La Liga’s Good Day, Bad Day - Week 20

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RESULTS Sat Jan 30 Deportivo La Coruna 1-3 Real Madrid, Espanyol 1-0 Athletic Bilbao, Sporting Gijon 0-1 Barcelona Sun Jan 31 Atletico Madrid 0-2 Malaga, Getafe 0-0 Racing Santander, Sevilla 2-1 Valencia, Tenerife 1-3 Real Zaragoza, Valladolid 1-1 Almeria, Villarreal 0-2 Osasuna, Xerez 2-1 Mallorca

Good Day


“Invictus” cried Sport after Barça’s 1-0 win over Sporting.

“Cheating scumbags” was the vibe from both AS and Marca, who feel that Pedro’s goal was offside and came from a free-kick taken in the wrong place.

What’s more, Leo Messi should have been sent off, apparently, and Sporting were deserving of a spot-kick after a push from Rafa Marquez.

“A strange penalty against Madrid and a strange goal for Barcelona,” complains Tomas Guasch in Monday’s AS.

To this end, Real Madrid are now just a point behind Barcelona in Marca’s league table based on their own refereeing of la Liga’s games.

Happily for the Culé collective, Pep’s Dream Boys still have a five-point lead over Madrid in the real world, after a game where the scoreline was narrow but the dominance over the opposition was immense. 

And as for Pedro’s goal? Spanish TV channel Cuatro built a graphic showing that the Barça forward was offside when Andrés Iniesta made his pass.

Another, Gol TV, used the “latest technology” to show that it was valid, after all.

Make of that, what you will.


These are strange days indeed.

Flying machines, talking boxes, and a Madrid media that now feels that Guti’s showboating, shot-bottling back-heel to Karim Benzema is justification enough for the midfielder to go to the World Cup with Spain.

And not as the official jester, either.

“If he continues this way he could be very useful in South Africa,” argued the paper that branded the footballer ‘God’ and forced the picnic blanket-wearing Real Madrid player to recreate his magic moment in his back garden.


A 2-1 win over Mallorca sees the club’s points tally moving into double figures and within touching distance - in the Mr Tickle sense - of fourth-from-bottom Valladolid who are seven points away.


With all due respect to Málaga - which is very little, as it happens, considering their owner is Lorenzo Sanz - Duda is far, far, far too good for the Andalusian side and should play more than the role of a midfielder who bounces between Málaga, where he is on loan, and Sevilla.

Duda’s early effort against Atlético and constant attacks down both flanks inspired a win for an injury-hit Málaga side at the Vicente Calderón.

He should surely persuade someone, somewhere that the Portuguese international deserves a move to a higher footballing plain.

Alvaro Negredo

Having had more sticky patches than Ever Banega’s keyboard, Alvaro Negredo bought himself some breathing space from his many critics with two goals for Sevilla to defeat Valencia on Sunday night, including an absolute peach of a lob.

It remains to be seen if Sevilla are getting back to their best, as Manolo Jiménez claimed after the match – but having Luis Fabiano, Fredi Kanouté and an on-form Negredo in the ranks can’t be a bad thing.


A miserable, miserable game in El Prat saw Espanyol come away 1-0 winners against Athletic in a match that Paul from Barcelona joined the blog in taking one for the team by enduring.

“A very comfortable victory for Espanyol against a weak Athletic team. Athletic seemed to spend most of the game pretending to be injured [harsh!!!! - LLL] and hoping to stop the play.

"Bizarrely, they went mental when an Espanyol player was down and the ball was kicked out. Not much of note to report except a fine move led to Luis García's tap-in. Athletic tried hard in injury time but never looked like scoring.

"Points of note - slim pickings, I'm afraid.

"Espanyol's Javi Marquez was excellent yet again. Came through the youth team and is a gem. Funny though, we don't tend to bang on about it like other teams. Didac, another from the youth team, had a solid debut – the seventh junior to make his debut this season.

"Athletic's away support was poor by their standards and their team was just as poor. The only thing poorer was, yes, you’ve guessed it, the officials.

"Athletic were so poor, even the ref couldn't find a way to help them score. He was bad but his linesmen were abysmal."

Paul, Barcelona


After 11 attempts Zaragoza managed to win a game and had it all tied up in a mad eight-minute spell when Gay’s men knocked three past the hapless Tenerife defence.

Bad Day

Ernesto Valverde

Wow. Like the rest of the inhabitants of la Primera’s punditland, La Liga Loca really didn’t see the Villarreal coach being fired this weekend.

Then again, it really didn’t expect the 2-0 home defeat to Osasuna either.

The combination of the poor start to the season, the embarrassing cup exit to Celta Vigo - a side that even Atlético overcame - the near-capitulation against Zaragoza last week and this latest reverse sees Valverde out on the street.

Atlético Madrid

“They’re back!” “They’re terrible!” “They’re back!” “They’re terrible” - and so the Spanish press continues in their coverage of Atlético Madrid, who are now lurching from lamppost to bin like Giovani dos Santos after a good night out.

Sunday’s Málaga defeat was probably the worst performance it has seen at the Vicente Calderón this season and didn’t have a single positive that could be taken from the game.

Aside from the comedy result, that is.

Athletic Bilbao

The two worst halves of football endured by La Liga Loca this season that haven’t involved Deportivo - they take up 27 places - have involved Athletic Bilbao.

The first was the opening 45 minutes against Mallorca at the beginning of January.

The latest was Saturday’s encounter at Espanyol that still makes the blog shudder just to think about it.


A truly desperate 1-1 draw against Almería sees Valladolid coach José Luis Mendilibar in Monday’s papers being tipped as the second manager this week to be losing his job.


The Africa Cup of Nations already made it hard for the Valladolid striker to fulfil his promise of 40 goals this season.

Now the forward has another game fewer after his sending off against Almería, leaving him a target of 38 strikes from just 18 games.

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