Good Day, Bad Day: Simeone admits hating words, Clásico makes everybody happy
RESULTS Fri 5 Oct Celta Vigo 2-0 Sevilla Sat 6 Oct Real Betis 2-0 Real Sociedad, Real Valladolid 1-1 Espanyol, Real Zaragoza 0-1 Getafe, Rayo Vallecano 2-1 Deportivo Sun 7 Oct Atletico Madrid 2-1 Malaga, Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Osasuna, Mallorca 1-2 Granada, Levante 1-0 Valencia.
Barcelona & Real Madrid
Bravo, bowler hats in the air and hip-hip-hooray for a cracking ClÃÂ¡sico contest that showed both teams at their best and, as a nice little bonus, left everybody with something to be happy about. Barcelona keep their plump eight point lead at the top of the table - something they would've taken very happily had it been offered at the beginning of the campaign. Yet Real Madrid will feel cutting that the task of cutting that lead back is very much doable. Indeed, in an alternate universe, the gap was not far off from being just three, with Barcelona picking up late points against Granada and Sevilla in recent matches which could have easily gone against the Catalan club.
La Liga Loca is also a happy clapper as Spain is going into the international break without anyone appearing to be sad, either. And no eye-poking either.
Own goal in the last minute that sees one team losing all three points? In previous years you would've put your mortgage on it being AtlÃÂ©tico and probably Diego GodÃÂn suffering such foot-blowing off misfortune. However, this is Super-AtlÃÂ©tico and such days appear to be long in the past. Instead it was MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs Welligton who bundled the ball into the back of his own net in injury time (although, to be fair, Falcao would have got to it anyway), helping AtlÃÂ©tico wind up 2-1 winners and moving to second in the table on the same points as Barcelona.
Diego Simeone declared himself to be happy after the game, but it was nothing more than that for the tough-talking trainer. Ã¢ÂÂOur objective now is Real Sociedad. I donÃ¢ÂÂt like words, I like actions and actions send us to San Sebastian.Ã¢ÂÂ Grr.
The game against Real Sociedad was an odd affair all round, with a power cut at the very start - not an iffy Rayo-style one, but across the barrio - and a corner flag being snapped when a player missed the ball. Nevertheless, the victory over Real Sociedad puts the team into the Champions League places, a splendid achievement even if it is still only October. WhatÃ¢ÂÂs more, Betis are higher up the table than Sevilla. A fine tongue-sticking out moment if ever there was one.
Two goals in the past two games for the Sporting man gives Getafe two wins. Beautifully symmetrical.
Saturday's fixture in Vallecas saw something happen that must have had the bigwigs who run the Spanish game scratching their dunderheaded scalps. RayoÃ¢ÂÂs clash against Deportivo was played at the people-friendly time of four in the afternoon, while the club decided to sell tickets to members for under Ã¢ÂÂ¬10. The result was a truly packed and rocking stadium, which pushed a limited home team to victory against even more limited visitors. After three straight defeats, Rayo really needed the 2-1 victory to avoid heading into the international break on a bit of a downer.
Another great strike from LevanteÃ¢ÂÂs new super-striker inspired a 1-0 win over big brothers, Valencia. Martins chased down a huge hoof up the field from goalkeeper Gustavo MunÃÂºa like a pugnacious puppy, shrugged off the defender and wellied in LevanteÃ¢ÂÂs wonderful winner.
If thereÃ¢ÂÂs one thing LLL loves (aside from pork pies), itÃ¢ÂÂs rampant enthusiasm. Okay, that's not strictly true, but letÃ¢ÂÂs jettison that thought for the purpose of praising Celta Vigo. After FridayÃ¢ÂÂs 2-0 win over Sevilla, Celta coach Paco Herrera claimed that on its day his team Ã¢ÂÂcan beat anyoneÃ¢ÂÂ. This could mean we are set for a lively encounter in the Santiago Bernabeu in a fortnightuÃ¢ÂÂs time with Celta hopefully bringing their best back of tricks to the Spanish capital in a contest against Europa League chasing Real Madrid.
The Andalusians are showing some stones with back-to-back victories. SundayÃ¢ÂÂs win over Mallorca was down to a little bit of help from the referee for getting a penalty for a foul outside of the box, but the performance was nonetheless impressive enough.
To Athletic fans, the forward is the poor manÃ¢ÂÂs Fernando Llorente, who continues his semi-exile from the starting line-up, however the striker would have had many a beer bought from him in Bilbao on Sunday with a tidy strike to give Athletic a desperately needed 1-0 win over Osasuna and give Marcelo Bielsa more squatting and squinting time in the technical areas of la Liga.
After all the recent excitement of the beating Real Madrid and coming oh-so-close to doing the same to Barcelona, it was the old, floppy Sevilla who lost out to Celta Vigo. Despite the team being without the suspended Ivan Rakitic and Gary Medel, Michel the Manager took the defeat on his perfectly proportioned chin. Ã¢ÂÂWe canÃ¢ÂÂt offer up this performance after all the good weÃ¢ÂÂve done in the past six rounds. We were bad and thereÃ¢ÂÂs nothing else to be said.Ã¢ÂÂ
Still quite, quite hopeless away from home.
The men from Mestalla continued their lousy start to the season with a defeat to the accursed Levante, for the first time in the past four league trips over the fence and into their neighbours' back yard. Ã¢ÂÂAfter the goal we played the game that Levante wanted and we made mistakes,Ã¢ÂÂ complained the very under-fire coach, Mauricio Pellegrino, whose team are just two points off the relegation zone.
Losing at home to Getafe could be very costly indeed come the end of the season. Or not, if they pick up loads of points between now and then...
May as well have played the first half with cardboard cut-outs of the players being pulled about on ropes. Deportivo started the season so brightly and with such promise but now find themselves in the relegation zone with just the single victory from seven.
A point at Valladolid doesnÃ¢ÂÂt really do the bottom-dwellers much good. However it could have been very different for the under pressure Pericos if a perfectly good injury time strike hadnÃ¢ÂÂt been wrongly ruled out for offside.