You can read The Spanish Thing making Murcia fans' day, by clicking here
. Bad DayValencia
The only good thing about testimonial matches is the sight of Westlife stars looking a bit rubbish and getting to watch normally box-bound centre backs playing as strikers. With hilarious consequences.
Ronald Koeman has opted for the same selection principles in proper games. Sunday's 'surreal line up' as El Pais
described it, boasted two strikers on the right flank, two wingers up front and a central defender in midfield. "If Marchena is better than Albeda that I am better looking than George Clooney," commented an unimpressed AS
, before the match.
It was only when the Dutchman brought on Banega and Zigic at half time, that Valencia started to make sense and they could easily have grabbed a point against an off colour Atletico. But they didn't and they are now nine points from the Champions League places and without a win in seven.
The Spanish press were strangely impressed by Ever Banega and his handiwork - this time, on a football pitch. La Liga Loca
wasn't. He came on in bright yellow boots, passed the ball accurately, sideways, a few times - which already makes him better than Gago - but showed little or no interest in defending. A tendency for which he was punished by being forced to stay back for corners.
There is hope for Valencia, but only if Ronald Koeman stops letting his cat pick formations. Sevilla
It looks like the African Cup of Nations may hit Sevilla very hard, indeed, over the next few weeks. With Kanouté, Koné and Keita off on their travels, Luis Fabiano suspended and Kerchakov injured, Sevilla arrived in Bilbao, "on a bicycle when they are used to going around in a tank," said AS
There was a huge Goodfellas shrug of "whaddyado?" from Sevilla after Saturday's defeat - a defeat that wasn't helped by Escudé's dreadful dismissal. Deportivo
The doomed Deportivo cause has had a bad few days with the devil vomiting into their footballing kettle. After the dropped Dudu Aouate moaned to the press that he should be playing ahead of Gustavo Munúa, his riled rival punched the Israeli stopper in the face, giving him eight stitches above the eye, in the process.
"I was starting to get changed and Manúa came in," recalled the battered goalie, "'what are you looking at?' he said. Then he punched me in the eye."
Miguel Angel Lotina took a dim view of this incident and decided to kick both protagonists from the side. "I can't allow anything the divides the dressing room," declared the 'hanging onto his job by his fingernails manager. "And I can't have any player saying that they have to play."
On Sunday, the third choice keeper, Fabricio, came in - and promptly let in four.
'Losers!" says La Liga Loca
. "Nearly everything we did was bad," complained Ernesto Valverde. But what does Paul from Barcelona say?
"Been saying all week we would lose. We have real trouble against crap teams. It's all very strange. Taking the game to the opposition will be our failing this year. We'll beat all the good teams because it takes something extra but doing the ordinary."
Paul, Barcelona. Wesley Sneijder
"Is Guti being punished for something the fans don't know about?" muse Marca
. That can be the only explanation for Bernd Schuster's continuing insistence of playing the Dutchman ahead of the local lad.
For the umpteenth game this season, Sneijder did bugger all. To be fair to the midfielder, he is being forced to play on the right flank - causing him to constantly drift into the centre - but his substitute, Higuain, did more in 20 minutes than Sneijder has done in 220.
Real Madrid are in desperate need of a top class, inexpensive, right midfielder who can play in the Champions League. A bit like the one currently training with Arsenal? Getafe
Two league defeats at the start of the year have dropped Getafe right back into the relegation mire. But Michael Laudrup is not ready to get his big stick out, just yet - in the non Ever Banega sense.
"We were very different from the last match," revealed the Dane. Levante
"If we keep playing like this, we'll...." started Juanma. "...still get relegated because we're thirteen points from safety, have only scored eleven goals and haven't been paid in months?"
In a more a charitable mood, La Liga Loca
would praise plucky Levante and their sterling work, on Sunday. But as the metro accordion player who now has to empty his instrument of wee knows, the blog is never in a charitable mood. Víctor Fernández
Mmm. La Liga Loca
is going to have to sleep on this one. A decision will then be made on whether there will be another voodoo inspired incantation, this time against Zaragoza for kicking out their coach. Or whether it was a fair cop, considering the side have not won in eight and are just two points from the relegation zone. Osasuna
The latest team to be jammed in the revolving door of doom, that is the third relegation spot, after a disastrous 0-2 home defeat to Racing.
The worst scoring record in the division. It won't be too long before they are occupying Osasuna's position. Good DayReal MadridMarca's
headline of 'the best winter champions in history (despite how bad they were, yesterday)' is a fair reflection of the papers' attitude towards Real Madrid, on Monday morning, as the stats show that the current haul of 47 points is the best of any side in the first round of a 20 team league format.
"I'm happy with the result, not the performance," said Bernd Schuster whose side have not played well at all, since the start of the year. "It's very normal in Spain, for everyone to relax after Christmas," explained the German coach, missing out the words, 'before' and 'during' from his excuse.El Pais
write that it was "Doctor Van Nistelrooy who turned up to give the anaesthetic to Levante," with his 10th and 11th goals of the season - the first of which was a maybe/maybe not penalty depending on your interpretation of the ball to hand, hand to ball rule.
Roberto Palomar, writing in Marca
, is simply stunned that, "Ramón Calderón, a specialist in creating problems where there aren't any, is strangely quiet,"
And anyone out there who has any idea what Tomás Roncero is going on about, please write in. His columns are increasingly turning into gibberish code. Markel Susaeta
A late scrambled effort gave Athletic Bilbao a desperately needed three points at San Mamés on Saturday night, but their plucky performance still can't cover up the fact that Joaquín Caparrós' charges are still not that good.
Two notable points from the game are that the midweek attempt to shrink the Athletic pitch now means there are two touchlines, on each side. And Susaeta has the most impenetrable accent La Liga Loca
has ever come across, since José Antonio Reyes gave a press conference whilst eating a bag of crisps.
"Oh la la!" squealed Sport
, coming over all French by praising a 'una noche magnifique'. 'Hay Gol!" screamed Mundo Deportivo. Well, there was goal once Barcelona had broken down a stubborn Murcia defence through Eidur Gudjohnsen.
The fancy dan Frenchman followed a perky midweek display against Sevilla with another on Saturday. The opposition full back wasn't in the same league as his opponent, which allowed Titi to top off a fine match with two assists.
Nevertheless, Saturday's opening scorer was the one to throw cold water over some of the Catalan crowing. "this isn't the best Thierry Henry. I've seen him play better games in England," commented the Iceman.
Frank Rijkaard now has some tricky decisions to make - aside from the daily gel/no gel dilemma. Saturday's victory was achieved without the likes of Iniesta, Deco, d'inho, Milito, Abidal and Messi.
The question is, does the Dutchman continue with "the revolution of the others" that Mundo Deportivo put down to producing the win? Or bring back the big guns of d'inho and Deco now that Samuel Eto'o - the King of Cameroon, as Bernd Schuster grumpily called him - is off to join up with his international side?Christian Abbiati
Despite the cash that was merrily splashed on the likes of Simao and Forlan, over the summer by Atleti, it's quite possible that the rojiblancos
' best deal cost nothing. Since Leo Franco was crocked - a keeper who never inspired confidence with La Liga Loca
- the on-loan Italian, Abbiati has been magnificent.
His performances are enabling his team-mates to grab points, when over previous seasons, they would simply have chucked them away in comedy fashion.
"I'm just doing my job," said the humble stopper after a match when Atletico did not play particularly well but still got a win to lift them into third.Villarreal
The game of Russian Roulette that is Villarreal's season continues. And this time, the Yellow Submarine finished the weekend without their footballing brains, splattered all over the wall.
As usual, on Sunday, it was the strategy of hoping more goals are scored than conceded that was selected. And this time it worked against Deportivo in a 4-3 win.
But only just, says Manuel Pellegrini, "that was one of our worst home matches," he complained.Ricardo
Single handidly prevented his Betis team from throwing away a three goal lead, which, obviously, wouldn't have been in the least bit funny.
"It's not easy to score three goals in a game, especially when you play for Valladolid," commented AS
, rather uncharitably. But that's exactly what Llorente did on Sunday to swat aside Recreativo.
Who needs strikers when you have the magical Marcelino as manager? Racing Santander are now in 6th - with a five point gap over Valencia.
Anyone missed? Just click on comments for your say.
All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007