Good Day, Bad Day - Round 3
Poor Valencia. Three wins from three, a tricky derby victory away at HÃÂ©rcules and the best start to the season since the 1993/94 campaign, and yet itÃ¢ÂÂs Leo MessiÃ¢ÂÂs brand new ankle joint and JosÃÂ© MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs will-he, wonÃ¢ÂÂt-he, who the frack really cares hullaballoo about becoming manager of Portugal for a fortnight thatÃ¢ÂÂs making the biggest waves in Spain on Monday. That and Maniche testing out the pool in his new Costa del Sol complex.
But La Liga Loca isnÃ¢ÂÂt going to let the men from Mestalla down after a 2-1 win which produced two of the best strikes youÃ¢ÂÂll see this weekend from Juan Mata and Pablo HernÃÂ¡ndez. (Highlights here).
The encounter against AtlÃÂ©tico was grubby and grinding, stoppy and starty, but excellent nonetheless and a good chance for Barcelona to battle away, get their cojones out in the Spanish capital and test a most curious formation that had Sergi Busquets playing the central role in a back three in front of a midfield four when BarÃÂ§a were in possession of the ball.
But enough of such tactical musings, which LLL doesnÃ¢ÂÂt really understand anyway. A win for PepÃ¢ÂÂs Dream Boys in the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n (Highlights here), a stadium where BarÃÂ§a have had troubles in recent years, is not to be sniffed at - especially in front of a wonderfully boisterous, barmy home crowd that was on the back of the referee from the opening seconds of the game.
Unfortunately, due to the blog's 'vantage point' a mere eight miles away from the pitch, LLL has no idea if the CalderÃÂ³n crazies were in their right minds for once.
David De Gea
How does David De Gea spent his Sunday evening after a brilliant performance against Barcelona? By driving back to his home village to hang out with his parents and grandfather Manolo, perhaps even taking the dog for a walk the next morning, thatÃ¢ÂÂs how. A man after La Liga LocaÃ¢ÂÂs very boring, fairly unsociable, stranger-hating heart.
As Pep Guardiola said after the game, Barcelona put in Ã¢ÂÂscandalousÃ¢ÂÂ performance with De Gea perhaps preventing a 5-1 defeat. Although the showy shot-stoppers were certainly impressive, it was a De Gea dive at the foot of MessiÃ¢ÂÂs still functioning feet that was the best of the bunch.
LLL is never really sure it actually holds water with the Ã¢ÂÂhad lots of chances unlucky not to winÃ¢ÂÂ theory of football that it has often used in the past. Real Sociedad's Antoine Griezmann had two very, very good opportunities to score in the first half on Saturday, afterwards claiming that he woudln't be able to sleep much that night because of his French footballing failings.
But Real Madrid took their chances - a lovely swooping effort from Angel di MarÃÂa on his wrong foot and a brilliantly-orchestrated free-kick routine between Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo (that's if the early editions of Marca are to be believed).
The result, if not the performance, was evidence enough for TomÃÂ¡s Roncero in AS to state that Madrid will be title contenders this year, with the crazy columnist writing that Ã¢ÂÂitÃ¢ÂÂs these matches that win leagues.Ã¢ÂÂ
Even SportÃ¢ÂÂs anti-Madridista mask slipped a little with LluÃÂs MascarÃÂ³ going into sulk mode with his declaration on Sunday that MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs men Ã¢ÂÂwill be able to win matches and titles but theyÃ¢ÂÂll never put on a show like GuardiolaÃ¢ÂÂs team do every week." (Highlights here).
Pat on the back time for a referee, with LLL joining JosÃÂ© Mourinho in applauding the man in the middle for the Real Sociedad clash for his light touch in a feisty encounter that many of his card-loving colleagues would have ruined.
Ã¢ÂÂThe mentality of the referee was spectacular,Ã¢ÂÂ said Mourinho. Ã¢ÂÂHe was a very English referee in a tough game.Ã¢ÂÂ
La Liga LocalÃ¢ÂÂs Flat
Old mobile bills. Crusty clothes. Dust under the bed. The fruit bins in the fridge. Hair in the bath. A huge pile of newspapers. Damaging DNA evidence.
All these were taken care of on Saturday afternoon as Mallorca against Osasuna droned away on TV in the background. Thanks to these two tedious teams, the blogÃ¢ÂÂs penthouse has never looked better.
Sporting, Athletic Bilbao
However, a very early spring clean was curtailed when this enthralling clash of teams determined to go for the jugular kicked off straight after the bore-fest in the Balearics.
The end-to-end English style face-off finished 2-2 - the right result according to Sporting manager, Manuel Preciado. Ã¢ÂÂIt would have been unfair if either team had lost,Ã¢ÂÂ he reasoned.
Goals from the unwanted Camp Nou pair of Henrique and Martin CÃÂ¡ceres lead to much-needed wins for Racing Santander and Sevilla respectively. Curiously, both are centre-backs, a position where Barcelona are a little bit light this season.
One line of praise for Villarreal, today, as a win at Levante isnÃ¢ÂÂt worthy of too much more...
A 1-0 victory for Espanyol against AlmerÃÂa that opposition coach, Juanma Lillo, huffed was Ã¢ÂÂa goalless draw and nothing moreÃ¢ÂÂ, constitutes a spectacular show in El Prat-land, these days. HereÃ¢ÂÂs one of SundayÃ¢ÂÂs punters, Paul from Barcelona.
Ã¢ÂÂA pretty dour match of few chances, the best ones falling to Espanyol. A well taken goal by Callejon seemed to take a deflection on its way in. Well, you'd think so by Diego Alves' reaction but the footage was inconclusive. As it was Callejon shooting I ducked and covered in my seat 21 rows back so I missed it.
AlmerÃÂa were very poor. Lacked any form of guile and kicked anything that moved. Usual rubbish referee and assistants. Sergio GarcÃÂa didn't look too bad and I'll give Callejon MOTM just for the goal as nobody stood out. A solid enough performance by Espanyol whose minimum was too much for AlmerÃÂa (40-odd away fans).Ã¢ÂÂ
May well be pulling out of that return visit to the Camp Nou, this season, with a sudden hamstring twinge after that ankle-snapping lunge on Leo Messi on Sunday night.
The LLL curse strikes again. A day after the blog was praising the Athletic keeper to the highest of heavens, Gorka had an absolute Ã¢ÂÂmare against Sporting and gifted the first goal to the home side by dropping the ball at the feet of the admirably alert Miguel de las Cuevas. (Highlights here).
JosÃÂ© Antonio Camacho
The Osasuna boss didnÃ¢ÂÂt really get the chance to explain away a third match without a goal in the 2-0 defeat against Mallorca as there was a large advert parked right in front of CamachoÃ¢ÂÂs face in the post match press conference meaning that only the tippy top of his head was visible.
The polite thing to write is that the French striker now plying his trade at HÃÂ©rcules is still finding his Gallic feet in la Primera after three more whopping chances were missed, to go with the open goal effort blown against Barcelona, last weekend. However, LLL suspects Trezeguet will be reaching double figures, this season.
Thanks to a very alert camera man from Gol TV on Saturday night, Real Madrid fans were able to enjoy the sight of Cristiano Ã¢ÂÂno me in teamÃ¢ÂÂ Ronaldo reacting to his free-kick - and subsequent winning goal - by walking away in a huff and slamming his hands into his sides in frustration. It needed a shove and a Ã¢ÂÂwhatÃ¢ÂÂs wrong with you hug?Ã¢ÂÂ from Marcelo before Ronaldo broke into a half-hearted smile.
Ã¢ÂÂAn individualist and wrong on most of his decisions,Ã¢ÂÂ wrote AS on the forwardÃ¢ÂÂs performance against La Real.
The Valencia clubÃ¢ÂÂs wonderfully dotty defense was on display again, on Sunday, with Villarreal twice putting through goal-grabbing balls that left the going backwards back four a long way behind. (Highlights here).
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