Good Day, Bad Day: Outstanding Argentinians and failing Falcao
Gonzalo HiguaÃÂn, Leo Messi
The awesome Argentinians have now scored 18 league goals between them this season. Both starred in comfortable victories for Real Madrid and Barcelona against Betis and Racing respectively, although the former made heavy weather of it in the first 45 minutes of their game at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
Despite LevanteÃ¢ÂÂs stubborn refusal to budge from their position wedged firmly between the pair, both teams are already starting to pull away from some of the chasing pack with Valencia and MÃÂ¡laga dropping points this weekend.
Tactically, the two sides are still different kettles of compost. Barcelona are patient and probing and thrive when playing against teams who park the bus; the same cannot be said for Madrid, who badly struggle against sides that sit back but are lethal on the counter-attack when a single mistake is made.
Technically speaking, all of LevanteÃ¢ÂÂs goals in their 3-0 win over MÃÂ¡laga were a little bit jammy. The first was a deflected shot from JosÃÂ© Bakero, followed by a pounce on a rebounding free-kick for the second. The final goal was a weirdly bouncing ball making a goalkeeper looking a bit silly in a one-on-one. But Levante were still fully deserving of their victory over their rivals in the big chase for the Champions League places.
Considering Levante have now won five in a row and have the same points as Barcelona, LLL now feels at liberty to honour a brilliant campaign for the club.
Although SevillaÃ¢ÂÂs record of not conceding a league goal since round two went out the window on Sunday night, it was another win for Marcelino Ã¢ÂÂ a 2-1 victory against Sporting Ã¢ÂÂ to keep Sevilla ticking along very nicely indeed just two points from the top of the table.
The times that LLL has seen the Zaragoza striker in action this season, he has been terrible. Well, the one time that LLL has seen the Zaragoza striker in action this season, he was terrible. But Postiga popped up with two goals on Sunday, including a peach of a bicycle-kick for ZaragozaÃ¢ÂÂs first in a 2-0 win over Real Sociedad.
MallorcaÃ¢ÂÂs last three goals in la Liga have come from penalties, which might make the Balearic side the only one in Spain who do not constantly claim that the refereeing gods are against them for everyone minute of every match. The last of those spot-kick strikes came in the final seconds of MallorcaÃ¢ÂÂs 1-1 draw with Valencia Ã¢ÂÂ the first match in charge for JoaquÃÂn CaparrÃÂ³s, who has seen the limited footballing talent in the side and opted for super-sizing the Ã¢ÂÂrolling up the sleeves, giving everything for 90 minutesÃ¢ÂÂ angle instead.
Nothing like the visit of AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid to raise the spirits and give a side self-belief that they can compete in la Primera. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs what Granada would have felt after picking up a point against the Rojiblancos. Indeed, the home side could have won the match if it werenÃ¢ÂÂt for a pesky post getting in the way of a header from Ikechukwu Uche.
Manuel PellegriniÃ¢ÂÂs men never turned up at all for SundayÃ¢ÂÂs Levante game. MÃÂ¡laga would have been battered even without losing their goalkeeper to a first-half red card.
A handy three away points were on the cards at Mallorca until the referee spotted Mehmet Topal's injury-time handball in the Valencia box. Technically, Paradas Romero was right in what he saw, but the eventual decision to award a penalty to Mallorca was wrong as it was a fast, driven ball striking the top of his arm and not the arm intercepting the ball. Ã¢ÂÂThe handball was involuntarily,Ã¢ÂÂ says Marca, agreeing with LLL for perhaps the first time ever.
A fine defensive effort in the first half was let down in the opening seconds of the second when the often wobbly Chica allowed Ronaldo to get a few yards on him. Among the team-mates trying manfully to keep the score respectable thereafter was Antonio Amaya, who spoke to LLL after the game. Ã¢ÂÂWe had a very complete first half but we knew that it wasnÃ¢ÂÂt enough and that the most difficult part of the game was to come,Ã¢ÂÂ said the centre-back.
A month ago, AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid and free-scoring Falcao were kings of the world after the Colombian scored back-to-back hat-tricks against Racing and Sporting. Ã¢ÂÂFalcao is the force that moves the world,Ã¢ÂÂ announced Marca. Since those wins there has been absolutely nada from Falcao Ã¢ÂÂ or indeed any of his team-mates, with AtlÃÂ©tico failing to score in their last three league games.
Giuseppe Rossi, Dani GÃÂ¼iza
Part of the reason that Villarreal and Getafe are both struggling this season, with just two wins between them, is the failure of their front men to find the back of the net. Rossi has managed just the one strike from open play this year, and there was much looking to the heavens and frustrated shirt-nibbling after clearcut chances were blown in SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs goalless draw against Getafe. It was the same situation for opposite number Dani GÃÂ¼iza, who has yet to score for the Coliseum club since returning from exile.
Vallecano coach JosÃÂ© Sandoval and his players have been most up front in seeing the clubÃ¢ÂÂs form at their three-sided stadium as being key to the teamÃ¢ÂÂs survival chances. So far, the cunning plan hasnÃ¢ÂÂt worked with Rayo yet to win in their three games in Madrid. The latest setback was a 1-0 defeat to Espanyol, but it was a loss the boss admitted they deserved: Ã¢ÂÂWe were not ourselves, we were not right from the first moment.Ã¢ÂÂ
Yet another defeat for the bottom-of-the-table side, but there were signs of improvement for Sporting, which may just help Manuel Preciado keep his job for another week. Ã¢ÂÂThere are no signs that this team is dead,Ã¢ÂÂ grumbled the Sporting boss, hurriedly unzipping the body-bag.