Relentless Valencia still hunting Real Sociedad in chase for Champions League spot
The champions are still on course for a 100 point campaign, after a fairly humdrum 2-1 win over Valladolid in the pouring rain at the Camp Nou. The club also got to lift the league trophy, an honour given to Tito Vilanova and Eric Abidal in the loveliest of touches.
A whopping win for Real Sociedad, who beat Sevilla 2-1 in the SÃÂ¡nchez PizjuÃÂ¡n to hold firm in fourth, equal on points with Valencia. The scorer of the decisive goal was Imanol Agirretxe, a forward who has popped up with six timely goals in the last six matches.
ThereÃ¢ÂÂs a certain Terminator 2, T-1000, relentlessness about ValenciaÃ¢ÂÂs pursuit of Real Sociedad in the battle for fourth. Their straightforward 1-0 win over Getafe in the Coliseum was their third victory in a row. Ã¢ÂÂWe have to win all of our matches and we are doing it,Ã¢ÂÂ barked Valencia coach, Ernesto Valverde, before asking each of the journalists in the room if they were John Connor.
If MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs appeal against next seasonÃ¢ÂÂs ban from European competitions next season fails, then eighth place in La Liga will be enough to qualify for the Europa League. Rayo currently occupy the spot, although they have yet to get their UEFA license to participate due to outstanding debts to other clubs. Rayo moved up the table after an impressive 3-2 win at Levante and two more goals from the imperious Piti.
Ã¢ÂÂHeÃ¢ÂÂs a spectacular footballer who plays and creates,Ã¢ÂÂ purred Rayo boss Paco JÃÂ©mez. Ã¢ÂÂWhatÃ¢ÂÂs more heÃ¢ÂÂs got 17 goals, everything he does is dangerous and heÃ¢ÂÂs scored more than HiguaÃÂn and Benzema.Ã¢ÂÂ
A huge spurt, as it were, from Granada sees 11 points chalked up from the last five matches, after a run of eight matches without a victory. Granada are Ã¢ÂÂvirtually safeÃ¢ÂÂ on 39 points, although manager Lucas Alcaraz warns that Ã¢ÂÂitÃ¢ÂÂs not over, when it seems like thereÃ¢ÂÂs not much left, it can still be a lot.Ã¢ÂÂ
The question for Granada must be why they canÃ¢ÂÂt play so well a little bit earlier in the season, and save themselves from all this kerfuffle come April and May.
Depor achieved a whopper of a win over Espanyol, who now look like being in a straight fight with Zaragoza, one point and one place beneath, to avoid going down. The tough ask for Depor is that the clubÃ¢ÂÂs final two games are a trip to MÃÂ¡laga and a home clash against Real Sociedad.
A quick pat on the back for Elche, who confirmed their position in La Primera next season after 24 years away.
Unai Emery blamed SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs season-killing home defeat to Real Sociedad on three things: La Real being very good, Sevilla being very bad, and the referee. Ã¢ÂÂWe have to be self critical to get better, but not look for the guilty,Ã¢ÂÂ mused Emery on SevillaÃ¢ÂÂs path for the future.
Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs a club whose natural position is between eighth and twelfth and thatÃ¢ÂÂs where we are now.Ã¢ÂÂ Those were comments Getafe boss Luis GarcÃÂa shared with the blog almost a year ago. GetafeÃ¢ÂÂs home defeat to Valencia sees the club slap-bang in the middle of that range in tenth with two games to go. The challenge for GarcÃÂa once again has been trying to get his footballers to make that extra step required to get into Europe. However, breaking the natural way of life for Getafe has been a difficult business.
The Athletic midfielder should have been a chirpy fella having fretted all season about the chances of his club slipping into La Segunda. AthleticÃ¢ÂÂs late win over Zaragoza put the Basque side onto a very handy 44 points, unfortunately it left SundayÃ¢ÂÂs rivals in deep trouble. Ã¢ÂÂIt was the saddest victory of my life,Ã¢ÂÂ was the lament from Herrera after the win over his former club. Ã¢ÂÂThe situation at Zaragoza is painful for me as I am Zaragocista.
LLL has a feeling the three points Osasuna need to make life a little more comfortable will arrive next week against the hopeless Sevilla. However, itÃ¢ÂÂs going to be a horrible week of waiting, predicted JosÃÂ© Luis Mendilibar after the 3-0 loss to Granada. Ã¢ÂÂAt the moment, IÃ¢ÂÂm worried about lifting the spirits of the lads,Ã¢ÂÂ fretted the Osasuna boss.
The Portuguese forward scored DeportivoÃ¢ÂÂs second in the 2-0 victory over Espanyol, but decided to get some payback on fans who have been critical of the footballer after a disappointing season. The on-loan Benfica man attempted the always controversial finger-on-lips-to-crowd gesture before being dragged away by teammates.
ThatÃ¢ÂÂs got to hurt. 1-0 up against Athletic Bilbao, and then two goals lost in the final ten minutes to see Zaragoza in the relegation zone with two matches left. Ã¢ÂÂThe tension and pressure weighed heavy on us this time,Ã¢ÂÂ noted manager, Manolo JimÃÂ©nez.