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one. Pellegrino pushed from Mestalla bench. It has been a bad week for people called Mauricio; first Pochettino and now Pellegrino. Of those with MP initials only Manuel Pellegrini remains in a job. Journalists, sub-editors and bloggers can at least breathe a sigh of relief.Valencia decided enough was enough this weekend following a 5-2 defeat at home to Real Sociedad. Couple that with no league wins away from home and President Llorente felt it was time to wield the axe on the man who only replaced Unai Emery in the summer.
The La Liga weekend is once again upon us mere mortals, and there are some tasty treats to look forward to. It’s been branded the fiercest derby in Spain because of the competitive balance it presents; it’s Sevilla v Real Betis tomorrow night. Before that Barca and Real Madrid host Zaragoza and Athletic Club while two out of form sides- Celta Vigo and Mallorca- meet in Galicia. Here is our treble:
one. Topsy-turvy Barcelona win another ding-dong battle. 3-0 soon became 3-2 before Leo Messi gave the scoreline a more comfortable feel in a game which certainly shares similarities with Barca’s battle in Depor. Never the less they won again to continue their remarkable start to the La Liga season, while Messi now has his sights set on Gerd Muller’s 85 goals in a calendar year after passing Pele’s 75. Atletico continued the hunt with a 2-0 win over Getafe while Real Madrid overcame a scare in tough conditions to beat Levante 2-1. Canterano Alvaro Morata with a late winner after Xabi Alonso had squandered a penalty.
one: a day late and with light Madrid win away. The fact Real managed their first points on the road this season is almost surplus to the story. On Sunday night, when the game was supposed to be played, it is alleged that Rayo fans cut the wires to the floodlights. What followed was a mess, lots of this, lots of that and eventually no football. Fans hung about hoping for a game but nada. The home supporters are angry at their president and his greedy ‘Dias del Club’ where season ticket holders pay additional charges for the bigger teams visits. Anyway, it was played on Monday night and Benzema and Ronaldo made sure of a 2-0 win in Vallecas for Mourinho.
one: and then there was one. Rayo’s credible 0-0 draw at home to Sevilla and Valladolid’s 2-0 defeat at San Mames meant that on Sunday night Barcelona entertained Valencia with the opportunity to become the only team with maximum points from the first three games. An unlikely source secured the required win- Adriano. He curled in a screamer after the ball was sent back to him by little Leo. Valencia huffed and puffed but blew no houses down- they were OK defensively but lacked an attacking spark. The positive for them is that the Bernabeu and now the Camp Nou are both out the way.
one: Two from five as relegation battle goes to the last day. Breathtaking stuff at the bottom last night after a season of headlines from the top two. Zaragoza beat Racing and Sporting beat Betis to haul themselves closer to Granada, Villarreal and Rayo who lost to Real Madrid, Valencia and Sevilla respectively. So what does that all mean?
one: It’s been confirmed, Racing are goners. We know, we know. We are as stunned as you lot that Alvaro Cervera couldn’t save the sinking ship that was Santander. Poached from Huelva in March to keep the club in La Liga, it was never likely to happen. And, alas, this weekend Racing Santander became the first side to be relegated to the Segunda this season. They tamely surrendered their top flight status 3-0 at Real Sociedad. Griezmann grabbed a brace for La Real, keep an eye on him for some summer transfer activity.
one: Lights, camera, action. The stage is now set and this weekend the script for El Clasico will be written. It comes on the back of another two wins for the big two, and now even Pep is admitting Barca’s title hopes are ‘less impossible’. Both went behind to penalties- Madrid at home to Sporting and Barcelona away to Levante. Both came back to win 3-1 and 1-2 respectively. Both had their talismen- Ronaldo and Messi- on the score sheet. Both have Champions League ties to negotiate midweek. Both still have their eyes on La Liga, even if Guardiola still is not enitrely admitting it.
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