Monday, April 11, 2011

La Liga: A Storm Brewing...

Back to Scoring Ways
 The big news in Marca today is that Messi, who is often a pain in most opposition's backsides, has a persistent pain in his own backside in the form of his ever bumbling brother who's once again in the news for 8 shots fired by an unidentified stranger outside his house. While this may not be a reason for Messi to have eerily lost his goal scoring form for about the same time as Ronaldo was injured, it certainly was not an impetus for the two shots he fired and made stick against strugglers Almeria (which goes on to mean that Ronaldo's return to injury might probably be the motivational factor). Joan Gasfart, er Gaspart, the scandal and debt ridden ex-president of Barca (Ah those were the times) has set the tone for the upcoming Mad April by claiming that if he was still the Barca president, he would've predicted a 14-0 scoreline in favor of his beloved Barca and not apologized after pressure from media based in the capital, unlike Rossel. But then again, as we all know, had Gaspart still been president, Barca would've, in all probability, been playing in the Europa League at this very moment. Meanwhile down in the sun soaked, beach blessed shores of the ever victimized Barcelona, Sporting Director Zubizarreta continued waxing more about Barcelona's infallible style. Busquets, not to be undone, has prioritized the Champions League in stark contrast to his coach who, aside from continuing to sample new hair therapy products and wistfully wishing a move away from the high pressure cauldron of the Camp Nou, prioritized the league a few weeks back. That certainly didn't reflect in the team's performance, eking out only a 2-1 victory against rock bottom Almeria, after going a goal down in the first half with the first of Barca's two goals coming from a soft penalty (Villarato anyone?). The fans of Almeria would've finally recognized the unshakeable truth that after some years in the glam sham, their club is once again destined for the gloom bloom of the Segunda. They have to, since they let one of Barcelona's midgets score a header past them despite having players beating their opposition for size.

Kaka - Simply back in the team
The feeling down in the imperious capital though is one of joy. As Marca gleefully explains, Mourinho would have almost the entire 25 man squad at his disposal on the cusp of the fixture congestion before stressing on Ronaldo's return to goal scoring form and Kaka's return to his form of old, which is obviously not true at all. The article also lovingly explained to its the readers about the Maginficient 7 of Madrid in Ronaldo, Ozil, Di Maria, Kaka, Benzema, Higuain and Adebayor, conveniently ignoring and downplaying the importance of Alonso and the fact that out of the 3 strikers in the 7, only 1 would probably start. APTW though, takes a more hardline approach and feels that the only true magnificient thing about Madrid would be that they manage to beat Barca in one or more of the upcoming clasicos. It's certainly hard to predict how Madrid will play against Barcelona given their yo-yo form of late: a dismal 1-0 loss to Sporting Gijon marking the end of Mourinho's 9 year league home record and a big Shut Up served on a platter by Manuel Preciado, the guy who had the misfortune (or fortune) to stare down the two fingers of Mourinho sitting in the club bus indicating a trip to Segunda, a thumping 4-0 annhiliation of Tottenham and an indifferent, boring affair against Athletic Bilbao helped by a couple of penalties which Di Maria won, Kaka converted and topped by an individual effort by Ronaldo, who is back to scoring complete with angry kitten celebration, hair gel et al.

While all this madness is rife, focus has now shifted to the curious formation and starting eleven that Mourinho used against Athletic, supposedly in an effort to rest players for the upcoming fixtures. This has served up a hotbed of steaming conspiracy theories, with one version stating that Mourinho has finally given up on the league, a mark once again on the imperious Madridista image, a blot on the "Madrid always fights till the last" theory. The other version insists that Mourinho is rotating the squad at the right time to make Barca fight for the league and tire out it's relatively thin squad in an attempt to make them lose everything come April end. APTW is more likely to believe the first version given the fact that Mourinho himself admitted that the league is "objectively impossible" after the loss against Gijon.

On a side note, Referee Undiano Mallecano, the official designated to officate the Copa Del Rey is already the subject of electronic variants of cat calls from both sects of fans; the Azulgrana version being that he's the referee who's awarded the most penalties to Real Madrid, witj the Blancos citing the number of penalties he has not. helpfully provided some vital stats in relation to Undiano's officiating in the clasicos. With Barcelona winning 3 and drawing one in the four clasicos that Undiano has officiated till date, AS implies that the referee might just be favoring Barca. Of course, for madridistas it does not help that Undiano was the same referee who officiated in the infamous 2-6 at the Bernabeu, the 3-3 draw at the Bernabeu, the other two being the Ronaldinho inspired 3-0 victory of the 04-05 season at the Camp Nou and the 1-0 victory for Barca at the Camp Nou while under the embittered Pellegrini. The second point to chew on, which AS cast as a leftover was that Barca have been carded 7 times while Madrid got 16 shades of yellow. APTW feels that the referee may not have a very big impact on the game as some of the morons that officiate in La Liga do since Real and Barca both have not lost a single match under him this season.

A Manita torpedoes the Yellow Submarine
 With the big two teams grinding out some rather dull, but effective wins this last weekend, the match of the weekend was served by the Valencia derby where Valencia served up a Manita to Villarreal, Mata and Soldado impressing for the home side. Valencia now have a six point cushion over Villarreal and with only one campaign left, their chance of making the 3rd CL slot seems to face little risk. The away side however, in a strong step away from tradition, was so downright pathetic that the fans could be forgiven for thinking that it was Deportivo who was playing the game. Borja Valero was visibly dejected and lamented the possibility of Villarreal getting their butts handed out to them on a silver platter if they play like this against FC Twente in the upcoming Europa League fixture. With the business end of the season looming large, Villarreal’s form seems to be taking a hit of late. The second darling of most fans in Spain has lately been moving like a submarine with a fuel gauge reading “E” in the league as they’ve had to compete on two fronts for most of the season; the Europa and the Champions League slot in the league, and their team is simply not cut out to concentrate on two campaigns. But with just seven games to go in the league and an eight point advantage over their nearest rivals, Villarreal’s CL slot is only theirs to lose. Their Europa League conquest for this season is a different story altogether though. Meanwhile lower down the table, the battle for Europa League slots is hotter than the battle for the first spot, with Sevilla, Athletic Bilbao, Espanyol and the inconsistent Atletico Madrid all separated by a mere two points. Javi Martinez made his teams intentions clear after the 3-0 loss against Madrid by promising a gory vision of the team being willing to sweat blood to make the Europa League slots. “Gory” works down in the Basque region and with La Real (Sociedad) floundering as they are, the fans would love Martinez’s promise.


Navneet Suhalka said...

LMAO at JAON GASFART (ah those were the times )

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