Monday's Good Day, Bad Day - Round 2

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Pep Guardiola Yet again in Spain, there has been a great deal of talk over tactics and Barça’s current love of fannying about in front of goal. But yet again, everyone is barking up the wrong footballing tree.

Barça’s rather flaccid footballing stylings are once again the result of Pep Guardiola’s 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, Monday’s Sport attempted a ‘10 reasons to be optimistic list’, but ran out of ideas well before half-time with number 2 boasting that “Messi is the best player in the world” and number 4 declaring that “the squad has the best player in the world”.

Like Barcelona themselves, must try harder.

V for Victory? Not yet

Christoph Metzelder According to La Liga Loca’s 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 Fnac’s legendary DVD section.

But Metzelder is also a terrible defender – or at least that’s what he has shown in his less than successful spell at the Bernabeu. “Letting in three goals was too much, but it was my first game,” admitted the defender after the 4-3 win over Numancia. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time that the performance of the German has not been up to scratch.

“What on earth is he doing here at Real Madrid?” muses Roberto Palomar in Monday’s Marca. Not giving Fabio Cannavaro any sleepless nights, for a start.

Valencia But only because The Man, Unai Emery, said so. “I’m not happy with the result,” fumed the Valencia coach after the 2-2 draw against his old club, Almería.

Atlético Madrid Order has been restored to the universe. Even the rojiblanco-loving Iñaki Díaz Guerra in AS was able to breath a sigh of relief after Atleti’s 2-1 defeat to Valladolid – “180 seconds and it was clear the world was turning as normal”.

The ‘FIFA-Virus’, as it is known in Spain, hit Atlético Madrid badly with Johnny Heitinga getting injured and both Kun Agüero and Diego Forlan rested after arriving back late from South America. And it was only when the tardy Argentinian played that Atlético began to fight their way back into the game, say AS. At least we’ll always have Coupet’s comedy capers to remember again and again in Valladolid’s opening strike.

Sporting Sporting’s 4-3 defeat at Sevilla was hardly a game were defences were on top. But it was Sporting’s which was bottom of the bottomers. After two games, the side from Gijón 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 Higuaín Real Madrid may have played “every type of game possible against Numancia,” according to Marca’s Santiago Segurola, and they were hanging on by their fingernails against a team that finished the game “like dragon with a hundred heads” according to Tomás Roncero, but there were positive aspects to their performance.

Gonzalo Higuaín was the standout figure for the home side. For past few weeks, many – including La Liga Loca – have been moaning that Raúl 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 – two things that Raúl only achieves at a bowling alley these days.

All right-thinking, hard-working, decent, God-fearing families must all agree that Higuaín 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 – 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 Almería means that Villa has now scored against every club in the Primera except the three recently promoted ones. But that’s 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 won’t give a duck’s duvet, as the Pericos are currently top of the table with six points. And Barcelona aren’t.