The Dentist-visiting, Ref-imitating Weekend Predictions
Sporting (16th) v Zaragoza (18th)The traditional footballers' "final" countdown was kicked off at the beginning of 2011, with AtlÃÂ©ticoÃ¢ÂÂs Tomas Ujfalusi claiming that his club had 19 of them left until the end of the season. Strangely, the Rojiblanco defender has gone very quiet on the final affair now that most of the first bunch have been lost.
Zaragoza left-back Ivan Obradovic has joined in by blasting that his team have 14 finals to go, starting with SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs clash away at Sporting. Sadly for the Serbian defender, the first one is about to be lost.LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid (9th) v Sevilla (7th)Ooh. This could be very tasty affair which is why LLL is heading down to the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n to see yet more carnage. Two weeks ago, AtlÃÂ©tico lost at at home to Valencia amid much boo-age and sigh-age from the home crowd who called for the head of co-owner Miguel Angel Gil.
The son of JesÃÂºs Gil was in the news again this week, after he responded to claims from opposition supporters group SeÃÂ±ales de Humo that the clubÃ¢ÂÂs debt is a worryingly high Ã¢ÂÂ¬782m. Gil responded at a media breakfast Ã¢ÂÂ which sounds fun, but not as fun as it could have been had the bubbly Ã¢ÂÂmorning personÃ¢ÂÂ LLL been invited Ã¢ÂÂ that the debt is between Ã¢ÂÂ¬185m and Ã¢ÂÂ¬250m, depending on when the accounting snapshot is taken.
Gil also mused over the possibilities of the club informing season ticket holders of the future plans for the team in regards to purchases and sales before the annual renewal of their membership schemes. LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home win (vamos Atleti!)
Espanyol (6th) v Real Sociedad (8th)With former Perico and hamster-cheeked goal-getter RaÃÂºl Tamudo returning to face his old team wearing the shirt of Real Sociedad, hereÃ¢ÂÂs a special weekend-preview guest appearance from Paul from Barcelona, who will be in the stands in Prat-land to witness TamudoÃ¢ÂÂs return. Woot, woot!
Ã¢ÂÂThe return of the prodigal son. The top goalscorer in EspanyolÃ¢ÂÂs history and the most prolific Catalan in la Liga history will receive a fantastic welcome on Saturday. Tamudo is much loved amongst pericos. On his day he was unmarkable. On his bad days he was unremarkable.
"Much-hated across the city for scoring [rude word omitted Ã¢ÂÂ LLL]loads of goals against them, which endears him to us even more. Despite being a bit of a plonker off the field (letÃ¢ÂÂs be honest, you wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt want David Villa in your pub-quiz team), on the pitch he could be a genius.
"Expect a heroÃ¢ÂÂs return, banners, chants, the works but expect him to score the winner. DonÃ¢ÂÂt think he will celebrate, though: 129 goals for Espanyol, five goals for Spain in 13 matches is as good as anyone. Remember this was in some poor Espanyol and Spain teams. He holds a unique record. Two Copa del Rey finals and he scored in the first two minutes of both of them.
"Welcome home, Raul. I, for one, will give him a standing ovation.Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ Paul, BarcelonaLLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
Mallorca (11th) v Barcelona (1st)With prickly VÃÂctor ValdÃÂ©s set for a spell of shouting and ranting on the sidelines for up to six weeks with knee-knack, itÃ¢ÂÂs time for stand-in goalkeeper JosÃÂ© Manuel Pinto to have his time in the spotlight for PepÃ¢ÂÂs Dream Boys.
However, the former Celta man has already made a name for himself this season having been booked twice for doing impressions of the refereeÃ¢ÂÂs whistle Ã¢ÂÂ Pinto himself claims he was merely practicing his bird impressions, although LLL might be lying at this point Ã¢ÂÂ and for a spell of sporting braids.
As Pinto is going to be a fixture in the side for a while, itÃ¢ÂÂs time for the BarÃÂ§a press to do some butt-kissing over the Andalusian newcomer. Ã¢ÂÂPep doesnÃ¢ÂÂt doubt him,Ã¢ÂÂ soothed Joan Vehils in Sport. Ã¢ÂÂKnowing that Pep likes players like Iniesta, without piercings, with nice short hair and without tattoos, it seems wrong that Guardiola backs Pinto now. But Guardiola is on top of everything and this is how good people are treated.Ã¢ÂÂLLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Away win
Deportivo (13th) v Real Madrid (2nd)The big debate in the Madrid papers has been over the usual frailties and nervousness shown by their side in the Lyon Champions League clash. Not really. That would be silly. For Marca, itÃ¢ÂÂs all been about the rough treatment given to precious Cristiano in TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs game Ã¢ÂÂ no, LLL didnÃ¢ÂÂt notice anything untoward either Ã¢ÂÂ and in AS the discussion is over whether Florentino PÃÂ©rez was right to jump up and applaud Karim BenzemaÃ¢ÂÂs goal.
LLL is a happy chappy in general and says good luck to the old, stinkingly rich fella, but there are those who feel that the presidential zone in stadiums should be set aside for quiet contemplation only. AS editor Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o is one of that morose band of brothers. Ã¢ÂÂWe feel itÃ¢ÂÂs best that it had been avoided, IÃ¢ÂÂm sure he feels the same,Ã¢ÂÂ mused the killjoy king. LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Away win
HÃÂ©rcules (15th) v Getafe (10th) "Peeeeeep!" "Penalty!" ThatÃ¢ÂÂs been a familiar sound at Getafe matches this season, with the Coliseum club being more than a little untidy in their own box Ã¢ÂÂ as it were Ã¢ÂÂ and giving away too many spot-kicks. It happened again last weekend against Racing Santander, IvÃÂ¡n Marcano bringing down his man late in the game and the Madrid side losing 1-0.
"Nine penalties in 24 matches is a lot,Ã¢ÂÂ admitted MÃÂchel the manager. Ã¢ÂÂThe majority were penalties, though. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs one every three games. WhatÃ¢ÂÂs more, none of them have been saved and weÃ¢ÂÂve dropped points.Ã¢ÂÂLLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Away win (but it could be anything with Getafe)
Levante (17th) v Osasuna (14th)LLL collective! Remember the Cristiano Ronaldo v Walter Pandiani spat from a few weeks back? No? Really? The one where the Madrid player asked how much Pandiani earned during a half-time tiff? The scuffle where the Osasuna man said that Ronaldo should stop being such a chav and be more like Messi? Yes, that one.
Well, things kicked off again this week during an interview with the Uruguayan forward who took the time to reflect on the incident a few weeks later with a cool head... and then suggest that there might have been fisticuffs after RonaldoÃ¢ÂÂs comments in another time and another place.
Ã¢ÂÂIn my country heÃ¢ÂÂd have had to have booked a dentist appointment,Ã¢ÂÂ noted Pandiani with a cheeky grin, LLL likes to think. LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Draw
Racing Santander (12th) v Villarreal (4th)If LLL knew that the Europa League was so darn thrilling, it might not have been too cool for school and thumbed its nose at it for all these years. VillarrealÃ¢ÂÂs second-leg match against Napoli (the first ended goalless) had thrills, spills, comebacks, diving and a 2-1 win for Villarreal to send the Yellow Submarine to the next round at the expense of the Italian interlopers.
Ã¢ÂÂIt was the moment to show that the team believed in itself and was together,Ã¢ÂÂ boasted Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido.LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Away win
Athletic Bilbao (5th) v Valencia (3rd)LLLÃ¢ÂÂs very favourite thing about Spain, JoaquÃÂn CaparrÃÂ³s, has been chatting away about his lovely life as Athletic manager and his immediate future. The Bilbao boss says he would be delighted to stay on for a few more years in San MamÃÂ©s but that it all depends on whether current president Fernando GarcÃÂa Macau wins a new election in the summer.
Aside from shouting from the touchline and generally larking about like a loon during games, CaparrÃÂ³s is also keeping himself busy with a journalism degree and is having a lot of fun whilst doing it, too. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm 55 and I love being with kids and learning every day.Ã¢ÂÂLLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
MÃÂ¡laga (20th) v AlmerÃÂa (19th)HeavenÃ¢ÂÂs handcart! A Monday night match that might be worth watching! Bottom of the table MÃÂ¡laga facing their last, last, last chance to pick up three points and get themselves out of their expensively dug relegation hole against the side nestling in second-from-bottom above them.LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home win