The beard-growing, turbo-boosting weekend Primera predictions

Saturday

Athletic Bilbao (5th) v Real Madrid (2nd)

Some big questions sprung up in regards to Kaká’s surprise squad inclusion and subsequent appearance in Tuesday’s Champions League win over Spurs. Is the Brazilian groin-crocker back in business? Are his knee-knack troubles firmly behind him? Can he play a critical role in the season’s final run-in for Real Madrid? Has he taken away that restraining order which stopped LLL from going near his wife?

But that would be overlooking the testing topic which took up some of Marca’s time on Thursday morning - why was Kaká sporting a brand new beard? The paper suggested that it was a means of putting pressure on Gillette - one of the forward’s sponsors, with whom the Brazilian is reportedly in the process of brokering a new deal. If these negotiations take as long as many have done in the past, then Kaká may look like Moses before the t’s are dotted and the r’s crossed.

But Marca then proposed another reason for the new growth - a change of appearance leading to an improvement in fortunes for poor Kaká. “The beard is another superstition that coincides with the new deal he’s negotiating,” said the paper firmly.

LLL Prediction - Home win (yes, home win)

Barcelona (1st) v Almería (20th)

If you can’t beat them, then join them. Again. That’s the attitude of maverick Almería president Alfonso García Gabarrón, who fired his second coach of the season. The first to walk was Hugo Sánchez after Almería’s 8-0 home walloping by Barcelona in November. His replacement, José Luis Oltra, has only lasted just over four months before being axed following Almería’s loss to Athletic Bilbao on Monday night.

Taking over and leading Almería to their inevitable relegation is Roberto Olabe, who was the club’s sporting director in 2006-07 - the year that the club won promotion from la Segunda under Unai Emery.

LLL Prediction - Home win (yes, home win)

Mallorca (9th) v Sevilla (6th)

Sevilla’s immediate future looked a little less bright with the news that the eternally wonderful Freddie Kanouté is set to miss the next three weeks with a muscle tear in his leg. This departure, added to Luis Fabiano doing a bunk back to Brazil a while back, leaves Alvaro Negredo as Billy No Mates up front for Sevilla. Judging by the striker’s personality, that’s no great surprise.

LLL Prediction - Draw

Sunday

Sporting (13th) v Osasuna (12th)

There’s still work to be done in Sporting’s survival campaign but they certainly enjoyed a Knight Rider style turbo boost through some empty cardboard boxes with last weekend’s win in the Santiago Bernabeu, a victory that potty-mouth, Manuel Preciado, is still being asked about. 

“I had red ears,” recalls the Sporting boss on his post match memories, “I got 236 messages an hour after the game.” The moustachioed marvel also showed that the hatchet was well and truly buried with José Mourinho after their early season spat. “We were all surprised when he came into the dressing room. He didn’t say anything to us, just shook our hands and that’s it.”

LLL Prediction - Home win

Hércules (18th) v Espanyol (7th)

So how did the delightful Hércules president deal with the sacking of Esteban Vigo, the manager who took the team up to the top flight and masterminded an away win over Barcelona this season? By being an a-hole, that’s how. But LLL expected little different from Valentín Botella.

When reacting to an opening win under new coach, Miroslav Djukic, Botella took the time to needlessly insult his predecessor by commenting that “if we have sacked (Vigo) sooner that would have been better”.

LLL has never wanted Espanyol to win a game so much in the blog’s life. And that’s unfortunate timing considering the Pericos are hopeless at the moment.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Racing Santander (11th) v Levante (10th)

From relegation certainties in January, Levante are now a side just four points from Europe, although that doesn’t say a great deal about the likes of Sevilla, Espanyol and Atlético who are currently scrapping for some of the spots available above the Valencia team.

But, it would be “mad” for the third best side in la Primera in the second half of the season to think about the Europa League, scoffs midfielder Xavi Torres.

LLL Prediction - Home win 

Málaga (19th) v Deportivo (16th)

Spain’s economic crisis and its football club’s having as much financial acumen as the government of Portugal has meant money has thus far been the biggest talking point in la Liga in 2011.

One of the many teams having a few economic issues is Dull Deportivo, who are still paying the debts of the Super Deportivo days. This has left the club “on the limit” of going into administration revealed club president, Augusto Lendoiro. However “it would be a shame to (go into it) to suit ourselves,” admitted the jowly big wig. “For some clubs the law is used as an excuse to stop paying bills.”

LLL Prediction - Home win 

Atlético Madrid v Real Sociedad

There was an excitement and a big buzz in and around the Vicente Calderón this week. not only did José Antonio Reyes finish his first colouring book all by himself but the club received a letter from the President and First Lady of the US of A, all the way from the New World.

LLL immediately suspected it would be a firm missive warning of air strikes in support of a UN motion condemning the team’s crimes against defending. But instead it’s a lovely thank you note from Barack and Michelle in appreciation of Atlético giving two shirts given to Sasha and Malia whilst the first family were on their holidays in Spain.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Valencia v Villarreal

Not a bad week for Spanish teams in Europe this week. Four goals for Real Madrid, five for Barcelona and a rather impressive five for Villarreal in Thursday’s Europa League win against FC Twente. “The second leg still remains, but we took a huge step forward,” admits a still cautious Villarreal coach, Juan Carlos Garrido.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Monday

Real Zaragoza v Getafe

Getafe president Angel Torres is the blog’s hero of the week. The Coliseum crusader is tired of rival teams making no attempt whatsoever to pay their debts to other clubs for transfers and going into administration whenever the going gets too tough - all without punishment from the Spanish League who stand idly by like Luis Perea facing an attacker. 

Torres has been musing over the idea of calling for the administrative relegation of Monday’s opponents, Zaragoza, over a failure to pay an installment for the transfer of forward, Ikechukwu Uche, in 2009. The Getafe president claims that he sent 10 missed calls to his Zaragoza counterpart, Agapito Iglesias, in one day asking for the cash needed to pay Getafe’s own bills.

“I’m tired that la Liga is being ruined by clubs who don’t pay their debts,” complained Torres. “This is fraud in every aspect of the law.” Zaragoza’s response was to assure in a soothing but wholly unconvincing manner that they would try to reach an agreement with Getafe. That probably doesn’t involve money.

LLL Prediction - Draw

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