The Extortion-suffering, Irregular Weekend Predictions
AlmerÃÂa (19th) v AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid (8th)A fine win last Saturday over Villarreal restored Atleti's pride, respect and even some dignity, with the Rojiblancos returning to the furious fight for that prestigious seventh-place spot.
So standby for another AtlÃÂ©tico meltdown special this weekend against second-from-bottom AlmerÃÂa, whose manager JosÃÂ© Luis Oltra knows his opponents all too well: Ã¢ÂÂIrregularity is something that defines AtlÃÂ©tico. They are a team capable of the best and the worst.Ã¢ÂÂ
If the game itself isn't exactly easy on the eyes then thereÃ¢ÂÂs still fun to be had in watching Kun AgÃÂ¼ero and JosÃÂ© Antonio Reyes. Ahead of next SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs Real Madrid clash they'll be either trying to avoid or attempting to trigger suspension-inducing yellow cards, depending on whether they fancy taking part in a fourth derby defeat of the season or watching the carnage from the stands.LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Draw
Real Madrid (2nd) v HÃÂ©rcules (18th)Preferring to avoid that whole nasty business of Barcelona taking on Arsenal in the Champions League, TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs front cover of Marca looked like it had been designed by someone who has ingested a large amount of acid. And thatÃ¢ÂÂs quite apt considering the paper these days feels as if it is being run by someone who has ingested a large amount of acid.
TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs edition was full of swirly cartoons portraying the Real Madrid players backed up with a lead story concerning the nicknames of the Cursed Swarms of Mordor according to a dressing room insider. To this end we learned that Arbeloa is called Ã¢ÂÂRobocopÃ¢ÂÂ, Marcelo is Ã¢ÂÂLocoÃ¢ÂÂ (though Pepe sounds a better fit for that name), Adebayor is Ã¢ÂÂAvatarÃ¢ÂÂ, Granero is Ã¢ÂÂBohemioÃ¢ÂÂ and rather cruelly the goggle-eyed marvel Mesut ÃÂzil has been compared to a cartoon fish with his moniker of Ã¢ÂÂNemoÃ¢ÂÂ.LLL Prediction - Home win
Real Zaragoza (17th) v Valencia (3rd)Anyone standing in the vicinity of Unai Emery whilst reading this should go and give the poor Valencia coach a hug, or at least a pat on the back. (Incidentally, donÃ¢ÂÂt ever try that with the personal-space-loving LLL or it will snap your hand off at the wrist.)
Poor Unai was left a weeping, blubbering wreck after ValenciaÃ¢ÂÂs Champions League exit at Schalke. Ã¢ÂÂThis is a tough night, a disappointing one,Ã¢ÂÂ wailed the Mestalla main man after the 3-1 defeat in Gelsenkirchen. Emery now has to collect his wits and take them north to face the craggy, cranky Zaragoza brigade in what could be another unpleasant footballing experience for Valencia.LLL Prediction - Home win
Osasuna (15th) v Racing Santander (14th)LLL did warn a while back that there was a bit of Ã¢ÂÂback storyÃ¢ÂÂ belonging to RacingÃ¢ÂÂs new owner, Ahsan Ali Syed, after his aborted buy-out of Blackburn last summer. Some of that story leaked out this week, with reports of fraud allegations involving millions being leveled against the Indian-born businessman in faraway lands such as Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia.
Ali Syed has told the Spanish media that all allegations are untrue and that they are the result of an evil-doer who is trying to blackmail him. LLL is quite sure that everything is going to go just fine for Racing Santander in the near future.LLL Prediction - Draw
Real Sociedad (9th) v MÃÂ¡laga (20th)When is a press conference not a press conference? When it is a press conference where questions from the press at the conference arenÃ¢ÂÂt allowed, thatÃ¢ÂÂs when. This is precisely what happened in MÃÂ¡laga this week when the clubÃ¢ÂÂs VP, Abdullah Ghubn, delivered what can best be described as a speech to the media where he manfully took the hit for all the teamÃ¢ÂÂs problems. Ã¢ÂÂIf someone is to blame itÃ¢ÂÂs me. ItÃ¢ÂÂs not the coach, or the players or the people at the club,Ã¢ÂÂ declared MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs second-in-command.
And despite MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs inevitable defeat against Real Sociedad on Sunday, Abdullah Ghubn claimed that Manuel Pellegrini will still be in charge next week. Ã¢ÂÂWhatever happens in San Sebastian, we wonÃ¢ÂÂt change the coach. HeÃ¢ÂÂs the right one for the team.Ã¢ÂÂLLL Prediction - Home win
Espanyol (6th) v Deportivo (13th) Double delight for Deportivo this week: a Monday win over Real Sociedad and news that Riki!!!! will be on the injury sidelines for the next month with a muscle tear Ã¢ÂÂ injured in the process of celebrating a goal, no doubt, a rare act performed in this weekÃ¢ÂÂs win.LLL Prediction - Home win
Levante (12th) v Mallorca (10th)There were rumours during the week that LevanteÃ¢ÂÂs Felipe Caicedo, the scorer of a remarkable 11 league goals this season, was about to be shipped off to Lokomotiv Moscow for Ã¢ÂÂ¬8.5m with the Russian transfer window about to close.
However, the Ecuadorian striker is set to stay on the east coast until at least the end of the season on his loan spell from Manchester City which contains a Ã¢ÂÂ¬1.5m buy out clause for Levante with a decision being made in May on whether or not to invoke it says club president, Quico CatalÃÂ¡n.LLL Prediction - Home win
Villarreal (4th) v Sporting (16th)Unfortunately, having the tournament being won by AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid of all teams last year has devalued the UEFA Cup Ã¢ÂÂ and yes, LLL knows that the title changed a while ago but refuses to acknowledge it, Burma / Myanmar style Ã¢ÂÂ so it can only get mildly excited by VillarrealÃ¢ÂÂs 3-2 win at Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday evening.
The first leg of the clash between SpainÃ¢ÂÂs fourth-placed side and GermanyÃ¢ÂÂs second was still a cracking affair with Villarreal owing a huge amount to a couple of cracking efforts from substitute Nilmar. Ã¢ÂÂThereÃ¢ÂÂs a little place next to the Mediterranean where everythingÃ¢ÂÂs working well,Ã¢ÂÂ sighed Friday's AS editorial contentedly.LLL Prediction - Home win
Sevilla (7th) v Barcelona (1st)ItÃ¢ÂÂs been a Luis Fabiano heavy news week, with Sevilla president JosÃÂ© MarÃÂa Del Nido revealing that the club had bought out the rest of the playerÃ¢ÂÂs rights for Ã¢ÂÂ¬7m which were part owned by the investor group, RIO.
This happened at the same time at the Brazilian striker knee-knacked himself for the next three to six weeks. As Luis Fabiano is never one to be in the biggest of hurries to get back to playing, Sevilla fans can expect him to return to action some time at the beginning of May before being flogged off to a Russian club. Or Spurs.LLL Prediction - Away win
Getafe (11th) v Athletic Bilbao (5th)A combination of just the single league victory in 2011 and a hopeless 2-0 defeat at Sporting last weekend saw the patience of MÃÂchel the Manager finally snap. The Getafe coach cancelled the squad's days off this week, before giving in to the long faces and allowing them to live long and prosper to their heartÃ¢ÂÂs content on Friday.LLL Prediction - Home win