Good Day, Bad Day: Villa returns, Málaga's boy wonder, no-sweat for Jose
RESULTS Sat 18 Aug Celta Vigo 0-1 Malaga, Sevilla 2-1 Getafe, Mallorca 2-1 Espanyol Sun 19 Aug Athletic Bilbao 3-5 Real Betis, Real Madrid 1-1 Valencia, Barcelona 5-1 Real Sociedad, Levante 1-1 Atletico Madrid.
As JosÃÂ© Mourinho was preparing to explain away a draw and a poor performance from Cristiano Ronaldo at the Santiago Bernabeu, Barcelona and Messi were already tanning Real SociedadÃ¢ÂÂs hides in a performance that was, as the Spanish like to say, a real thump on the table. However, context and timing is everything in this case - supporters shouldnÃ¢ÂÂt get too overexcited and smug yet, as this is a result that could have taken place just as easily in January as the first clash of the new campaign.
A fine night for the returning forward, who scored just ten minutes after coming onto the pitch as a second half substitute. Woot!
The league campaign opener for the Argentinean saw HiguaÃÂn equalling the real RonaldoÃ¢ÂÂs total of 104 official goals for Real Madrid. Ã¢ÂÂShame it took him six yearsÃ¢ÂÂ was the typically sniffy response from MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs Miguel Serrano, never the biggest of fans of the RamÃÂ³n CalderÃÂ³n-signed footballer.
JosÃÂ© MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs deodorant
When the Real Madrid manager arrived on the touch-line in a light blue shirt with temperatures topping 40 degrees, LLL was certain it was going to be icky, soggy pits ahoy. But once again, LLL was proved wrong in its predictions, with Mourinho as fresh as a daisy during SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs draw.
LLL has been a fan of the Valencia keeper from back in his AlmerÃÂa days, so very much enjoyed a masterful performance in which nearly everything Real Madrid chucked the BrazilianÃ¢ÂÂs way was blocked. Even the home sideÃ¢ÂÂs goal took three attempts thanks to a double intervention from Alves. Ã¢ÂÂJust doing my job,Ã¢ÂÂ whistled the goalkeeper after the game.
The Cameroon striker became the leagueÃ¢ÂÂs youngest scorer at just 16 years and 98 days, beating the scrunch-faced Iker Muniain in the process, so a fine pat on the back for the wee nipper. But perhaps what should also be making the headlines is the fact that MÃÂ¡laga, who started the summer with talk of Gonzalo HiguaÃÂn up front, are currently reliant on goals from a youth academy player, whose residency permit they forgot to renew last week meaning the club was blooming lucky he was even able to play against Celta Vigo in SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs win.
Ã¢ÂÂGood things and bad things,Ã¢ÂÂ were the musings of MÃÂchel the Manager after SevillaÃ¢ÂÂs 2-1 win over Getafe. The good being a sprightly show from Ivan Rakitic, who recently admitted that he needed to pull his Croatian socks up, and a fine diving performance from JosÃÂ© Antonio Reyes in winning a penalty for SevillaÃ¢ÂÂs second goal, that was converted by Alvaro Negredo.
The Israeli striker scored a brace on his league debut for Mallorca - one goal on the Saturday night of the 11pm kick-off and one strike on the Sunday. Welcome to Spain. Not the most sensible of times, was the verdict of JoaquÃÂn CaparrÃÂ³s on the scheduling of Saturday game.
LLL must admit that this 11pm kick-off was recorded on the grounds that the blog has better things to do - such as sleep. It is running in the background at the moment and the game appears to be just drifting by. Which is not that surprising, really. Still, itÃ¢ÂÂs an early point for Levante and a sign that the team could be as resilient as ever.
The Seville side really do play some lovely stuff when they are in the mood and the opposition defence stands off as much as AthleticÃ¢ÂÂs did in SundayÃ¢ÂÂs completely mad 5-3 victory. Defending set-pieces is still an issue though, as Betis found when Mikel San JosÃÂ© headed in two corners, but as Pepe Mel admitted, Ã¢ÂÂlast season we were the second smallest team in Europe.Ã¢ÂÂ They still are, apparently.
A sluggish, disinterested display against Valencia from the forward who admits that the season has come a little bit too early for him. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm not 100%, but I hope to get there soon,Ã¢ÂÂ said the Portuguese, who summed up the performance of the whole team who, as JosÃÂ© Mourinho said, did enough to win the match with the chances created but werenÃ¢ÂÂt that great over all.
ItÃ¢ÂÂs never pleasant to lose at home on the opening day, especially to a newly promoted team, but Celta fans have enough reason to be fairly pleased by the performance of the players, if not SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs result. Ã¢ÂÂWe matched a Champions League team,Ã¢ÂÂ noted Iago Aspas who was one of a few to miss chances in the 1-0 defeat. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm getting kicked less in la Primera than the Segunda,Ã¢ÂÂ was another sunbeam of hope for the forward.
More dropped points away from home, this time against Levante. Ã¢ÂÂWe wanted more, but we are starting with a point against a rival who are very organised, so itÃ¢ÂÂs not all bad,Ã¢ÂÂ admitted Diego Simeone.
With the transfer speculation and fan animosity surrounding Fernando Llorente and Javi MartÃÂnez causing Marcelo Bielsa to drop the pair for SundayÃ¢ÂÂs Betis clash, LLL suspected that an away win or at least a draw was on the cards for the visitors. It was sort of right on both counts, but it certainly didnÃ¢ÂÂt expect such an awful start for Athletic who conceded three first half goals before pulling things back and then conceding two more late on to lose 5-3. Worrying signs of a tough second season for El Loco in San MamÃÂ©s.