Leading scorers fail to find the net
Only three of La Liga’s top thirteen scorers were on the mark at the weekend, with Rossi
scoring his 15th for Villarreal and Aguero’s double against Zargoza taking him up to 11 for
the season, whilst Rondon’s goal for Malaga was his 10th of the campaign. Despite not
scoring, Barça’s front three of Messi, Villa and Pedro remain the most potent force in the
league, having scored a massive 57 goals between them - more than any other team except Real Madrid
in the competition.
Malaga, Zaragoza and Osasuna took maximum points at the weekend, whilst Sporting Almeria and
Llevant all drew. The big losers at the bottom were Hercules, beaten 2-0 at the Bernabeu, Deportivo
and Racing, who lost 3-1 in Pamplona. Real Madrid’s win puts them five behind Barça and 16
ahead of Valencia, who suffered a post Champions League hangover at Zaragoza, losing 4-0 – a
defeat that Villarreal were not able to fully exploit, held 1-1 at home to Sporting.
Glimmer of hope for Malaga
Malaga have actually got the sixth best away record in La Liga, but their win at Anoeta was
only their second in 12 games as pressure mounted on coach Pellegrini. The Costa del Sol team stay
bottom of the league, but they are now level on points with Hercules, who were beaten by two
Benzema goals at the Bernabeu, and Almeria, who shared the points in a 2-2 draw with Atletico
Madrid. Quique Sanchez Flores’ team twice went ahead through Aguero, but the battling Almeria
team drew level and with Bilbao also drawing and Espanyol winning, Atletico stay in seventh, level
on points with Seville. Real’s defeat seems to have removed them from the fight for UEFA
spots, they now lie 9th, four points adrift of Seville and seven behind Bilbao.
Mendilibar effect working for Osasuna
Osasuna seem to have got it right changing coach Camacho for Jose Luis Mendilibar –
since the new man took over they have taken 10 points from a possible 15 and Sunday’s 3-1 win
over Racing lifted them to 12th, level on points with Levant who drew 1-1 with Mallorca, and six
points clear of the drop zone.
Racing also changed their manager, appointing Marcelino in February, but after an initial
surge of good results, they have now gone four games without a win and slipped to 16th. Sporting
are just a point behind Racing after a remarkable draw at Villarreal, where Diego Castro scored an
injury time penalty to equalise a first half Rossi strike with his team down to 9 men following red
cards for Jose Angel and Sastre.
Valencia “a disaster”
Villarreal’s slip up meant they were unable to make up much ground on
Valencia, still three points ahead of them on 54 points, after the “Che” went down to a
painful 4-0 defeat in Zaragoza on Saturday night, following on from their exit from the Champions
League last week. Valencia coach Unai Emery summed up his team’s performance by claiming:
“we were a disaster all over the pitch”, whilst hard man David Navarro spoke for the
players saying: “we want to apologise to the supporters –there are no excuses”.
The win takes Zaragoza to 16th on 30 points, four more than the bottom three.
Espanyol backup to fifth
Espanyol’s win over Deportivo was only their second victory in eight games,
but the goals from Ivan Alonso and Verdu- and the sending off of the visitors’ Pablo Alvarez
-proved enough to see off an ultra conservative Deportivo and lift Pochettino’s young team
back into fifth. Espanyol now have 43 points, four clear of Atletico Madrid and one above Bilbao,
who drew 2-2 at Getafe on Monday thanks to an injury time equaliser from Urku after Getafe’s
Manu had earlier scored a hat trick of sorts, bagging both his team’s goals and putting
through his own net for Bilbao’s first.