Getafe hoping to catch Barça still in their nighties in early kick-off

FourFourTwo.com's man in Spain, Tim Stannard, casts an eye over the upcoming action in la Primera...

Saturday

Mallorca (19th) v Osasuna (17th) - 16.00 (all kick-offs local time)And so it came to pass - Mallorca bid a fond farewell to Joaquín Caparrós after a stint of just over a year which saw the club challenging for a European spot last season, but racing like clueless puppies towards relegation this time around. The 3-0 defeat at Real Sociedad saw patience run out in the Balearics, and a joint press conference was held on Monday with majority shareholder and Vice President, Lorenzo Serra Ferrer, sitting alongside Jokin in a joint goodbye. “I have no doubt we signed a great coach and are saying goodbye to a better person and a better coach,” fluffed Serra Ferrer.Coming back for his third managerial spell at the club is Gregorio Manzano, who was Mallorca coach pre-Caparrós and pre-Laudrup and was unveiled on Tuesday. Unfortunately, there was a less than a joyful response to Manzano’s arrival, with calls for the coach’s sacking made already due to his acrimonious departure in 2010 and subsequent legal battle over supposedly unpaid wages.LLL Prediction - Home win

Celta Vigo (18th) v Valencia (6th) - 18.00A curious week for Valencia. Ever Banega turned up late for training last Friday, a little worse for wear, but then scored against Barcelona two days later. The vital Sofiane Feghouli is back from Africa Cup of Nations duty but returns facing possible criminal charges for driving about town without a license. After that, manager Ernesto Valverde was forced to fine himself for not turning up to Wednesday’s training after a morning flight from Bilbao was cancelled. Meanwhile, David Albelda has announced that there was a “90%-95%” chance of the midfielder leaving Valencia, but that he’s not retiring. “My idea would be to try abroad. I’m not thinking about Spain.” LLL suggests another option and a club not too far away from Mestalla in the city which has a predilection for grizzled old war horses, that can also be a bit dirty on the side. LLL Prediction - Draw

Levante (9th) v Málaga (4th) - 20.00Málaga’s sale of Nacho Monreal to Arsenal is already starting to bite back, with stand-in left back Eliseu suffering a ligament knack and set to miss the clash against Levante. It echoes a complaint from Manuel Pellegrini before last week’s Zaragoza draw that “(Monreal’s) departure is very sad for the  team. I understand you have to balance the economic side, but it’s affecting the sporting aspect a lot.” The Chilean’s bosses also spoke to the media to explain what was a very sudden move in selling the defender for a fee that was too good to turn down. “No club can have players they can’t pay,” explained Mario Husillos, Málaga’s sporting director. “We have to drop the salary base. We have more costs than income.”LLL Prediction - Draw 

Deportivo (20th) v Granada (16th) - 22.00Uh oh, the fans are revolting. Some Deportivo supporters went along to Monday's training session to have a moan at a group of footballers who find themselves bottom of the table. Then it was the federation of supporters groups who issued a communication/rant against said players, who are firmly blamed for the team’s current predicament. “The fans demand the maximum effort. Deeds not promises, but above all that we give everything...” and so on and so on. Despite the sanctimonious nature of the moan, Depor striker Riki seems to agree with the tone, saying that the footballers have indeed been letting themselves and everyone else down of late, especially during last week’s 3-1 defeat at Getafe. “We felt ashamed for the people who had travelled to see us there and who suffered because of what happened. We didn’t compete for 90 minutes and that can finish you off in the Primera division,” admitted a player who has gone five months without being paid, according to Marca. “We don’t know anything,” said Riki on when wages might start to reappear.LLL - Home win

Real Madrid (3rd) v Sevilla (11th) - 22.00Remember promising winger, Diego Perotti? These days, the Argentine is known as 'the permanently crocked Diego Perotti', with the Sevilla player having suffered seven injuries over the past two years, including back and cruciate ligament twangs. Unsurprisingly, the 24-year-old has had quite enough of this and is looking to spend a bit of time on loan in Argentina to help get his head and body back together. “I’m looking for a solution to my problem,” admitted Perotti. “I want to stay in Argentina for personal reasons aside from football. I’m broken in spirit and morale,” admitted the suffering Sevilla star. LLL Prediction - Home win

Sunday

Barcelona (1st) v Getafe (12th) - 12.00Even Real Madrid have had to play at midday once a season - and with great success in terms of results and attendance - so it’s about time Barcelona took one for the television team, too. For the first time in 28 years, the Catalan club will be taking to field on what is still considered the early hours of Sunday morning in Spain. The team trying to catch Barça still in their nighties will be Getafe, who played at the same time in the Santiago Bernabéu a couple of weeks ago. Still, this hasn’t prevented striker Álvaro Vasquez from joking and joshing about having to get up before nine in the morning. “Let’s see if I can get some sleep...but I’m sure we’ll approach it like any other game.LLL Prediction - Home win

Zaragoza (15th) v Real Sociedad (8th) - 17.00Even before la Real’s 3-0 victory over Mallorca last weekend moved the San Sebastian club into eighth, two points off the Champions League places, there were still doubts over whether the current boss Philippe Montanier would be around to lead the side into Europe, should Real Sociedad eventually end up there in the upcoming campaign.The contract of the Frenchman expires at the end of the season, and there’s still no word on whether Montanier will carry on despite fulfilling everything that’s required of the coach at the club and a little bit more besides. All that the Real Sociedad president would admit that there had not been “any contacts with any coach,” in regards to the future. “Montanier has not been in danger for any part of the season, ” revealed a kindly Jokin Aperribay. “In fact, his relationship with la Real gets better every day. We’ll see who the coach is next year.”LLL Prediction - Home win

Athletic Bilbao (13th) v Espanyol (14th) - 19.00Poor Fernando Llorente is looking like being even more of an outcast at Athletic than before, thanks partly to a revealing interview published in last Sunday’s AS - an isolation booth dangling above the stadium is the next move perhaps. “At Athletic, they’ve had enough of the attitude and way of behaving of Llorente who is provoking the indignation of the club’s management with his declarations,” squealed Marca. The forward admitted that the decision to leave the club was fully realised when he was booed during the side’s opening Europa League clash of the season after stories appeared in the local press that the Juventus bound striker was demanding an awful lot of money to stay. “That’s when I knew I had to go.” Llorente, a kindly soul deep down, also blames pressure from within the region for his decision to head to Serie A, noting that “certain local media have been attacking me day after day.”LLL Prediction - Home win

Rayo Vallecano (7th) v Atlético Madrid (2nd) - 21.00The future of Diego Simeone is becoming clearer - sort of. The Atlético manager’s contract runs out this summer, and seeing as the Argentine has been reasonably successful in his 14 month spell at the Vicente Calderón, everyone would quite like El Cholo to sign on for more fun as soon as possible. Wednesday’s edition of AS insists that the deal will be completed this month, with the only disagreements at the moment being in regards to assurances from Atlético’s owners that the current squad won’t be dismantled. “At the moment, he’s the soul of the club,” admitted Atleti’s Sporting Director, José Luis Caminero, to Marca, “we are having conversations with him every day.”LLL Prediction - Away win

Monday

Betis (5th) v Valladolid (10th) - 21.30The problem with Betis this season, is that the side is outperforming its existing resources by about three league places. This leaves everyone in Seville getting a bit panic stricken when Betis have a relatively poor run in la Liga. On this occasion it consists of a draw and two defeats, although the fact that there hasn’t been a goal from open play in those matches doesn’t look fantastic. In an interview with Marca, Pepe Mel, patiently tries to explain to fans that survival is still aim number one for his club, and then maybe European qualification. “For the moment, the Betis objective is to beat Valladolid and nothing more. ” The part-time author also has a little something to say on the problems of running a football team in the chaos of the Spanish League. “It’s very hard to organise a week when you don’t know when or at what time you are going to be playing.” Picky pants, says LLL. LLL Prediction - Home win

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