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Changing of the guard?
Barcelona are still highly likely - bar a mahoosive collapse - set to win the La Liga title back from Real Madrid. However, Saturday’s win for Mourinho’s men over La Blaugrana was the second of the week, both significant in their simplicity. If the Portuguese coach’s job was to belittle the Barcelona regime which has thrilled Europe for so long, it would appear his work is done. Even if he is to leave in the summer.
Malaga and Atleti defences are the bosses.
Diego Simeone’s first game in charge of Atletico Madrid was a 0-0 draw with Malaga. This weekend they drew 0-0 with Malaga again, failing to completely capitalise on Barca’s defeat. It wasn’t completely unexpected though - Thibaut Courtois and Willy Caballero are the leading candidates for the Zamora trophy.
Thriller in San Sebastian.
Two of this season’s most exciting teams put on a cracking encounter at Real Sociedad’s Anoeta on Sunday night. Following two 0-0’s in the Sunday schedule, there was pressure on this fixture to produce. It did. Real Betis led 2-0, before trailing 3-2 only to clinch an equaliser through Colombian loanee Dorlan Pabo. Great entertainment.
Espanyol bore draw keeps home form going.
Valladolid came for a draw and got one, frustrating Javier Aguirre’s Espanyol as they held out for a 0-0 draw. The home side will be disappointed that their five match winning run came to an end at Cornella-El Prat, but can seek encouragement in the fact they are still unbeaten there since the Mexican took charge.
Massive Mallorca win.
Tomer Hemed’s 90+4 minute winner against Granada brought to life thoughts of the great escape for newly-appointed Gregorio Manzano’s Mallorca. Still plenty of work to do mind, but it will breathe some confidence into a squad who desperately needed some. The same can’t be said for Deportivo la Coruna who drew 0-0 at home with Rayo Vallecano. Draws are not the medicine needed for their survival though.
Jornada 24: Espanyol vs. Real Betis; Cornella-El Prat
To coin an old cliché, football is a very funny game.
Another illustration of this took place at Cornella-El Prat on Sunday night as an Espanyol team, inflated with the confidence that not so long ago resided in Real Betis, took on Los Verdiblancos from Seville.
On the Catalan coast a fixture all-too-frequently gracing screens worldwide was staged in front of the home side’s largest attendance of the season. Except this wasn’t El Clasico, rather the mini version, the youngsters continuing the feud one league down from La Liga – a concept not familiar in England.
one. one win between the top eight.
Granada’s win against floundering Real Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona’s draw, Malaga’s point against Zaragoza and defeats for Levante, Rayo Vallecano and Real Betis meant that Atletico Madrid’s 1-0 win over Los Beticos was the only win for any of La Liga’s top eight heading into the weekend’s fixtures.[[MORE[[
two. espanyol still on the charge.
Since taking charge Mexican Javier Aguirre has led Espanyol on a fantastic run which has seen them lose just once - to city rivals Barcelona. This weekend they beat Levante 3-2 to record their fourth straight win at home and move a few more points away from the bottom three.
three. schuster to replace caparros?
Another weekend, another defeat for Mallorca. This time they lost 3-0 at Anoeta to in-form Real Sociedad. Following the defeat rumours are floating about that time is up for boss Joaquin Caparros and that he will be replaced by Bernd Schuster - watch this space.
four. big win for osasuna
Struggling Osasuna recored a 1-0 win against Celta Vigo, moving out of the bottom three for the first time in a long time.
five. big losses for galicia
That defeat against Osasuna dropped Celta Vigo into the bottom three alongside Mallorca and fellow Galician’s Deportivo la Coruna who themselves suffered a 3-1 defeat to Getafe on Saturday.