Monday's Good Day, Bad Day - Round 2
Pep Guardiola Yet again in Spain, there has been a great deal of talk over tactics and BarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs current love of fannying about in front of goal. But yet again, everyone is barking up the wrong footballing tree.
BarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs rather flaccid footballing stylings are once again the result of Pep GuardiolaÃ¢ÂÂs sweaters. On Saturday, the Camp Nou captain sported a dark V-necked number with yellow piping as he flapped about on the touchline. And it made him look a little like a middle manager at a Coldplay concert. Hardly inspiring.
Fortunately, Pep has more credit than the Lehman Brothers and will be given time to get his act together by the Spanish press.
Indeed, MondayÃ¢ÂÂs Sport attempted a Ã¢ÂÂ10 reasons to be optimistic listÃ¢ÂÂ, but ran out of ideas well before half-time with number 2 boasting that Ã¢ÂÂMessi is the best player in the worldÃ¢ÂÂ and number 4 declaring that Ã¢ÂÂthe squad has the best player in the worldÃ¢ÂÂ.
Like Barcelona themselves, must try harder.
V for Victory? Not yet
Christoph Metzelder According to La Liga LocaÃ¢ÂÂs German sources, the centre back is one of the smartest men on the planet. Indeed, the Real Madrid man has avoided the rottweiler-ravaged gated communities chosen as a getaway by most of his team-mates to live in the centre and swan about the Prado. And FnacÃ¢ÂÂs legendary DVD section.
But Metzelder is also a terrible defender Ã¢ÂÂ or at least thatÃ¢ÂÂs what he has shown in his less than successful spell at the Bernabeu. Ã¢ÂÂLetting in three goals was too much, but it was my first game,Ã¢ÂÂ admitted the defender after the 4-3 win over Numancia. Unfortunately, it wasnÃ¢ÂÂt the first time that the performance of the German has not been up to scratch.
Ã¢ÂÂWhat on earth is he doing here at Real Madrid?Ã¢ÂÂ muses Roberto Palomar in MondayÃ¢ÂÂs Marca. Not giving Fabio Cannavaro any sleepless nights, for a start.
Valencia But only because The Man, Unai Emery, said so. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm not happy with the result,Ã¢ÂÂ fumed the Valencia coach after the 2-2 draw against his old club, AlmerÃÂa.
AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid Order has been restored to the universe. Even the rojiblanco-loving IÃÂ±aki DÃÂaz Guerra in AS was able to breath a sigh of relief after AtletiÃ¢ÂÂs 2-1 defeat to Valladolid Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ180 seconds and it was clear the world was turning as normalÃ¢ÂÂ.
The Ã¢ÂÂFIFA-VirusÃ¢ÂÂ, as it is known in Spain, hit AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid badly with Johnny Heitinga getting injured and both Kun AgÃÂ¼ero and Diego Forlan rested after arriving back late from South America. And it was only when the tardy Argentinian played that AtlÃÂ©tico began to fight their way back into the game, say AS. At least weÃ¢ÂÂll always have CoupetÃ¢ÂÂs comedy capers to remember again and again in ValladolidÃ¢ÂÂs opening strike.
Sporting SportingÃ¢ÂÂs 4-3 defeat at Sevilla was hardly a game were defences were on top. But it was SportingÃ¢ÂÂs which was bottom of the bottomers. After two games, the side from GijÃÂ³n are the only one with nul points. And with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Villarreal to come in their next three matches, it could stay that way for some time.
Gonzalo HiguaÃÂn Real Madrid may have played Ã¢ÂÂevery type of game possible against Numancia,Ã¢ÂÂ according to MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs Santiago Segurola, and they were hanging on by their fingernails against a team that finished the game Ã¢ÂÂlike dragon with a hundred headsÃ¢ÂÂ according to TomÃÂ¡s Roncero, but there were positive aspects to their performance.
Gonzalo HiguaÃÂn was the standout figure for the home side. For past few weeks, many Ã¢ÂÂ including La Liga Loca Ã¢ÂÂ have been moaning that RaÃÂºl should be put out to pasture with the Argentinian coming in to replace him. Luckily, this faith was repaid on Sunday night with a lively display and a goal Ã¢ÂÂ two things that RaÃÂºl only achieves at a bowling alley these days.
All right-thinking, hard-working, decent, God-fearing families must all agree that HiguaÃÂn could turn out to be a very, very good player indeed.
Higuain: also an opera singer on the sly
Mate Bilic A little harsh on the Sporting fella on Saturday night Ã¢ÂÂ a hat-trick but nothing to show for it. Out of his three strikes, it was the penalty which was the best of the bunch - a enormous thwack into the roof of the net.
David Villa His strike against AlmerÃÂa means that Villa has now scored against every club in the Primera except the three recently promoted ones. But thatÃ¢ÂÂs probably just a matter of time.
Sevilla Not exactly on top in defence, but back to their entertaining best nonetheless.
Espanyol The nearest they'll come to setting stadiums alight this season is if they turn up with 800 gallons of lighter fluid and a box of matches. But their fans wonÃ¢ÂÂt give a duckÃ¢ÂÂs duvet, as the Pericos are currently top of the table with six points. And Barcelona arenÃ¢ÂÂt.