Good Day, Bad Day: Ronaldo’s rant, Mallorca’s meanness, Levante’s luck

Good Day

It wasn't exactly a glittering Barcelona display in a 1-0 win over Valencia - much like the team’s previous three matches, come to think of it - but LLL is not sure there’ll be too much concern at the Catalan club unless the iffy form continues, with Barça the only team with a hundred percent record in la Primera despite being a touch flat.
“It terms of league position, the start of the season has been brilliant,” writes Josep Maria Casanovas in Sport. “Another thing is the team’s play - static, slow and with no spark.”
Fans of the Catalan club do have an extra bonus, though, to keep them content over the next fortnight with Cristiano Ronaldo-shaped trouble at ‘mill over at Real Madrid.

The Balearic team is continuing to live up to LLL’s prediction of a top six finish for this season. To be fair, it’s not a massively bold tip considering how well Mallorca ended the last campaign under Joaquín Caparrós, with a European spot only just out of their grasp. The experienced Andalusian manager is a genius at squeezing every bit of footballing juice out of his players with 11 of Mallorca’s 14 victories under Caparrós being by just the odd goal. The latest win was a Saturday night 1-0 effort over Real Sociedad that leaves the islanders in second spot.

Goalkeeper Willy Caballero tweeted that Saturday’s 1-0 away win at Zaragoza was a great example of the joy of not playing especially brilliantly but getting the three points - a fair reflection of Málaga’s troubled start to the season off the pitch that has fortunately not being matched on it, with Manuel Pellegrini’s side unbeaten and sitting in third.

Rayo Vallecano
LLL was rather surprised to experience the sensation of being cold during Rayo’s goalless draw with Sevilla in a wind-swirling stadium in Vallecas. It was also surprised to see Rayo get away with picking up a point in a match where Sevilla wasted clear chances and contrived to miss two penalties. “49 times out of 50 we would have lost that game,” admitted irked Rayo manager Paco Jémez, who can’t be too upset considering his side are unbeaten in three and sit in the Champions league places.

Curses. Two goals in three for the Deportivo striker and a lovely effort in the 1-1 draw with Getafe now leaves LLL without a fine source gags for the striker being totally hapless in front of goal. Riki is definitely in possession of a mountain of hap at the moment.

Gonzalo Higuaín
Pipita’s bright start to the season is largely going unnoticed in the Madrid media, where Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo play the role as the more favoured part of the club’s forward three but the Argentinean now has three goals from three in la Liga, a good thing too considering a rather wasteful Wednesday night in the Super Copa. Aside from a certain pouting Portuguese having a bit of  tantrum, not too much to report from the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday aside from a perfectly perfunctory 3-0 win over Granada and a continued bright start for Luka Modric.

Abdelaziz Barrada
Goals against Real Madrid and now Deportivo - a cooly taken shot under the keeper - sees the Getafe forward as the next footballer set to leave the Coliseum club for enough money to bankroll the side for another season.

Celta Vigo
The Galicians started the game suffering badly from the slings, arrows and long balls of Osasuna’s wonderfully direct approach, with woodwork being a’rattled. But they managed to carve out a 2-0 victory which gave them their first points in three attempts and left the fishermen types above the mighty Valencia in the table. “We have a fortnight of smiles,” beamed Celta coach, Paco Herrera.

A 3-2 victory over Espanyol had Levante manager Juan Ignacio Martínez (JIM from now on) admitting his team were a little lucky, espcially given their winner came from an injury time own-goal. However, it was still a massively emotional evening in Valencia, with Juanfran in tears at the end due to the effort that a ten-men at times Levante had to put in having gone 2-0 down in a clash, stuffed with truly fantastic goals.

Athletic Bilbao
Hard to know whether what will be more cheering for Athletic Bilbao fans - scoring two or managing to keep a clean sheet against Valladolid in a 2-0 win, after conceding a whopping nine goals in the Basque side’s first two league matches of the season.

Bad Day

Ivan Rakitic, Álvaro Negredo
Sevilla’s uncanny ability to show their soft centre whenever possible and chuck away points on their travels continued, with two players missing penalties. Negredo managed to get his to hit the post at least, whilst Rakitic dragged his own poor effort horribly wide. “I don’t know whether I’m happy or sad,” said an understandably befuddled Míchel after the game.

Cristiano Ronaldo
There’ll be an awful lot more said about Cristiano Ronaldo little bout of sadness. But as a first reaction, LLL is torn between a Daily Mail-type rant about footballers not knowing they’ve been born and suffering first world problems. Then again, when you are down in the dumps, you are down in the dumps, no matter how much money you earn. Such is life.

An awful pitch upon which an awful team is playing at the moment. “It wasn’t a great game as you couldn’t play football,” admitted an upset Manolo Jiménez after the 1-0 home defeat to Málaga, the second of two such losses from three that also leaves Zaragoza without a goal in La Romareda.

Zero wins from three! Two points! Fourth from bottom! Worst league start in 13 seasons! None of that seems too positive at all for Valencia boss, Mauricio Pellegrino, at a club where the fans are notoriously impatient. But this must be countered with the fact that in those trio of matches, Valencia have faced trips to the Santiago Bernabeu and the Camp Nou and put on a decent showing in both games. Last weekend’s late points give-away against Deportivo is certainly letting the side down though.

Not exactly a blistering start to the campaign for the Catalan club with Espanyol sitting pointless at the bottom. It should have been a little bit better though but instead the side opted to throw away at 2-0 lead against what must have been a tired Levante, after their European exploits. “The game was ours after ten minutes,” sighed Mauricio Pochettino, “we didn’t know how to handle the match, atmosphere and the result after the first goal.” “I’m worried,” admitted the Perico boss.

A bit of an unfortunate start to the season for Osasuna who have just zero points to leave the side equal with Espanyol at the bottom-of-the-table. The latest defeat was a clash against Celta that the Pamplona outfit really could have polished off in the first half. Instead, some moments of sleepiness in the back four gave the three points to the opposition. “At key moments, we ran like headless chickens,” fumed José Luis Mendilibar who is set to be giving his charges a truly horrible fortnight until the next clash against Mallorca.