Monday's Good Day, Bad Day - Round 30
The big debate in Spain - aside from whether the country's Eurovision entry 'Rodolfo Chikilicuatre' is a national disgrace or one of the wonders of the world - is whether Villarreal possess the footballing tackle to go for the league title.
La Liga Loca stands alone - again - and thinks that they do. Earlier in the season, the Yellow Submarine were akin to Gonzalo HiguaÃÂn in front of goal when faced with the prospect of going top, but as Sunday night at the Bernabeu showed, anything is possible.
Now that Villarreal's place in the Champions League is safely secured, the blog feels that this may give the players the powerful porridge needed to give the league title a good old go.
Real Madrid's Defence
Whilst most plaudits in the Madrid press have gone to Raul for his cracking effort against Sevilla, the unheralded heroes of the hour for Real Madrid were the side's back three (Marcelo doesn't count).
Fabio Cannavaro has turned from donkey to Don in the space of seven days, with his control over KanoutÃÂ© and Fabiano, but Gabriel Heinze was the pick of the bunch after scoring his first goal for the club and for a string of outstanding interventions and barnstorming blocks.
With eight games still to play and Real Madrid set to lose to Mallorca, next weekend, the league title is far from won. But Sunday's 3-1 victory was the team's best performance for some time and a big old thump on the table, as El Mundo claims.
Marcelino's men have reacted to their Copa del Rey knock out against Getafe with two straight wins. Racing's success this season has been built on a tight as a Catalan back five - the team has kept 16 clean sheets - and goals coming from all areas of the pitch, with 11 separate league scorers.
Ivan Boldado's cheeky reverse flick that grabbed the third in their 3-0 pounding of the pathetic Pericos reflected the ingenuity and downright cheekiness of a Racing side that are only out of the Champions League places on goal difference.
If past seasons are to be believed, then Almeria have hauled themselves over the threshold of survival with their 2-1 win over Levante. And it will be of great relief to Unai Emery and co as the side had failed to win any of their last five games.
Whatever happens to the club, this season, whether they try to take on Espanyol or opt for an Aston Villa style mental holiday, one of the highlights of the year will be Emery explaining on a white board how his side were going to beat Real Madrid. And then doing so. Chapeau.
Scored his 16th and 17th goals of the season for Mallorca, on Sunday afternoon, ensuring that he remains the top Spanish Primera striker and will still be picked ahead of Raul for his country. Which is always funny.
But Gregorio Manzano's claim that the forward will score 20, this season, may well lead to dazzling Dani heading to England this summer. And if you are to believe Getafe's Angel Torres' claims that his forward used to ring him at four in the morning when completely lost, it's a spell that may not go well.
Apparently, Valladolid are the side which has made the most crosses, this season. 1004 to be exact. The trouble is that most of them have been missing their two front men - Llorente and VÃÂctor - of late with the front pair only managing three goals in the team's previous nine outings.
But this drought ended on Sunday with an unbelievably important double against visiting Zaragoza in Valladolid's so crucial it hurts 2-1 win.
The Arizmendi affect strikes again. The second worst striker in the league bagged a hat trick for Deportivo on Sunday. But all with his head. Which makes the blog continue its suspicions that the forward possesses Toblerone-shaped feet.
As well as scoring his traditional 'ball from the left header', the brilliant Betis striker bagged an absolute corker to beat Barcelona. The victory also owed a great deal to David Odonkor who finally looked like the fastest player in Europe (100m in 10.80 seconds, apparently) and the footballer who was half decent for Germany in the World Cup.
Betis looked dead and buried in the first half but showed they possessed as much bottle as their fans to claw their way back to win a very famous victory.
The Men in Suits
So Betis got their way, in the end, after stalling for 10 days and played their match in the de Lopera stadium. And AS, for one, were not impressed with the way the Spanish footballing authorities handled the whole affair.
"The decision was made some 30 hours before the game. A new record", wrote Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o. "It's a dark world stuffed with influences, jealousies, changes in criteria and jurisprudence for all tastes", continued the paper's editor on the state of the game in Spain.
There's a lot of things to do on a pleasant Sunday morning in Barcelona. Take a trip on the terrifying cable-car over the harbour. Get pick-pocketed. But 200 locals decided to turn up at BarÃÂ§a's training session to yell all manner of insults at the players.
"Millionaire Mercenaries!". "Less screwing and more playing!", were a couple of the gems hurled and two taunts that have never been laid at La Liga Loca's door. One particularly angry man even scrawled a message in biro on a piece of A4 thinking that Marquez and co had X-Men style super vision.
It looks like the Saturday night BarÃÂ§a disaster was a bridge too far for both the fans and hacks of the Catalan club. "Disgraceful!" "That's Enough!" wrote Mundo Deportivo. "Intolerable! Unacceptable! Impotent!" screamed Sport, a paper who still found space amongst its rants to flog its Barcelona travel bag. Maybe Frank Rijkaard will buy one.
A not-dressed-for-the-cold-and-rain La Liga Loca headed down to the Coliseum, on Sunday, to watch a match that even victorious coach, Ziganda, admitted was "not great". But he was still happy after seeing his side scrap their way to a 2-0 win.
It's a second league defeat in a row for Getafe who clearly have their minds elsewhere. "With 48 games in their legs, the Madrid team has the right to save energy", opined El Pais. But not until they have broken the 42 point barrier, perhaps.
Last week, La Liga Loca wrote that the rojiblancos had suddenly grown a pair. Looks like it dropped off, just as quickly.
"Koeman Stay!" "Koeman Out!" were just two of the cries heard in Mestalla over the past 10 days with the fans not knowing if they are coming or going. Rather like the players who were rolled over 3-0 by visiting Mallorca.
"We left a lamentable image", complained the Dutch coach. "The players were playing for themselves, not the team", he continued pointing a big old finger at David Villa who walked from the pitch, after being substituted without acknowleging the oncoming JoaquÃÂn.
Despite another defeat for Espanyol, Paul from Barcelona, seems surprisingly chirpy - perhaps after his Sunday morning trip to the Camp Nou training ground.
"Well the performance wasn't as bad as the scoreline suggests but it was still awful. Should have had a couple of penalties and had a perfectly good goal disallowed for God knows what. But Racing seemed to get the run of the ball and here lies the problem. Nothing is going our way at the moment.
Points for discussion:
Are Spanish refs crap or just incompetent?
Are Aldo Duscher's injury recovery powers better than Clare Bennett from Heroes? He seemed dead then he ran 60 yards. Twice.
Does Marc Torrejon look like 90's one-hit wonder Gary Cahill ?
Has Reira decided that being rubbish is more fun than being good ?
And why did my second half sneezing fit start when he came on the pitch and stop at the final whistle ?
Do Espanyol have enough points not to get relegated?
Just I think. Can't see us winning another game this season.
Only bright spot was watching the donkey eaters capitulation on Saturday."