very easily pleased LLL has seen this year. Even better than the twelfth hat-trick of Messi’s Barcelona career.

Camp Nou
Barcelona have now scored 26 league goals at the Camp Nou this season, without a single strike being conceded.  

Ever Banega
With most Valencia fans being of the grumbly ilk, the Mestalla side are only a poor ten minute spell away from being  booed off the pitch or having angry letters posted to them by fans concerned by a lack of effort, as happened recently to Unai Emery’s men. But back-to-back victories in games against Real Zaragoza and most recently of all, Getafe, have given the Valencia coach a good three inches of air breathing space in a locked chest at the bottom of the ocean.
The fun-loving Ever Banega played a large part in Valencia’s 3-1 win in Mestalla, with Emery highlighting one of the midfielder’s too few very excellent performances. “The team is working with Banega. We are growing.” “He needs to be consistent,” added the coach of the league’s fourth-placed team, who are still just four points off the top spot.

It was a much-needed victory for Manuel Pellegrini after three straight defeats. But the 2-1 win over Espanyol was hardly a convincing one, with Málaga awarded a late penalty with the scores level after the referee interpreted a ball hitting Ndri Romaric in the face as handball. The fact that the Espanyol midfielder looked like he had been whacked in the mug by Mike Tyson should really have been some kind of clue.

It’s the normal state of affairs for Osasuna this season. Unbeaten in Pamplona but without a victory on the road. It’s a little unbalanced, but it seems to work as Osasuna are currently in eighth. 

Atlético Madrid
The 3-1 victory over an awful Real Zaragoza wasn’t enough to prevent the cries from the crowd calling for Luis Aragonés to replace Gregorio Manzano. The concept of being careful what you wish for certainly applies here. The Rojiblancos were one of the three teams who faced their ‘finals’ over the weekend and came out on top.

Borja Valero
Not exactly a convincing win for Villarreal with a 2-0 victory over Rayo, but it will certainly do. It was largely owed to the side’s play-maker Borja Valero - who has been mostly AWOL this season - pulling off a big performance with an assist and a goal to lift Villarreal out of the relegation area. The downside to the weekend’s result was an injury to Cani that puts the midfielder out of action for six weeks, the same fate suffered by defender, Cristian Zapata. Not fantastic news with Giuseppe Rossi sidelined for up to six months potentially.

Racing Santander
The win over Betis was Racing’s first victory of the season. They aren’t going to get too many more.

LLL certainly didn’t see that coming. Sevilla were cruising - as much as it possible to cruise with a 1-0 lead - against Granada and looked like getting a second. But some wonderful saves from visiting keeper Roberto, who had previously been a little bit flimsy this season, kept Granada in the match. The second side in the Andalusian derby then pulled off a bit of a coup with two late goals to give the team just their second win of the season and double the team’s goalscoring tally for the campaign so far.

Bad Day

With defeat at Osasuna ending a run of seven straight wins, the psychological trick facing manager Juan Ignacio Martínez is convincing his players that it was the lengthy string of victories that was the oddity in Levante’s current existence and not the loss. They're going to lose games and they need to remember how to recover. The visit of Valencia next weekend might be the perfect way to raise the spirits of the players once again, should they have sagged at all.

Joaquín Caparrós
Since the former Athletic Bilbao manager took over, Mallorca have yet to win any of their four games. Indeed, the team has only scored the single goal in open play with the Balearic club relying on two penalties during its two draws in that spell.

Real Zaragoza
Three defeats in a row for Javier Aguirre’s men have blighted what had been a fairly sturdy start to the season for Zaragoza, who are still finding their feet - and learning each other’s names too.

Real Betis
It’s incredible to think that the Seville side were early league leaders this season after winning their first four games. This run has been followed by six straight defeats with just a single goal being scored. And that was against Real Madrid in the  Santiago Bernabeu, too.

Last season, Luis García made a name for himself by managing a Levante team who looked doomed to relegation and saving their skins in the second half of the season. Indeed, it was García’s performance that got the 39-year-old the Getafe gig over the summer. Judging by the club’s current form it seems their manager enjoyed last year’s experience so much that he wants to repeat those fun times with Getafe sitting at the bottom of the table with just the single victory from ten.