Good Day, Bad Day - Round 2
Well, LLL didnÃ¢ÂÂt see that one coming and anyone else who predicted Barcelona being butt-rumbled at the Camp Nou is a liar, liar, pants of fire - apart from HÃÂ©rcules coach, Esteban Vigo, who seemed fairly confident of pulling something spectacular off before the game.
Vigo apparently showed DVDÃ¢ÂÂs of the Inter v BarÃÂ§a clashes from last seasonÃ¢ÂÂs Champions League as inspiration ahead of the game and it seemed to do the trick with HÃÂ©rcules hustling away in midfield and counter-attacking with some panache.Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
New striker Nelson Valdez was certainly impressive, but what LLL is most looking forward to this season from HÃÂ©rcules is the sight of Bambi (whilst wasted) on ice Royston Drenthe getting regular run-outs during his loan spell from Real Madrid.
Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨It was the Dutch winger who whacked in the free-kick that caused so much BarÃÂ§a box based bedlam for the first goal and it was Drenthe who was grinning like the loon he is after the game after a cracking 2-0 win for his new team. Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
Now that was fun. After being stunned into a stupor at the Santiago Bernabeu, LLL returned to its abode to enjoy an immense footballing affair (the second half, anyway). A proper crowd and two teams going at each other like a couple of lagered up, love-struck chavs on the back seat of an East London bus. Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
The Rojiblancos came out on top - as it were - with a 2-1 win, with Marca noting that Ã¢ÂÂthis AtlÃÂ©tico is to be taken seriously.Ã¢ÂÂÃ¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
And thatÃ¢ÂÂs why JosÃÂ© Mourinho is at the Santiago Bernabeu. It was a game won by the narrowest of margins according to the 1-0 scoreline, but there was not a choc-ice in ManicheÃ¢ÂÂs freezerÃ¢ÂÂs chance of Osasuna getting anything from the game. Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
Of the two Madrid-based papers it was AS who were most critical with the standard of football served up on Saturday night. Ã¢ÂÂAt the moment, they are boring us, it has to be said loud and clear,Ã¢ÂÂ grumbled the AS editor, Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o, in SundayÃ¢ÂÂs edition.Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
The wonderfully loony mad Madridista, TomÃÂ¡s Roncero, was in agreement, but is willing to accept the whole Ã¢ÂÂpragmaticÃ¢ÂÂ nature of his teamÃ¢ÂÂs new football stylings. Ã¢ÂÂMourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs Madrid plays little football, is ugly, but theyÃ¢ÂÂve not lost a game since he began in the summer.Ã¢ÂÂÃ¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
Sometimes LLL wonders what everyone else is smoking. Especially those working on Spanish TV. The blog has now heard two stations comparing the perky performance from the German midfielder against Osasuna to something Guti would have produced.
Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨Considering the game from the goggle-eyed, gothic Goliath was industrious, fast-paced, tricksy and involved a fair amount of tackling back too, LLL would suggest that such comparisons with Lord Lazy Bones were somewhat wide of the mark. In the Fernando Gago taking a shot sense of the word Ã¢ÂÂwideÃ¢ÂÂ. Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
Golden Oldie GoaliesÃ¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
This crutch-clutching pair may have the knees made of wood and wonky backs but there were fine performances from OsasunaÃ¢ÂÂs Ricardo (38) in the Santiago Bernabeu and super CÃÂ©sar SÃÂ¡nchez (39) for Valencia on Saturday. Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
The PamplonansÃ¢ÂÂ man between the posts probably stopped a 3-0 defeat to Real Madrid with a couple of point blank saves from Gonzalo HiguaÃÂn, making him about the only Osasuna player to do anything even remotely noteworthy at the Bernabeu.Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
Meanwhile, SÃÂ¡nchez stopped everything that a surprisingly feisty Racing hurled at him. He even did a bit of hurling himself - in the abuse sense - with a whopping wail of whining at visiting Swedish striker Markus Rosenburg who, LLL can only imagine, had no idea of what was being yelled at him.Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
Villarreal may well be the most fun side to watch in la Primera, this season. For most of SundayÃ¢ÂÂs 4-0 tonking of Espanyol, the Madrigal outfit were pinging the ball about like nobodyÃ¢ÂÂs business. A fairly solid central midfield pairing of Marcos Senna and Bruno is allowing Borja Valero and the in-form Santi Cazorla to swarm about like the busiest of bees. Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
The match produced two goals from Twitter legend, Giuseppe Rossi, who revealed later that night how he celebrated a fine evening for himself and his team - Ã¢ÂÂbtw killed @JozyAltidore17 at Family Feud on the IPad...whattt!!!!Ã¢ÂÂÃ¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨LLL was not disappointed by the comic cameo from the great man on Sunday when the blog headed down to the Coliseum. GetafeÃ¢ÂÂs gangly goofball came on midway through the second half, did next to nothing, but then swung a boot at a free ball in injury time and scuffed it with such ÃÂ©lan that it confused everyone and dribbled into the back of the net to seal a 4-1 against Levante.
Ã¢ÂÂ¨pÃ¢ÂÂ¨Looked like the magic MÃÂ¡laga of two years ago with their first half 5-0 demolition of Zaragoza. Looked like the MÃÂ¡laga of last year by going on to concede three in the wackiest game of the weekend.Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
When LLL left for the Bernabeu to catch MadridÃ¢ÂÂs match which kicked off straight after the Camp Nou encounter, BarÃÂ§a were 1-0 behind to HÃÂ©rcules. But, like everyone else, the blog expected to see PepÃ¢ÂÂs Dream Boys well in control of the game after the initial blip by the time it reached the gates of Castle Greyskull.
Instead, the blog discovered that HÃÂ©rcules had doubled their lead and had it not been for the lamest shot ever from David Trezeguet, it would have been three for the visitors. Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨The BarÃÂ§a-barmy press no doubt had to do an awful lot of rewrites after the encounter, ditching the usual Ã¢ÂÂweÃ¢ÂÂre great, Madrid suckÃ¢ÂÂ pieces and were a little bit at a loss to explain away the defeat.
Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂThereÃ¢ÂÂs no excuses,Ã¢ÂÂ wrote Joan Batlle in Sport before proceeding to give long list of them including the Spain against Argentina game, the travel, the lack of preparation time and squad rotations.Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
A light touch to the face from the arm of David Trezeguet - who he was squaring up to - and he went down with the falling flat on the back, face-clutching antics that LLL was hoping had finally gone out of fashion with footballers. Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
Six goals conceded and naff-all points sees Levante at the bottom of the table already and with LLL having seen them up close and personal on Sunday, it is hard to see anything but relegation for the Valencia outfit. Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
The last time that the very cash-strapped club spent any money on a player was in 2007. Since then Levante have made 39 free signings.
And thatÃ¢ÂÂs why the line-up on Sunday made the visitors look like la LigaÃ¢ÂÂs version of The Expendables with familiar - and increasing old faces - such as Sergio Ballesteros, PallardÃÂ³, Javi Venta, Valdo and MunÃÂºa all getting a game. Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨Leo FrancoÃ¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨The former Atleti keeper made a quiet return to la Liga when joining Zaragoza over the summer.
The Argentinean has certainly been noticed now by conceding five first half goals against MÃÂ¡laga in a performance of high comedy.Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂThere are no explanations,Ã¢ÂÂ admitted Zaragoza coach JosÃÂ© Aurelio Gay after the 5-3 loss. Ã¢ÂÂAnything would be ridiculous.Ã¢ÂÂÃ¢ÂÂ¨Ã¢ÂÂ¨
A second 0-0 this season - the third in a row in la Primera, if you count last the campaign - sees Deportivo going for the no goals scored, but none conceded approach this season. A cunning plan indeed.
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