El Centrocampista


It may be the season of goodwill to all men but that didn’t stop two La Liga managers entering this weekend with clouds of uncertainty hanging over their jobs.

After disappointing starts to the season, both Atletico Madrid boss Gregorio Manzano and Villarreal manager Juan Garrido have had to field numerous questions raised about the security of their jobs.

And with many on the La Liga scene indicating that the pair could be very close to spending Christmas unemployed, today’s game were of utmost importance.

For both of them however, those dark clouds have just darkened even further.


In the days early kick-off, Atlético suffered a shock 2 -0 defeat against Real Betis.

Despite having limited possession throughout the game at the Vicente Calderon, the away side sealed victory with second half strikes from Pozuelo and Roque Santa Cruz.

The win sees Betis follow up last weekend’s dramatic win against Valencia to ensure that the side from Seville move into the relatively safety of eleventh place.

With their home form being the only saving grace for Atletí this season, the concern must be that they are gradually transferring their ‘dreadful’ away form to the Vicente Calderon.

They now drop down to tenth place.

In even a more precarious position however, are Villarreal who threw away a one goal lead to lose 2 -1 at Osasuna.

After Ruben turned in Cani’s low cross in the 64th minute, it had looked like ‘The Yellow Submarine’ were going to end a disappointing spell that has sunk them to 17th place.

But Osasuna, who have one of the best home records in the league, fought back and after Balde equalised with 15 minutes remaining they completed the turn around when Sergio Fernandez rose to head home in the 83th minute.

It was Villarreal’s third defeat in four games while in contrast, Osasuna are positioning themselves perfectly for a European push in the new year.

Goals either side of half time from Roberto Soldado saw Valencia overcome Malaga at the Mestalla.

Having recovered from a loss last time out against Betis, the home side enjoyed a large amount of possession against their opponents and put it to good use with goals in the 36th and 61st minutes.

The victory sees Unai Emery’s men remain seven points adrift of Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top of the table.

Cash rich Malaga meanwhile slip to seventh place.

Granada carried on their recent resurgence to record their third win in five games by defeating Levante 2 -1 at Los Carmenes.

The hosts took the lead from the penalty spot through Siqueria’s cheeky chip down the middle of the goal paid.

They extended their lead just before the half time whistle through Abel’s volley, but the away side set up a frantic last half an hour when Kone scored in the 60th minute.

Granada however managed to hold on for a crucial win which sees them leap into 13th place.

Racing Santander and Real Sociedad played out a goalless draw at El Sardinero.

In what was dubbed relegation ‘six pointer’ it is a result that does little for either side.

La Real’s cause wasn’t helped when the away side had Inigo Martinez sent off in the 54th minute, but the home side ultimately failed to capitalise.

Santander remain firmly rooted in the relegation zone, while Sociedad aren’t faring much better in 15th place.

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