Good Day, Bad Day - Round 23

Good Day

Manuel Pellegrini

Cristiano Ronaldo may have been elevated into sun-shining-from-his-waxed-posterior deity status by the Madridista press after Sunday’s fine display against Villarreal, but La Liga Loca is so sick of the sight of the pouting ponce that it is going to give its Monday pat on the back to the more deserving Manuel Pellegrini, instead.

The Madrid coach has been through a heck of a week with his very absent superstars letting him down against Lyon and Marca doing their damnedest to poke the Third Choice Chilean in the back with a journalistic breadstick at every opportunity, since.

Sunday’s pre-match editorial blasted Pellegrini for responding to his critics by opining that, statistically speaking, he was leading Madrid’s finest team for 15 years and by noting quite rightly that “in the last six years, [Real Madrid] has changed coach seven or eight times and have not got past the last 16 in the Champions League and have only managed two titles from a possible 15.”

Marca responded to such uppity impudence from a manager that Florentino Pérez is desperate to see the back off by plonking José Mourinho’s face on Friday’s front cover and claiming two days later that calling for Pellegrini to be sacked “is not an insult, nor an attack on something so subjective as football.”

Sunday’s headline in the Pérez-run paper also called the Villarreal clash “Pellegrini’s Judgement.”

The six-goal reply is Pellegrini’s two-fingered response to his cretinous critics.

Real Madrid

The 6-2 win sees the side move to the top of Marca’s “Alternative League Table” with a two point lead over their Catalan rivals.

What’s more, the paper’s resident referee Rafa Guerrero writes that both of Madrid’s penalties against Villarreal were great decisions from the man in the middle, despite the second being a complete dive from Ronaldo and the first being more than a little questionable.

But La Liga Loca will allow it due to Gonzalo Higuaín's general brilliance.

Pep’s Goal-Shy Dream Boys

Racing may have shown as much resistance as Ever Banega watching a Giselle Bundchen bath time web cast on Saturday, but that should not prevent some kind words from the blog to support Barcelona’s four scorers.

Andrés Iniesta had not done it since May, Thierry Henry and Rafa Márquez had only managed it four times between them this season, whilst Thiago was doing it for the first time in his life on his debut - scoring goals for Barcelona, that is.

The latter was so excited by the event that he ran to the bench to celebrate with his Barça buddy Jonathan Dos Santos, an action that Guardiola has since punished by dropping Thiago from the squad travelling to Stuttgart in the Champions League.

“He should just embrace his colleagues and get on with the job,” warned the Catalan coach. “We have to bring him back to earth.”

Riki!!!!!!

For a moment, the Deportivo striker looked like he was going to fall into the biggest of Primera panics.

Due to a defensive slip-up, Riki!!!!!! was one-on-one with Xerez keeper, Renan.

But Riki!!!!!! remembered his training and did what he does best - close his eyes, hit the ball as hard as possible and hope for the best.

Normally, it is an approach to the art of striking that rarely works for the former Getafe man, but this time it put Deportivo into a 2-0 lead over their visitors after just seven minutes.

Jesús Navas

Another tremendous display from Navas who dragged his team through their 3-1 win over Mallorca - the first side to manage this in the Ono Estadi in the league this season.

Sevilla had been reduced to 10 men after the rather harsh sending off of Alvaro Negredo, but Navas pulled through by responding to Mallorca’s opener with a goal of his own and a late assist for Diego Perotti.

Málaga

Thanks to Espanyol being wetter than pretty much anywhere in Spain at the moment on their travels this season, Málaga grabbed their third victory in four and made it an admirable run of just one defeat from 14.

Gaizka Toquero

Cheered and championed by the Athletic Bilbao fans like a three-legged-dog fetching a stick, the former Alaves and Eibar man is a bit of cult hero in San Mamés.

Not exactly the most prolific of strikers with just one goal in the league last season, some crucial cup goals and the occasional brilliant finish sees Toquero as popular as big, floppy berets and peeing on Belgians at the Basque club, these days.

On Sunday, the forward won a penalty and scored his side’s second in the 4-1 win over Tenerife that moves Athletic tantalisingly close to the top six.

Sporting

Visiting manager Manuel Preciado claimed that he fancied his side to pick up a win against Zaragoza on Sunday.

And a win it was for Sporting with the home team going back to their pre-Gay hapless ways in the 3-1 defeat.

Pablo Piatti

The young Almería striker had been stuck in La Liga Loca’s shoe box marked “flimsy Argentinean that came far too early to Europe” and like Gonzalo Higuaín and Ever Banega before him, has scrambled out.

Piatti has benefited from new Almería boss Juanma Lillo taking advantage of his extra-ordinary pace and scored for the second successive game - this time the late winner in the narrow victory over Atlético Madrid.

Bad Day

Atlético Madrid

The poor old nearer-the-relegation-zone-than-Europe Rojiblancos expended so much luck and energy in last weekend’s 2-1 win over Barcelona, that the rest of the campaign could well see a string of ever-so-unfortunate events such as Diego Forlán turning into a block of Red Leicester - an improvement to his current form - and the Vicente Calderón stadium being buried under a glacier.

Atleti were passable and decent enough against Almería but fell to a late goal from Piatti and saw Quique Sánchez Flores being sent off for some rag-losing touchline action.

“I want to apologise to my team, the fans and the management,” blubbed Quique who normally has the phrase “on behalf of” rather than “to” in that particular statement to the press.

Villarreal

Weren’t as bad as the 6-2 scoreline suggested but appear to have done something, somewhere, to rub the referees up the wrong way this season, with Villarreal having conceded nine penalties in the current campaign.

Tenerife, Xerez

The former still can't win away. The latter still can’t win, although are by no means the worst bottom-of-the-table side to have graced the Primera in recent seasons.

Dudu Aouate

The Mallorca goalkeeper’s pre-match tactic of having his brain replaced with a yo-yo didn’t quite come off as well as Aouate was expecting.

The Israeli goalie had a shocker in Mallorca’s 3-1 defeat to Sevilla having coming flying out of goal only to miss the ball for Sevilla’s equalising effort and completely misjudge Ivica Dragutinovic’s floaty free-kick.

Didier Zokora

The red-carded Sevilla midfielder was unfortunate enough to come up against a linesman who fully understood his charming English insult of “f*ck your mother” after a contentious decision.

Racing

There must have been nothing so morale-boosting for the Barcelona players than the sight of Newcastle legend, Xisco, leading the line for Racing in the Camp Nou, on Saturday.

The Cantabrian club might as well have stuck Hilary Clinton in the number 15 shirt for all the good it did.

Gorosito

The Xerez coach managed a fine innings of four minutes before being sent off during the 2-1 defeat to Deportivo for ranting at the ref.

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