Big Weekend Preview: Will Lionel Messi pick the Clásico to make his mark?

FFT's Spanish expert Tim Stannard looks ahead to a potentially record-breaking Clásico, and reveals what Marca have been tittering about this week... 

Once again, the giant squid of El Clásico is waving all its tentacles in the air and looking for attention by squirting its ink of controversy. And LLL will be paying full attention to see what unfolds in the somnambulant Santiago Bernabéu.
However, the blog will also be doing its duty by keeping an eye on the other nine games taking place this weekend – barring Espanyol vs Deportivo, which already looks awful – to seek answers to the following big questions... 

Will Messi give the ultimate finger to Real Madrid?

LLL is not entirely sure how Real Madrid fans will react should Leo Messi pop in a couple of goals to beat Telmo Zarra’s La Liga record. With indifference probably, which is exactly how the crowd normally is during home matches. A standing ovation, Ronaldinho hat-trick style, is unlikely considering that was more to do with being a rebellious stance against their own failing players. 
Either way, the blog is quite confused by talk in the papers over some kind of official ceremony should Messi achieve that immense feat, as if the game was going to be stopped, a platform wheeled out and everyone enjoys a cup of tea and polite round of applause to celebrate the Argentine’s achievement. 
Real Madrid vs Barcelona - Saturday 18.00 CET

Which Suarez prediction will come true?

There are bets available on whether the Uruguayan will start, come on as a substitute, score a goal, and bite someone. But what LLL enjoyed was Marca delving deeper into the latter question by asking: If the Barça forward were to chow down, who would be the target? 
Sergio Ramos and Pepe are joint favourites to be on the receiving end of some dental action. To be honest, LLL is not entirely sure that the dimensional structure of the universe will hold should Pepe be picked. One can only hope. 
Real Madrid vs Barcelona - Saturday 18.00 CET

Will Sevilla be the big winners of the Clásico?

While the Big Two battle it out, Unai Emery’s merry men have the time to nibble on any scraps falling from the game. A draw at the Bernabéu would be a cosy affair to help slow down some of Sevilla’s rivals at the top, while a Real Madrid win could see them ending the weekend sharing the Primera lead with Barça. To do that the Andalusian side will need to overcome Villarreal... and wake up from a Thursday bore draw in the Europa League against Standard Liege.
Sevilla vs Villarreal - Sunday 19.00 CEST


Can Negredo help Valencia avoid another spiral?

These are the times when chest hair is ruffled, thighs are slapped and men go “grrr!” Valencia’s biggest fear for the season was what would happen when a bright start to the campaign suffered a setback. That moment arrived with last week’s rather mad 3-0 loss to Deportivo. 
Fortunately, the rather limp Elche are in town to help Valencia bounce back with élan. What’s more, Alvaro Negredo may finally be able to get back out on a pitch again having recovered from the injury which has halted the start of the striker’s loan spell in Mestalla from Manchester City. 
Valencia vs Elche - Saturday 20.00 CEST

Could Jagoba Arrasate be the next to fall?

LLL has no idea if events do take place in threes, but the next logical place for another swift firing in La Liga after those at Levante and Córdoba this week is the fine city of San Sebastian. 
The week could have been a lot easier for Real Sociedad boss Jagoba Arrasate, had his players focused literally for the final five seconds of the game against Getafe last Monday.
With 25 seconds left on the clock in injury time, La Real had a free-kick in their own half. Ten seconds later, the ball was with Getafe keeper Vicente Guaita. About 10 seconds after that Real Sociedad had lost 2-1 to plonk the Basque side on the brink of the relegation zone alongside cousins Athletic Bilbao. 
Córdoba vs Real Sociedad - Saturday 22.00 CEST

Can Córdoba’s new coach get them smiling?

Normally Miroslav Djukic is more well known for being a bit of a slave-driving, snarling, Gladiator-trainer type, rather than being one for morale-boosting huddles. But that is the job of the former Valladolid and Valencia coach who returns to La Liga with Córdoba, after last seen being fired at the Mestalla last December. 
Djukic is taking over from the sacked Albert Ferrer and finds his new Andalusian club without a win in eight Primera matches, but facing the possibility of picking up three points against the very vulnerable Real Sociedad. “The first mission is to take away the pressure and anxiety the players have on top of the them,” soothed the Serbian manager. “The wins will come.”
Córdoba vs Real Sociedad - Saturday 22.00 CEST

Will Athletic reboot their reboot?

The one positive for Athletic, who were looking to restart their season after the international break, is that the team is playing a heck of a lot better. The negative is that Basque nerves are still a-tingling, Athletic without a victory in nine La Liga and Champions League matches. That run may well reach 10 this weekend against a strangely unpredictable Almería outfit in the Clásico warm-up game.
Almería vs Athletic Bilbao - Saturday 16.00 CEST

Can Getafe keep on using the force? 

Being a peculiar club, Getafe only presented the footballer who scored two late winning goals against Real Sociedad on Monday, two days later. That footballer happens to be called Karim Yoda, who hailed from the Romanian league. Karim Yoda. Yoda. 
LLL cannot hold it any longer. Good he was. More goals against Deportivo score he must. All season joke be made it will. Score again he probably won’t. No fans against Atlético there will be. 
Getafe vs Atlético Madrid - Sunday 21.00 CET

Will Levante’s new leader start with a win?

For the second successive season, José Luis Mendilibar has lost his job in La Primera by November. Last year Osasuna were the club doing the culling.
This time around, Levante took the decision to dispense with his match-losing services after a start to the year that was already going badly even before the 5-0 home defeat to Real Madrid. 
Lucas Alcaraz has moved into the hotseat, the manager who was at Granada last season, before he left to be replaced by Joaquín Caparrós, who was at Levante and... and... everyone has stopped reading by now haven’t they? Enjoy the Clásico! 
Celta Vigo vs Levante - Friday 21.00 CEST