If you are not a member yet, you can sign up here

Winter is upon us, and in Spain that means it's time for the Copa del Rey. Two rounds were fitted in either side of the Christmas break, starting with a lively fourth round second leg in which no less than thirteen red cards were shown in all. Two of those came in the match on Tuesday between Espanyol and Celta, De Lucas picking up two bookings against his old side before half time, and Jordi Amat also sent off later on in the second half for the same reason. Three red cards on Wednesday in the tie between Málaga and Getafe, Weligton red carded for a foul on Barrada as he advanced on goal, and after the visitors took the lead, Casquero was sent to join him in the bath for a tackle from behind on Toulalan. Málaga saved the tie after that, and a frustrated Michel was also shown a red card for insulting the referee as they walked off the pitch. Another Michel, this time Rayo's, was given a straight red for coming back on to the pitch from the substitutes' bench to protest, and earlier on in the same game Racing's caretaker coach Juanjo González was sent to the stands for "waving his arms about and shouting", whatever that means! Two other managers, Athletic Bilbao's assistant Claudio Vivas and Albacete boss Antonio Gómez, were sent off for similar reasons, Gómez at least having something to shout about after his second division B side knocked out Atlético Madrid. Villarreal's Musacchio was given his marching orders for a head-butt on double goalscorer Pablo Infante, who had just put Mirandés through against the Champions League side, and Córdoba's in-demand midfielder Javi Hervás was sent off as well after being shown a second yellow card near the end of the game against Betis, although it came too late to prevent the first division side from coming back. And finally there were red cards for two Deportivo players in their epic tie against Levante, Saúl having to go for a second bookable offence with ten minutes still to go in the first half, and Borja also picking up a second yellow card near the end of extra time. Both Michels, Musacchio and the coaches were all given two match bans which they must serve out in the Copa del Rey, even if it is only next season.

The first leg of the fifth round took place in the opening week of the new year, and (as is usual in the first leg), there were far less incidents, with only two red cards in the eight games. One of those was for Espanyol's reserve keeper Kiko Casilla, who was unlucky to be sent off soon after the restart for what referee Undiano Mallenco considered was a foul on Córdoba's Pepe Díaz in the area. Video clips afterwards showed that the keeper had not touched him and that Díaz had dived, but the referee does not have access to such technology at the time, and a distraught Casilla (finally given a chance to shine after so long in the shadows) was eventually persuaded to leave the field of play. Espanyol are expected to appeal. The second red card was for Real Madrid's assistant coach Rui Faria, who was sent to the stands for the second time in a month for shouting and waving his arms about in protest. It seems that a wiser Mourinho is delegating some of his main functions this season, Faria for getting into trouble with referees, and Karanka for upsetting journalists at the press conferences! Now, who can we get to stick fingers in opposing trainers'' eyes?!?

Only two red cards at the weekend, and both for Sporting Gijón players in their match at Betis. Lora was the first to go for a second bookable offence close to half time, and a frustrated Carmelo followed him down the tunnel near the end after also picking up two yellow cards not long after coming on as substitute. Mallorca's Tomás Pina is the first player to make it to the second threshold of ten bookings, and he will miss the next weekend's round of games together with Domínguez and Perea (both Atlético), Beñat (Betis), Sergio García (Espanyol), Puñal (Osasuna), Arana (Racing), Navarro (Sevilla), Botía (Sporting), Soldado (Valencia), and Bruno and Marco Rubén (both Villarreal), all of whom picked up their fifth cautions in the last round of games. (10.01.12)

PS As expected, the appeals committee agreed that Javi Martínez had not comitted a penalty in the last match against Zaragoza (see week 17 report), and his red card was cancelled. The decision does not change the fact that Ahletic had to play with ten men for three quarters of the match, but luckily for them they won 2-1 in the end.

PPS. Bruno was let off his yellow card on appeal, so he will be able to play at the weekend.

(* suspension pending disciplinary meeting decision)

Villains Yellow cards Red cards (straight) Games banned Total points
Iñigo Martínez (Real Soc) 8 2 (1) 3 14
Michel (Getafe) 7 1 (1) 3* 12
Musacchio (Villarreal) 7 1 (1) 3* 12
Amorebieta (Athletic) 8 2 2 12
Diop (Racing) 9 1 2 12
Pina (Mallorca) 10 0 2* 12
Rami (Valencia) 6 1 (1) 3 11
Lanzaro (Zaragoza) 7 2 2 11
Forlín (Espanyol) 8 1 2 11
Arribas (Rayo) 10 0 1 11
Spahic (Sevilla) 10 0 1 11
Jordi Alba (Valencia) 5 1 (1) 3 10
Jordi Amat (Espanyol) 5 2 (1) 2 10
Satrustegui (Osasuna) 6 2 2 10
Domínguez (Atlético) 6 1 (1) 2* 10
Lopo (Getafe) 6 1 (1) 2 10
Javi López (Espanyol) 7 1 2 10
Navarro (Sevilla) 7 1 2* 10
Casado (Rayo) 9 0 1 10
Medel (Sevilla) 9 0 1 10