More referee rants and ZaragozaÃ¢ÂÂs trashed tactics
First things first, itÃ¢ÂÂs time to get the grown-up football talk out of the way, so bear with us for a moment. In the home leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final against Valencia, Real Madrid's entertaining 2-0 win made them strong favourites to go through to a semi-final meeting against either MÃÂ¡laga or (heaven forbid) Barcelona. Karim Benzema and an own goal from AndrÃÂ©s Guardado did the job for Madrid, although Jonas was a bit of a dozy doozy throughout the game and should have notched an away goal for his side.
Boom! Benzema bags at the Bernabeu
This being Spain though, the real chat after the match was whether the anti-anti-anti-Villarato [CIA-backed pro-BarÃÂ§a refereeing conspiracy] was in effect, and the moaning from Angel di MarÃÂa the previous day and the Madrid papers about offside decisions not going MadridÃ¢ÂÂs way had had an impact in the match.
Valencia certainly seem to think so, with a few close calls going against the visitors. Roberto Soldado was on the wrong end of a chunk of those and was not best pleased after the match.
Ã¢ÂÂMadrid have been putting a lot of pressure on the referee all week,Ã¢ÂÂ moaned the striker, who is still smarting over having a goal ruled out at the Bernabeu in the league clash earlier this season. Ã¢ÂÂThere are games when referees work in your favour and others when everything is against you, but in this case it was incredible,Ã¢ÂÂ said Soldado, probably earning himself a hefty fine.
Barcelona would never be a bunch of moaning Minnies Ã¢ÂÂ aside from bleating endlessly about not getting enough penalties last season Ã¢ÂÂ so it was with a straight face that Tito Vilanova spoke about Angel di MarÃÂaÃ¢ÂÂs claims of refereeing bias ahead of BarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs cup clash with MÃÂ¡laga on Wednesday.
Ã¢ÂÂI saw the images of what di MarÃÂa said; I donÃ¢ÂÂt think he was being serious. He was almost smiling,Ã¢ÂÂ chuckled the BarÃÂ§a boss, who appeared to be in mischievous mood, especially with the zinger over what the Catalan coach felt about the 18-point lead over Real Madrid: Ã¢ÂÂIf the question was about the reverse situation then I wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt be here now answering it.Ã¢ÂÂ
Titter ye lot: Tito brings the LOLs
There's so little to say about the cup double-header against MÃÂ¡laga, whom BarÃÂ§a beat 3-1 at la Rosaleda on Saturday, that WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs Mundo Deportivo front cover has Leo Messi posing with his awards while a story concerning VÃÂctor ValdÃÂ©s dominates Sport.
ThereÃ¢ÂÂs more fun to be had though with the quarter-final kicking off before the Camp Nou clash: Unai EmeryÃ¢ÂÂs first match in charge of Sevilla, at Zaragoza. The arm-flapping blog favourite promises that his Sevilla are going to be Ã¢ÂÂan aggressive team with and without the ball.Ã¢ÂÂ ThatÃ¢ÂÂs pretty much what his counterpart on the Zaragoza bench, Manolo JimÃÂ©nez, is all about too so there should be fisticuffs aplenty.
JimÃÂ©nez Ã¢ÂÂ who was himself Sevilla boss, five managers ago Ã¢ÂÂ isn't that happy over the Andalusians' firing of MÃÂchel NoLongerTheManager, complaining that Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂve had to ditch all my plans. I know Sevilla and their players very well, but IÃ¢ÂÂve no idea what Unai is going to do.Ã¢ÂÂ
Although the tie is the least glamorous of the four matches taking place this week, with AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid hosting Betis on Thursday at the ludicrous time of 10pm, Unai EmeryÃ¢ÂÂs return to la Liga could be the most intriguing.
COPA DEL REY Tue 15 Jan Real Madrid 2-0 Valencia Wed 16 Jan Real Zaragoza v Sevilla, Barcelona v MÃÂ¡laga Thu 17 Jan AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid v Real Betis