La Liga Review 2010/11: Madrid’s solid season and Racing’s AWOL owner

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Our man in Madrid, Tim Stannard, continues his round-up of the 2010/11 Primera Liga season...


Final Position - 17th
LLL Prediction - 13th

Mallorca’s last day scrap against relegation was more than a little freakish considering the Balearic club hadn’t been below 13th since the fourth round of league matches. Until that point, LLL was set to be in full patronising, back tickling mode splurging about what a great job Michael Laudrup had done in managing a team that was in administration and reeling from the traditional fire sale of all its best players.

But that’s still the feeling the blog despite the last day scare that saw Mallorca being a Deportivo goal away from probable oblivion, as the late worries were mainly caused by the side making it to 42 points by the end of April and then assuming the job was done, picking up just two more in the final five matches.

Highlight Gnarly old Cameroon pro Pierre Webo having his best season in eight years of la Primera with 11 goals. Plus the emergence of Emilio Nsue up front.

Lowlight Mallorca fans calling their most influential player last year, Borja Valero, ‘a mercenary’ for moving to Villarreal. Especially rude considering the midfielder was actually owned by West Brom and only on loan at Mallorca.


Final Position - 9th
LLL Prediction - 17th

Don’t be fooled by Osasuna’s fancy-pants, hootin’ tootin’ ninth place finish. The Pamplona side could just as easily have been relegated on the last day of the season, when about half the league battled to avoid the drop.

For much of the campaign, it looked like it was the end of their spell in la Primera. However, for once, a change of manager actually worked, with hard-bitten, frosty, gruff and aggressive José Luis Mendilibar turning out to a perfect fit for a hard-bitten, frosty, gruff and aggressive club.

Osasuna’s tactics rarely veer from their traditional “wham bam, wipe it on a curtain, no time for a thank you, Mam” direct approach - think Stoke but less subtle - and the team used it to great effect in the final run-in by picking up four wins from the last five games, having been defeated in the previous four matches. And that’s a very good thing as a Primera division without Osasuna simply isn’t worth watching.

Highlight Helping to end the title chances of the dastardly Real Madrid with a 1-0 victory over Mourinho's men. And don't forget the spat between Walter Pandiani and Cristiano’s over wages, which ended with the Uruguayan admitting to the press that the Madrid man would have needed a dentist where he came from for saying what he did.

Lowlight Losing quite comfortably to a Barcelona side that, thanks to an air traffic controller strike, played literally minutes after stepping off the team bus having sped north by train and road.


Racing Santander
Final Position - 12th
LLL Prediction - 18th

The words 'entertaining' and 'Racing' rarely mix, given the only thing exciting that’s ever happened to the side from Santander is a European finish three years ago. Aside from that it’s been naff all from Racing in the club’s 98 year history.

But all that was set to change with the arrival of Indian businessman Ali Syed, who promised to bring forth days of milk and honey to the club before immediately going forth and doing a vanishing act. It's said he repeatedly broke promises regarding money owed to the players and the various institutions the club was bought from.

However, Ali Syed’s arrival did spark a momentary boost for Racing, who were struggling in the bottom half of the table until they were saved from relegation by the return of Marcelino - the coach who lead them to sixth in those giddy days of 2008 but now wants out again.

Highlight Marcelino’s bum tumble celebrating a goal in a fantastic 3-2 win over Sevilla.

Lowlight The ongoing soap opera over the club’s ownership.


Real Madrid
Final Position - 2nd
LLL Prediction - 2nd

Iker Casillas gave his team an eight out of ten for the season and that sounds about right to LLL. Barcelona were once again too strong in the league, with Pep’s Dream Boys barely dropping any points, but huge strides were made elsewhere. The Copa del Rey was won for the first time in 18 years - then dropped and squashed by Sergio Ramos - and Real Madrid made it past the last 16 stages of the Champions League and even to the semi-finals for the first time in seven seasons.

However, an apparent conspiracy involving Barcelona, referees, UEFA, UNICEF and some lizards blocked Madrid’s path to a final, where Pepe would no doubt have been deployed as the anti-Rooney - which would have been fun to watch, come to think of it.

Highlight Ronaldo’s 40 goals. A deserved ‘chapeau’, despite his irritating baby squeezing celebrations for every goal.

Lowlight The Camp Nou 5-0 'bath', of course, but a goalless draw at Levante certainly didn’t help the Madrid cause in the title chase.


Real Sociedad

Final Position - 15th
LLL Prediction - 12th

The club’s president Jokin Aperribay certainly wouldn’t agree, but LLL thought Real Sociedad did just fine on their return to la Primera. Sure, La Real were in danger of relegation on the last day but so was pretty much everyone else in the league. That seems to the be main motivation for the very unfair firing of Martin Lasarte along with a sluggish end to the campaign which was mainly down to fatigue settling into the squad which certainly suffered from losing striker, Joseba Llorente, in January through injury.

Highlight Antoine Griezmann’s car driving celebrations. Inspired.

Lowlight An extraordinarily limp performance in a 3-0 loss at the Vicente Calderón during a five match losing slump for the side from San Sebastian.

Part One: Barca give Jose a bath and Depor bite the dust
Part Two: Levante’s Miracle and Málaga’s Near Disaster
Part Four: Sorry Sevilla & Dastardly Zaragoza