The ‘in need of protection’ Weekend Predictions - Round 14


Levante (16th) v Atlético Madrid (7th)

The modern, hurly-burly world is not an easy place to live in at the moment. Unemployment, Sepp Blatter, Autotune-themed songs everywhere. So take a little lie back, tickle your tootsies and enjoy Atlético Madrid’s defending in the 2-3 defeat to Aris in the Europa League on Wednesday night. It’s truly heartwarming stuff.

The rather surprising loss leaves qualification from the group stages out of Atleti’s hands, with the current holders needing to do better than their Greek rivals in the final round of matches. Or maybe a draw with a heavy defeat for Aris. Or something like that.

Either way, Atlético club president, Enrique Cerezo, has thrown in the towel by huffing that “I don’t have any hope in the competition.” Then again, this was the same gentleman who said that his coach, Quique Sánchez Flores, only deserved a one match ban for trying start a fist-fight with most of the Espanyol side, last Saturday, because “it wasn’t the French Revolution.”

FEF also spotted the lack of bayonets, powdered wigs, pamphleteers and stinky cheese but still handed the Rojiblanco manager a two game touchline ban for last week’s wickedness.

LLL Prediction - Away win

Osasuna (12th) v Barcelona (1st)

Quality is not exactly a word that is generally associated with the Osasuna side. Violence certainly is though. And that’s going to be the tactics against visiting Barcelona claims midfielder, Fernando Soriano. “Boot, knees, elbows. It has to be a hard, physical game,” predicted the former Almería man. “I believe and hope they won’t find it so easy here.”

LLL, for one, has been fooled by this tantalising trash talk.

LLL Prediction - Draw

Real Madrid (2nd) v Valencia (5th)

This week’s ‘rain on your wedding day’ moment comes from Marca, of course, who have been moaning again that Cristiano Ronaldo is tackled too much (as well as not being given enough penalties). Thursday’s edition wittered that the big match bottler was “hunted in the Camp Nou.” Mainly because he had gone missing, perhaps.

“We need the the likes of Cristiano, Messi, Agüero and Forlán to be fully fit and perfectly protected,” said the paper’s editorial in a perfectly fine sentiment.

Fast forward a day and Marca is reporting that Messi is a major doubt for Saturday’s clash with Osasuna with an ankle injury. The one that Sergio Ramos gave to him. “With extreme violence” noted Xavi.

LLL Prediction - Home win


Getafe (11th) v Mallorca (6th)

Wednesday night was a tough one for those 46 hardcore, all-weather Getafe fans who actually cared about the club’s Europa League campaign. In what looked like rather chilly temperatures in Denmark, Getafe were leading Odense 1-0 until an injury time equaliser for their opponents dumped the Spanish side out of the competition.

Angel Torres for one was more upset that the other tie being played in their group, Young Boys against Stuttgart, had kicked off half an hour later due to bad weather with the Getafe president almost suggesting something fishy was going on that would certainly have seen him thrown into UEFA’s brig. But, in the end, Torres pulled himself back from the brink. “We’re not going to complain,” he added a day after the game.

LLL - Home win

Almería (19th) v Zaragoza (20th)

Zaragoza defender, Jiri Jarosik, the man footballer is largely responsible for most of his side’s dropped points this season - well, the ones against Sevilla a few weeks back anyhow - has shown just as much awareness of the world of football off the pitch, as on it this week with his assessment of Sunday’s relegation 15 pointer against Almería.

“It’s a very important match in terms of points and the team’s morale. We’re going for the win.”

LLL Prediction - Home win

Espanyol (4th) v Sporting (17th)

One of the musings that came out of the Barça battering of Madrid was what Sporting coach, Manuel Preciado, would make of the whole affair. Keen followers of la Liga will remember a few episodes ago, the avuncular coach was on the end of a sneer or two from José Mourinho, who accused the mustachioed maestro of resting players and giving up in a league game in the Camp Nou against Barça - a game Sporting lost 1-0 in what was a fairly tight affair.

‘Tight’ certainly isn’t one the words that was used describe Monday’s mauling, so Preciado was asked for his opinion on the game. “5-0? It certainly didn’t make me sad,” admitted the Sporting supremo. Manolo also confessed that he preferred Barcelona to win the game but “not because I have anything against Real Madrid,” he deadpanned, “but I like Barça. I think they’re better and deserved to win.”

To rub extra salt into Madrid’s chafed bits Preciado also opined that the current Barcelona could be “the best team in history.”

LLL Prediction - Home win

Málaga (18th) v Racing (15th)

Perhaps one of the best Tweets - as the kids today call them - going around in regards to the Madrid defeat was a pretend Marca headline on Tuesday that involved the current Málaga manager - “side formerly lead by Manuel Pellegrini loses to Barcelona.”

Incidentally, Sunday’s match for Málaga will be particularly worth watching if it pops up on a screen somewhere just to witness Duda’s attempt at a cool and hip fin hairdo with the forward not really having a great deal of ‘resources’ to play with.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Villarreal (3rd) v Sevilla (8th)

Two home defeats in la Liga to Mallorca and Getafe and a 4-2 loss to PSG in the Europa League on Thursday means that the Sevilla camp certainly isn’t a happy one at the moment. And that’s not even LLL making stuff up, for once.

Defender, Drago, this week confirmed what most Sevilla fans have seen for themselves this season from the eighth-placed side. “The group doesn’t have the ambition or drive as before,” revealed the Serbian stopper. “The dressing room is not together.”

LLL Prediction - Home win

Real Sociedad (9th) v Athletic (10th)

One of the bad boys taking part in the first Basque derby in nearly four years is Athletic’s Carlos Gurpegui, the scorer of his side’s last second winner against Osasuna, last week.

However, the midfielder is more usually known for being a dirty, gobby so-and-so but that's only because he is victimised by the game's governing bodies, claims the midfielder himself when comparing the one match suspension handed to Sergio Ramos for his assault on Leo Messi on Monday.

“If it had been me, I’d have got three or five games,” complained Gurpegui.

LLL Prediction - Home win


Deportivo (14th) v Hércules (13th)

Despite David Trezeguet having only been at Hércules for a matter of months (but knocking in seven goals in his time there, to be fair), the Frenchman has set his sights on a move away from Alicante to somewhere with a touch more finesse. And a training ground, perhaps, a luxury that Hércules is still lacking.

The week began with his agent, Antonio Caliendo, admitting his client is wanted by Inter Milan. As soon as possible. And that means January. “We have certainly looked at the Inter option and for the moment, we arena’t ruling out anything.”

But rather than being all with the “I love it here at Hércules and intend to give it everything I’ve got,” Trezeguet confirmed what his agent had revealed and that he couldn’t wait to leave the east coast club. “My aim is to show what I can do to move next year to a club with more important ambitions,” snooted Trezeguet.  Like the Higuaín-less Real Madrid perhaps?

LLL Prediction - Home win