Hip Hop Hooray! One round of la Liga has now properly put to bed, with MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs match against AlmerÃÂa on Monday night rounding off the action - but don't even think about pausing for a moment to catch breath, as itÃ¢ÂÂs already time for another round to barely 23 hours later on Tuesday, with ten Primera games spread over three days and the usual family/job/sleep/deadline unfriendly scattering of ten oÃ¢ÂÂclock kick-offs. B*stards.
The final, final match of the last round was arguably the most important, if not the most intriguing, with megarich-pants (and pants at football) MÃÂ¡laga looking to take the massive step of moving from the bottom of la Primera to second-from-bottom by beating AlmerÃÂa in la Rosaleda.
For a while though it looked like MÃÂ¡laga wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt even manage that not-particularly-challenging feat with a horribly disjointed performance that had a great deal of thrust and panting to it without too much precision - indeed, AlmerÃÂa took the lead after just eight minutes. But MÃÂ¡laga got their act together in the second half - helped by two sendings off for AlmerÃÂa - and prevailed with a 3-1 win.
Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm happy about the victory, we needed that,Ã¢ÂÂ admitted a relieved Manuel Pellegrini who sported a tracksuit throughout the encounter which unsettled LLL somewhat.
The former Real Madrid manager now faces a clash against his old team in the Spanish capital on Thursday, with some two days less preparation than the home side and their poor wafer thin squad which is likely to have Karim Benzema, RaÃÂºl Albiol and KakÃÂ¡ kicking about on the bench, the poor bunnies.
AlmerÃÂa, on the other hand, are totally screwed, letÃ¢ÂÂs face it, no matter who they play now.
Round 26 leaps into life at 8pm Spanish time, with Espanyol at home once again and taking on Mallorca, a side who have lost eight on their travels in la Liga this year and a team LLL senses donÃ¢ÂÂt really give much of a hoot about winning away from the Balearics.
The Pericos are looking for the win which will take them over the 42 point barrier, a point at which Mauricio Pochettino hopes his fifth-placed team will push on, rather than start thinking about holidays, getting in more shagging time or the purchase of that fancy new brand of air pistol with which to shoot unsuspecting club employees that appears to be the new fad in football.
Ã¢ÂÂWe have to win another game - I hope itÃ¢ÂÂs the one against Mallorca - so weÃ¢ÂÂll be on 43 points, Ã¢ÂÂ said the optimistic Espanyol manager. Ã¢ÂÂFrom that point we can give everything in a fight for Europe.Ã¢ÂÂ
Sevilla are also going to need some Churchill-esque inspiration ahead of their clash with Sporting at ten, with Gregorio ManzanoÃ¢ÂÂs men just squeezed into seventh place but with the sound of the gnashing teeth of AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid, Real Sociedad and Getafe not far behind them.
Actually, whoÃ¢ÂÂs LLL kidding? Out of those three teams, the first is a mess from top to bottom that spent Ã¢ÂÂ¬9 million on players they don't ever use during the winter; one thatÃ¢ÂÂs just looking to stay up - which is fair enough, really - and Getafe, who are to consistency what JosÃÂ© Mourinho is to being humble and taking things on the chin.
FIXTURES Tuesday Espanyol v Mallorca, Sevilla v Sporting Wednesday Zaragoza v Athletic Bilbao, Letafe v AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid, Villarreal v HÃÂ©rcules, Osasuna v Deportivo, Real Sociedad v Levante, Valencia v Barcelona Thursday AlmerÃÂa v Racing Santander, Real Madrid v MÃÂ¡laga.
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