La Liga LocaÃ¢ÂÂs Good Day, Bad Day - Round 31
Some 24 hours after the final whistle had blown on el ClÃÂ¡sico, pundits on Spanish TV were still pulling apart every shot, every tackle and every save from SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs game.
But there was no real point. The simple fact of the matter is that Barcelona are much better at playing football than Madrid. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs that.
That may well change in the seasons to come due the cyclical nature of Spanish football but, for now, the Bernabeu outfit have an awful lot of catching up to do in terms of playing as a team and not choking every time a meaningful match comes like a more expensive version of Spurs.
In truth, Barcelona were not that great, on Saturday night.
But they were good enough, with Pep Guardiola in masterful form yelling from the touchline, smacking his players around the back of the head - apart from the fragile bonce of AndrÃÂ©s Iniesta, lest it fall off - and deciding to experiment with madcap tactical schemes in what was a fairly important game.
To tell you the truth, the Good Day section is going to be fairly brief today, despite praise due to ValdÃÂ©s, Messi, PiquÃÂ© and Xavi. And Mallorca.
However, the blog is far too much in a mood for ranting and raving. But Villarreal do get an honourable mention after their third league win in a row ekes them towards the Champions League places, which is now a very obtainable five points away.
Not normally one for Messi-esque moves, the strapping Athletic midfielder was all with the fancy-footwork with his second against AlmerÃÂa in the 4-1 crushing of the southern side.
It was in a match that saw yet another soft penalty being given to the Basque club and yet another spot-kick save from Diego Alves who has managed seven stops from 13, this season.
This effort from the Osasuna midfielder was rather tasty too...
Despite the burning desire to unleash hell on some deserving targets, the blog can still find time and space for Paul from Barcelona, for his possible debut in the Good Day section of LLL this season after the PericosÃ¢ÂÂ 3-0 win over Espanyol.
Ã¢ÂÂDidn't see that coming. Best performance of the season and the biggest win, totally deserved against a strangely (you need to watch them more - LLL) subdued AtlÃÂ©tico.
De Gea was their best player making two great saves in the first half. Apart from one fantastic one-on-one stop from Kameni to deny Kun, it was all one way traffic. Callejon had a good day, as did Chica and Osvaldo but for me Verdu ran the game in the second half.
Points of note:
About 300 AtlÃÂ©tico fans watched, at times, a lifeless performance from their team.
The usual refereeing garbage and a linesman who had the same eyesight as the bats flying above the pitch (good gag, Nick). It was awful, probably the most incompetent I've seen until next week against Barcelona.
Osvaldo's yellow was a thing of beauty.
Not wanting to miss the big one, next Saturday, with two mins to go he pretended to take a throw-in and just waited till he got booked, therefore being suspended for Racing on Wednesday and but free to face BarÃÂ§a. That's hotting up nicely.
A question. Why does (local TV channel) TV3 insist on showing groups of co-called "BarÃÂ§a fans" milling around monuments, not watching the match and then interviewing these morons about the match? Hats off to the CulÃÂ© who started the Facebook group against these fair weather prats.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo HiguaÃÂn
It will be the Argentinean striker that will be largely blamed for the defeat with Miguel Serrano already arguing in Marca that Ã¢ÂÂthe bigger the game, the smaller Pipita becomesÃ¢ÂÂ but both HiguaÃÂn and his supposed striking buddy were as ineffective as each other in another example of what is becoming the most dysfunctional of partnerships.
Part of the problem for Madrid was that both players spent much of the game hundreds of miles from each other, on either flank, with no-one in between.
And this lead to passes having to sneak by the entire Barcelona backline to have any chance of being converted.
This also lead to the familiar sight of both running aimlessly at the Catalan defence hoping to score the goal of the season but falling down at the feet of PiquÃÂ© and Puyol, instead.
Doomed, doomed, doomed. And, to be fair, it is becoming increasingly hard to defend the Real Madrid coach. Manuel Pellegrini has still to find a playing system that is familiar to his footballers - best typified by that hapless first half against AtlÃÂ©tico two weeks ago - and the manager has repeatedly failed when it has mattered most this season.
The Chilean received the dreaded zero points in MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs weekend ratings with the paper calling for his sacking on both the front and back pages.
AS are more level-headed on the affair with MondayÃ¢ÂÂs editorial noting that Ã¢ÂÂfiring the coach and accumulating yet more Galacticos doesnÃ¢ÂÂt guarantee anything.Ã¢ÂÂ It also notes that the title race is far from over when looked at dispassionately.
But the big problem is that Madrid put so much stock into beating Barcelona at the Bernabeu, that thereÃ¢ÂÂs a real danger that the final seven matches of the season could be a whopping disaster for a side that may well have given up already.
According to a brilliantly-conceived column in SundayÃ¢ÂÂs AS, FrÃÂ©dÃÂ©ric Hermel regressed to the intellectual level of an eight-year-old by claiming that SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs result would have been very different had KakÃÂ¡ been playing instead of Rafael van der Vaart, as the Brazilian would surely have scored the one-on-one chance with Victor ValdÃÂ©s that the Dutchman missed.
Following the FrenchmanÃ¢ÂÂs logic, the blog would like to point out that had KakÃÂ¡ not been hiding out in the sickroom for the past two months or so like a big girlÃ¢ÂÂs blouse, then maybe Ã¢ÂÂHe who belongs to GodÃ¢ÂÂ would have been of some use on Saturday?
Then again, had Florentino PÃÂ©rez not chosen to sell Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, over the summer, for the simple reason that they were RamÃÂ³n CalderÃÂ³n signings, then maybe one of these two in-form footballers might have scored, too?
Apologies in advance for the language but it has been a really, really sh*tty week for Valencia. ThereÃ¢ÂÂs no other way to describe it.
Knocked out of the Europa League by an outrageous refereeing decision, beaten by Mallorca at the Ono Estadi and now officially out of the title race - something they tried so, so hard in - with Barcelona now 24 points clear with just seven games left.
Unhappy at being substituted, the Valencia midfielder walked straight into the touchline-prowling Unai Emery, before sitting on the bench to be yelled at by his coach to such a degree that he ended up on the brink of tears.
Ã¢ÂÂThis kind of disrespect to Valencia cannot be allowed,Ã¢ÂÂ fumed Unai Emery with his naughty charge promising that such infantile behaviour will not be repeated.
MÃÂ¡laga and Sevilla
The opening 45 minutes was so filled with niggling fouls and outrageous faking that the blog simply didnÃ¢ÂÂt know whether it was delighted with the spectacle or appalled.
The first half of the Andalusian derby had 25 fouls and saw just 19 minutes of football being played. The rest was filled with players going to ground clutching their faces - which seems to happen an awful lot more these days - and trying to get their opponents sent off.
It was a stark reminder that footballers are, for the most part, cheating little sods.
None more so than MÃÂ¡laga midfielder, Duda, who responded to running into an opponent like a big eejit by falling to the floor, rolling five times to his right (the blog counted) and four times to his left before banging into an unimpressed referee and spinning on the spot like a hamster running its ball into a door.
What could loosely described as a game of football was largely rubbish with MÃÂ¡laga taking the lead after an AndrÃÂ©s Palop spill, Sevilla equalising after a Gustavo MunÃÂºa spill, but the visitors eventually winning through a Lolo (and whatÃ¢ÂÂs wrong with your real name, Manuel Ortiz?) effort from a set-piece.
Whilst it was tremendously entertaining to see the red-faced, salty old sea dog, Javier Clemente, back in the coaching business again, at Valladolid, he could do nothing to prevent a goalless draw at Tenerife that doesnÃ¢ÂÂt do a great deal for either his teamÃ¢ÂÂs or the oppositionÃ¢ÂÂs chances of avoiding relegation.
A long ball hoof from the goalkeeper and a stumbled effort from Riki!!! (despite his best efforts to fall on his ar*e in the process and whack the ball into the stands) put Deportivo into a shock 1-0 lead after just 30 seconds against Racing, on Sunday.
And the home sideÃ¢ÂÂs cunning plan of hanging on for dear life from that point so nearly paid off. But it was not to be with RacingÃ¢ÂÂs splendidly named Toni Moral equalising with just seven minutes to go.
LLL simply wonÃ¢ÂÂt be a part this Ã¢ÂÂarenÃ¢ÂÂt AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid having a great season?!Ã¢ÂÂ nonsense that is starting to slip into the pages of SpainÃ¢ÂÂs football dailies - the writers of which appear to be on crack.
Atleti are 40 points off the top of the table and failed to pick up only their third away victory of the current league campaign, by losing 3-0 to Espanyol on Sunday night.
Atleti have played 12 games in Europe, this season, but have won just one of them. Yet, they have found themselves in the semifinals of the Europa League in the same way that Arizmendi sometimes stumbles into goalscoring positions through pure, blind luck.
WhatÃ¢ÂÂs more, Atleti are in the Copa del Rey final after having nothing more challenging than Marbella, Recreativo, Celta and Racing stuck in front of them in the run-in. And they still managed to lose two of those eight ties.
The entire squad should be thrown into a gulag, not showered with praise.
Basic standards of journalism
These are the three questions that the TV reporter of the headline national channel, TVE1, put to Espanyol striker, Osvaldo, after his teamÃ¢ÂÂs Sunday evening victory.
1) Was the win against AtlÃÂ©tico important?
2) Are you glad you scored?
3) Are you hoping to score against Barcelona?
The answer to this oh-so-insightful trio of probes was yes, yes and yes before the Perico poacher shuffled off.
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