A sideways look at Spanish football
When watching a game of football that is so abysmal, so shockingly silly, so bereft of skill that neither side can string more than three passes together, there are two approaches to take. You can either pledge that you’ll never watch England again (b'dum-tish!) or simply hold the incompetency close to your bosom and feast on 90 minutes of farcical football and dynamic drivel.
In Vallecas on Monday night, La Liga Loca took the latter approach for an encounter between Rayo and Real Madrid in which Michael Essien was man of the match simply because he made the fewest mistakes.
Theo Walcott should show Arsene Wenger a compilation of Rayo winger Lass Bangoura’s laughable crosses and misplaced passes, to let the Frenchman know that he could be a lot worse. The only excuse the blog can imagine for the Guinean’s performance was that he was in a completely different zone of space-time to his colleagues: every ball went to where team-mates had been four seconds before or would be in five seconds' time.
There’s no such simple explanation for what was going on in Alvaro Arbeloa's world, but Marca’s match report highlighted both players on that flank and the “intense duel in which both came out losers.”
Then there was the Rayo back four, who constantly attempted to play the ball out of the defence despite the ever-mounting evidence that this was a very bad idea. Oh, and Xabi Alonso somehow managed to remain on the pitch despite charging around like a panic-stricken cat with its head stuck in a pair of boxer shorts.
The football was truly terrible game and utterly brilliant at the same time, especially when you gleefully considered how much half of the footballers on the pitch cost and compared it with how badly they were playing.
Realising that the time had come to drop the meanie-head act for just one match, even José Mourinho hinted that the 2-0 victory was a complete stinker with praiseworthy talk of “concentration and attitude” from Real Madrid despite the confession that his team “could have played better.” “I don’t think we were imprecise in the centre of the park,” opined the Portuguese, “it was a match with a lot of pressure from both sides.”
Mou at Rayo: "I do like a good farce…"
Of course, the other talking point from Monday’s affair was that the match was being played a day late – which apparently affected the players to such an extent that many lost the neurophysiological connections between their brains and feet – and the desire to know why.
On Monday morning, the police arrived at Rayo’s stadium to begin an investigation into suspicions of sabotage to half of the club’s floodlights, set atop one of the stands. Electricians then repaired the lights, which went through a successful test at three in the afternoon.
The Rayo Ultras have officially denied being behind the alleged sabotage and released a statement that they "had absolutely nothing to do with it, we don’t have any way of getting into the stadium. We denounce for the umpteenth time the absolute deterioration of the stadium. This is why we ask once again for the immediate departure of [club president] Raúl Martín Presa, who is directly responsible for what happened.”
The result, which gives Real Madrid their first away win of the season and a hopeful sniff of the European places, leaves two very big questions to ponder over the week. How did those wires in Rayo’s stadium (allegedly) get cut? And how on earth can professional footballers play so, so badly? Ooh... one more question: Can they do this every week please? Pretty please! Pretty please with sugar on top! Pretty please with...
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