The Cowardly Weekend Predictions - Round 15
SaturdayValencia (3rd) vs Espanyol (18th)It would seem that the players and staff at the Mestalla are going to have their stockings filled by Santa this Christmas after all. Only the ones who have been good, mind. Which leaves about two. Having had their bankÃ¢ÂÂs computer say Ã¢ÂÂnoÃ¢ÂÂ to a request for a 100 million euro loan to keep the club going until the New Year, ValenciaÃ¢ÂÂs bigwigs have managed to get their hands on 40 million euro from financial organisations, foreign investment groups and future sponsorship deals. And this has temporarily taken the pressure of the need to flog the likes of Silva and Villa with, club president, Vicente Soriano asserting on Tuesday that Ã¢ÂÂwe wonÃ¢ÂÂt accept any offer for our stars.Ã¢ÂÂ But it was a promise that had been downgraded a day later to Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm not a fortune teller,Ã¢ÂÂ when asked about what would happen in the winter transfer window. ThereÃ¢ÂÂs still no news on the sale of the old Mestalla ground with a not-telling Soriano declaring that Ã¢ÂÂsoon, you will all knowÃ¢ÂÂ the names of those looking to bulldoze ValenciaÃ¢ÂÂs soon to be ex-home, before Ã¢ÂÂmwah, mwah, ha-ingÃ¢ÂÂ back to his lair. LLL Prediction - Home winBarcelona (1st) vs Real Madrid (5th)At the beginning of the week, it appeared as if the latest instalment of this horribly over-hyped encounter was going to be a 15 goal rollicking for Real Madrid, with Bernd Schuster completely disappearing inside his anorak, never to be seen again. But a reported seven million euro sacking for the moustachioed maestro, the rapid introduction of Juande Ramos and a half-decent performance against Zenit suggests that BarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂs goal tally may well be staying in single figures. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs the prediction of, SpainÃ¢ÂÂs socialist prime minister, JosÃÂ© Luis Zapatero who lost what few votes he ever had at the Bernabeu by suggesting that Saturday would see a 5-1 win for his favourite Catalan club. And the Mr Bean-alike big boss of Spain may not be far off if Michel Salgado plays at left back on Saturday night, something the over-the-hill full-back is likely to do. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂd rather be booed and jeered than be called a wimp,Ã¢ÂÂ growled Salgado on the challenges ahead. LLL Prediction - Home winSundayGetafe (10th) vs Mallorca (17th)After a month of sexy encounters with the likes of Barcelona and Villarreal, itÃ¢ÂÂs back to life, back to reality for Getafe with a less than mesmerising match thatÃ¢ÂÂs the footballing equivalent of a wet weekend in Albacete. The only slight tingle stirring in the loins ahead of the game is that a bad result for the visitors could see the End of Days for poor old Gregorio Manzano. After three years on the Balearic bench - a lifetime in La Liga - itÃ¢ÂÂs quite likely that the Mallorca boss will be given the boot by his bosses after a week of furtive meetings at the Ono Estadi. LLL Prediction - Home winRecreativo (19th) vs Osasuna (20th)The sore-headed La Liga LocaÃ¢ÂÂs calendar says itÃ¢ÂÂs Friday, so it must be time for more plucky fist-pumping pronouncements from Pamplona. Taking a starring role in this weekÃ¢ÂÂs edition itÃ¢ÂÂs Javad Nekounam who is still feeling perky and positive despite his Osasuna side throwing away a three goal lead last Sunday. Ã¢ÂÂEvery player is fighting and working for the team,Ã¢ÂÂ declared the midfielder. Ã¢ÂÂIf we keep on working, then weÃ¢ÂÂll move forward,Ã¢ÂÂ boasted brave Hector Font before being shown the league table - a table that sees them on just nine points.LLL Prediction - Home winValladolid (8th) vs Deportivo (7th)It seems that some jammy Premier League club could be enjoying the happy-go-lucky Miguel Angel Lotina on their bench some time in the near future.Marca report in their gossip column - technically, the entire paper is a gossip column - that the Lord of Gloom is taking English lessons and perhaps fancies following in the footsteps of Juande Ramos by having a multi-million pound pay off after an unsuccessful spell in the nutty world of English footie. LLL Prediction - Home win MÃÂ¡laga (11th) vs Numancia (15th)It has been a fairly quiet week in the match-fixing front with the Athletic vs Levante case having been passed on to the Spanish Old Bill by the leagueÃ¢ÂÂs competition committee. But this lull in the mudslinging may be momentary with, Real Sociedad president, IÃÂ±aki Badiola - the gentlemen who claims that MÃÂ¡laga have been up to no good - claiming that he has plenty more whistles to blow. Ã¢ÂÂWhatÃ¢ÂÂs come out so far is just 10 percent of what there is,Ã¢ÂÂ revealed Badiola. LLL Prediction - Home winAlmerÃÂa (14th) vs Racing (13th)Having been the true toast of the town just a few short months ago, AlmerÃÂa have joined Mallorca as the latest clubs in crisis. With just one win in nine, Gonzalo Arconada is finding that following in Unai EmeryÃ¢ÂÂs rather fantastic footsteps is not easy. But for the moment, club president, Alfonso Garcia is standing behind his man. Ã¢ÂÂThis team has shown that they know how to play, as they did against Madrid, Valencia and Athletic,Ã¢ÂÂ trumpeted Garcia. Ã¢ÂÂArconada hasnÃ¢ÂÂt made them forget how to play.Ã¢ÂÂ LLL Prediction - Home win Athletic (16th) vs Sporting (12th)With the economic crisis worsening and a long hard winter to face, itÃ¢ÂÂs time to head to Sweden with thelocal.se to discover that the big news of the week in Abba-land is the shocking tale of an exploding mobile phone. Ã¢ÂÂA mobile telephone exploded in the hand of a Swedish student in the middle of class on Monday, spreading thick smoke throughout the classroom.15-year-old Mats Chamontree was fiddling with his mobile phoneÃ¢ÂÂs battery compartment during lessons at the SjÃÂ¶park school in GÃÂ¤llivare in northern Sweden when he heard a cracking hiss emanating from the phone," reports the NorrlÃÂ¤ndska Socialdemokraten newspaper."Seconds later, the battery exploded, although Chamontree managed to throw the telephone away before it blew up.The flaming phone left burn marks on the classroom floor, and the smoke was so thick and pungent that the room was evacuated and couldnÃ¢ÂÂt be used again for the rest of the day.Ã¢ÂÂLLL Prediction - Home win Sevilla (4th) vs Villarreal (2nd)FridayÃ¢ÂÂs edition of AS has a photo a group of bothered and bewildered footballers, confused and unnerved by their surroundings. It was the Sevilla squad. On public transport, no less. Despite the club boasting a profit of 2.5 million euro, the club isnÃ¢ÂÂt forcing itÃ¢ÂÂs Porche-owning prima donnas to slum it with the proles as they go about the day, instead the team were bundled into a metro car to promote the opening of the cityÃ¢ÂÂs new underground system. LLL Prediction - Home winAtlÃÂ©tico (6th) vs Betis (9th)If all goes to plan, the death sentence for the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n will be signed on Friday, with much flourish and finesse in the Spanish capital.After decades of tedious talks, a deal has been made that will see the rojiblancos finally leaving their roofless rubbish stadium and moving to the rather bleak east side of the city to the Peineta athletics track. The process of tarting up the weedy wasteland will begin in the summer of 2009, with Maniche likely to be put to some use, for once, by being handed a trowel.
And if the schedule is kept - which it probably wonÃ¢ÂÂt be - then whoever is in charge of Atleti in two years time will be sitting on a brand new bench in a sparkly new home. LLL Prediction - Home win