Review of the Season: No plan Ã¢ÂÂBÃ¢ÂÂ for Barça & MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs blacklist
OCTOBERReal Madrid ended October above Barcelona after perfect month Ã¢ÂÂ essential in a league where dropping a single point is as advisable as jamming your todger in a toaster. PepÃ¢ÂÂs Dream Boys carelessly threw away two precious points at the Camp Nou in a 1-1 draw against Mallorca, prompting mass panty-bunching panic in the Catalan capital.
Ã¢ÂÂGuardiola has no plan B to dynamite defences that are made of concrete,Ã¢ÂÂ fretted Joan Batlle in Sport, suggesting a tactic only permitted in the fourth tier of Spanish football.
More interesting in Mordor was how Madrid would cope in the Copa del Rey and Champions League, two competitions in which the club had wobbled in recent years. Against Murcia, JosÃÂ© Mourinho was so mindful of another Copa catastrophe like the previous season's knock-out by AlcorcÃÂ³n that he threatened to send any underperformers to the same place as Pedro LeÃÂ³n: dead to him. Ã¢ÂÂIf they donÃ¢ÂÂt play well, then IÃ¢ÂÂll stick Castilla [second team] players on the bench.Ã¢ÂÂ
The first leg down south was a goalless draw, a result that satisfied Mourinho more than his opposite number. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm upset: I told the players that if they didnÃ¢ÂÂt repeat AlcorcÃÂ³n then theyÃ¢ÂÂll be on my blacklist,Ã¢ÂÂ joshed mirthful Murcia manager IÃÂ±aki Alonso.
Madrid faced a tougher test in the Champions League with the visit of Milan, an opportunity game which gave Mourinho a chance to indulge his favourite hobby of insulting opposition managers. In response to an apparent spat with Milan boss Massimo Allegri during his Serie A spell, the Special One claimed modestly that there was nowt betwixt the pair: Ã¢ÂÂWhat rivalry can there be between a double European champion and a coach playing his third Champions League game?Ã¢ÂÂ
The main news in Barcelona Ã¢ÂÂ the fun stuff, anyway Ã¢ÂÂ was more mudslinging between current president Sandro Rosell and former bigwig Joan Laporta, with Rosell trying to brand his predecessor financially incompetent.
Receipts were published revealing that LaportaÃ¢ÂÂs regime had blown Ã¢ÂÂ¬90,000 on 1644 guest tickets for a Camp Nou U2 concert and an eyebrow-raising Ã¢ÂÂ¬2m on private detectives between 2005 and 2009.
After an audit of the clubÃ¢ÂÂs coffers, Rosell claimed that BarÃÂ§a hadn't made the Ã¢ÂÂ¬11m profit Laporta claimed for the previous season but a Ã¢ÂÂ¬79m loss. Laporta's retort that Ã¢ÂÂthey have manipulated the accounts we presentedÃ¢ÂÂ left everyone baffled as to who to believe. The eventual consensus seemed to be 'neither'.
Zaragoza continued their poor start to the season and sat bottom of the table. One place above them were Deportivo, who managed their first win of the month on OctoberÃ¢ÂÂs last day. At the beginning, coach Miguel Angel Lotina was still in high spirits claiming that Ã¢ÂÂonly the mediocre resign,Ã¢ÂÂ but towards the end the poor fella was feeling the strain: Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂve spent two nights without a wink of sleep and yesterday I had to ask the club doctor for help.Ã¢ÂÂ LLL isn't sure whether Lotina asked the doc for medication or to play up front.
MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs big-money quest to be la LigaÃ¢ÂÂs reference point of the south wasnÃ¢ÂÂt quite going to plan, with the side sitting third-bottom by October's end. But this was no dullard Deportivo side: MÃÂ¡laga were wonderful to watch at both ends, with the team going into their clash a few weeks earlier with Real Madrid as la PrimeraÃ¢ÂÂs top scorers whilst possessing the worst defensive record.
New boys HÃÂ©rcules were learning fast that for a club to survive in la Primera, it helps to have a few basics like training facilities and salaries. The Alicante outfit didn't have their own practice ground and were travelling about for 300km a week to practice at four different venues Ã¢ÂÂ no doubt being kicked off by the nasty big boys at each one. Ã¢ÂÂYou canÃ¢ÂÂt imagine the headache I have planning training with no pitches,Ã¢ÂÂ complained manager Esteban Vigo.
Cheat of the month, but with a fine excuse, went to AlmerÃÂaÃ¢ÂÂs Juanma Ortiz Ã¢ÂÂ who managed to get MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs Eliseu sent off after a challenge in which he later admitted there hd been no contact. Ã¢ÂÂHe could have hurt me had he done it!Ã¢ÂÂ claimed the midfielder in a defence worse than MÃÂ¡laga's.