El Balonazo’s Week 31 Review – Medics, punks and victory for Mallorca

by Back Page Football

Gregorio ManzanoThis indecision’s bugging me‘, whined Joe Strummer some thirty-one summers ago to the new wave kids at Shea Stadium in New York. Should he have stayed or should he have gone? An eternal question and, given the premature demise of The Clash front man, one we’ll never know the answer to. But in the wake of the Surly Ones departure, the Special One emerged and we now have the dubious pleasure of following daily musings on his immediate future. Or not so immediate. It all depends, you see.

According to yesterday’s El Pais, Mourinho is staying put in Madrid to battle it out with his various demons; the press, the players, the president and – let’s face facts – himself. The Sunday Mirror – the UK’s embodiment of righteous journalism, concurs with the Spanish paper of choice for the chattering classes and has Mourinho seeing out his contract in the splendour of the Bernabeu. The Sunday People – political affiliations unknown but a big fan of the late Margaret Roberts – however thinks that Real Madrid President, Florentino Perez is gearing up for a double raid on the Tottenham Hotspur’s hothouse for young footballing talent by poaching both manager Villa Boas and jug eared wizard Gareth Bale.

Whichever way this saga turns out one thing will have a large, Champions League trophy sized bearing on what the decision is and, just as importantly, who is seen to be the one to make it. Should The Special One deliver Europe’s pre-eminent club trophy it’s safe to say that neither Madrid fans or presidential team would be too delighted at the prospect of the Luso striding around Wembley with a sour, puckered expression on his face whilst waving in apparent departure at the fans and making to throw his medal at the nearest lucky recipient. He has form in this department as Porto and Inter fans will be well aware and, who knows, if the right overtures come from Paris or, ahem, Manchester, he may do so again. All of that said, free scoring thrill merchants Borussia Dortmund may put pay to all of that.

Back in La Liga we had a humdinger of a weekend. The Friday night late show in Sevilla saw local foes Betis and Seville scrap it out at the Villamarin. As befits a local derby there was aggression, one fingered salutes and entirely unnecessary yet entirely amusing histrionics. In between which were three goals a piece. Betis were the sunnier of demeanour come full-time as, unlike their rivals, they’d come back from the virtual point of death after going in three one down at half time.

Valladolid managed to put a little bit of zip back into their campaign with a two one home victory over in form Getafe early on Saturday afternoon. After this Levante were put to the sword in the Mediterranean sunshine by a rampant Deportivo. Yes, that sentence included all of those words in that order. Depor are now out of the relegation zone which had taken on the form of a coffin in recent weeks, after having put together four straight victories.

Espanyol and Valencia then went back and forth like a couple of old pugs and produced a cracking three all draw. The first goal didn’t come until the forty fifth minute through Espanyols’ Wakaso and the last came four minutes into added time only moments after Soldado’s 91st minute strike looked to have given Los Che the victory.

Malaga attoned for their last minute collapse as they beat Osasuna by a goal to nil with a little more conservatism on show from Pelegrinos men whilst Osasuna will be grateful to other results for keeping them in the same place they started the weekend – 15th.

Sunday Morning Sweet FA. For Rayo that is. Real Sociedad displayed the kind of clinical that made Quincy an eighties mainstay on our screens and scored twice from four first half chances. For Rayo it’s probably the end of the Euro dream but a fantastic season none-the-less. For La Real, the Champions League beckons.

Zaragoza and Athletic were both on the end of three nil home spankings. The former by Barcelona, the latter Madrid. Any hopes of San Mames’ intimidating atmosphere stymying the capitalists in their final Cathedral encounter were ended by Ronaldo with his double strike complemented by a late garnish from Higuain.

Zaragoza slipped into the relegation zone as a result of their defeat although remain a single point behind Granada who shipped five for the second week in a row, this time to Atleti.

The final game of the weekend has been happening as I hacked away. Bottom placed Mallorca are now a hefty three points healthier after consigning their pre-match bottom rung bedfellows to a single goal defeat in the islands. They left it late, mind with Giovani doing the damage in the ninety third minute.

That’s it for this week. Back on Friday with more inane, stodgy prose.

By El Balonazo // Twitter

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