The Great Weekend Predictions - Round 10

SaturdayReal Madrid (3rd) vs Malaga (8th)As the Spanish top flight moves into round 10, it’s high time for a wee catch-up with the latest ‘club in crisis’ count.

According to the sporting press it’s the sorry-looking sextet of Osasuna, Athletic, Numancia, Sevilla, Valencia and, of course, Real Madrid, who find themselves sailing straight for the rocks of footballing doom. But, as ever, it is the latest crisis up in Castle Greyskull that’s the most entertaining to watch unfolding. Since their undressing by Juventus on Wednesday night, everyone from Mundo Deportivo to Marca have been swift to point the big finger of a blame at a side which could be top of the league at the end of the weekend. The Madridista lapdogs at AS are following orders by j’accuse-ing Schuster as the source of all problems by mocking his apparent comment that “everyone’s to blame,” during Thursday’s training.The sometimes rebellious Marca are being kind to Bernando by arguing in their editorial that “time has proved Schuster right. The squad is small.” Sport side with the German coach, with Joan Battle arguing that poor old Bernando is mere ‘cannon fodder’. But, with Sport being Sport, José Luis Carazo had to make the point that “the comparison to Barcelona is like day vs night. Guardiola’s 11 know how to play true football, but Schuster doesn’t.” On a final note, the Bernabeu crowd proved, once again, that they are one of the most pig-ignorant in Spain by booing Royston Drenthe during the Juventus match - a great way to encourage the hardest-working, if not most effective, player in their line-up. LLL Prediction - Home win Barcelona (1st) vs Valladolid (14th)Most people in their day-to-day working lives are expected to avoid making racist, ethnic or xenophobic slurs to their colleagues as they happily go about their day. Not, it would appear, at Barcelona, where Joan Laporta has announced somewhat pompously that future player contracts would have clauses built in punishing players for fascist or xenophobic behaviour. The Barcelona president made the announcement on Spanish radio saying the additional clause was to “take care of the values of sport.” And not, of course, as a cheap stunt after travelling to Brussels for a conference on racism in the game. La Liga Loca is pondering whether spitting was ever considered in this new move?LLL Prediction - Home win SundayVillarreal (2nd) vs Almería (11th)It’s an especially happy day in El Madrigal for Villarreal on Sunday. That’s because the Yellow Submarine superstars don’t have to travel, having suffered a fraught journey to Denmark during the week when their plane had to return to Valencia due to ‘navigational issues.’ But they weren’t alone in their fear of flying, as Real Madrid’s Javier Saviola and Gabriel Heinze asked to sit in the cockpit during the landing of the club’s turbulence ridden return from Almería last Sunday. But this is nothing compared to the Planes, Trains and Automobile problems suffered by Atlético Madrid over the years - a side who will surely end up stranded one day on a Andean mountainside, eating each other.

At least Maniche would be of use to the squad.LLL Prediction - Home winMallorca (13th) vs Athletic Bilbao (19th)Joaquín Caparrós’ disgraceful inability to beat Sevilla, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Villarreal in a row - oh, the shame of it - has Basque tongues wagging that this will be the second and final season for the boss in Bilbao.

Because, of course, sacking managers at regular intervals has always proven to work so well. But Caparrós’ downfall may come as early as Sunday and at the hands of Aduriz - a player who would have been playing in the red and white of Athletic, rather than for Mallorca, had he not been flogged near to deadline day.However, Aduriz would disagree. “His future doesn’t depend on me,” shrugged the Balearic bruiser. LLL Prediction - DrawOsasuna (20th) vs Atlético Madrid (6th)If that evening of irony wasn’t enough for one weekend, there is more to come up in Pamplona with Javier Aguirre returning to his former club with the aim of heaping more doom and gloom on an under-the-cosh Osasuna. AS are reporting that the bottom-dwellers will be making a loan move for Javier Saviola in January, but until then its all hands to the pump, bracing the main sails and tugging together, says Patxi Izco. “We all have to row in the same direction,” said the Osasuna president. “The only thing we can do is improve as it would be very hard to get any worse,” admitted the less than cheery bigwig. Deportivo (9th) vs Espanyol (10th)Whilst the Spanish may be obsessing over referees and Platini in their conspiratorial conversations, it’s a very different obsession that has taken over one particular man in Sweden, according to thelocal.se. The diminishing size of his after-dinner mint.“A dissatisfied lover of wafer thin mint chocolate treats has reported the makers of After Eights to the Swedish Consumer Agency on the grounds that the product has become smaller and slimmer over the years.The man, from Skurup in southern Sweden, says he has observed over a number of years the gradual reduction in size of the tasty after-dinner mints, Svenska Dagbladet reports.According to the irate customer's trusty ruler, the individually wrapped mint chocolate squares now measure just 43 x 43 millimetres, where once they came in at a very palatable 60 x 60 millimetres.”LLL Prediction - Home win and a switch to Matchmakers.Numancia (17th) vs Betis (16th)A week into November and still no news of Betis’ BSport buyout. And feeling the pressure to attempt writing something on this stunning encounter, here’s the tale of Numancia’s Cisma - a Betis ‘socio’ for 20 of his 26 years of life.“I was taken to see Betis games when I was very young,” recalls the defender, who sounds like he may have a strong case of childhood mistreatment to pursue.LLL Prediction - Home winRacing Santander (15th) vs Sporting (12th)Having waited nearly a century for a piece of European action, you’d have thought Racing fans would be a hoopin’ and a hollerin’ at the thought of German giants Schalke coming to el Sardinero on Thursday night. But you’d have been wrong. Instead, only 15,000 Cantabrian crazies dragged themselves out of their heated homes to watch the 1-1 draw.And they are set to be shamed by Sporting fans, a group who took 5,000 to Deportivo and are looking to bring a similar number to Santander on Sunday. And that’s possibly the reason why Racing is set to shaft them by charging 70 euros a ticket, a reasonable amount compared to the 140 euros that Marca claims Athletic Bilbao fans had to pay. LLL Prediction - Away winSevilla (5th) vs Recreativo (18th)In one of the more surprising speeches of the week, José Maria del Nido confessed that he was delighted by Barack Obama’s victory in the US Presidential election. The Sevilla president has a reputation for more... cough... right-leaning views, but praised Obama as being one of the most important black figures since Martin Luther King.Of course, del Nido had to ruin all his good work by comparing himself to the civil rights activist. “Today, I tell you my friends, that I also have a dream, in spite of these difficult times,” said the Sevilla big cheese ahead of their UEFA Cup defeat on Thursday night.

His dream is to win La Liga.LLL Prediction - Home winGetafe (7th) vs Valencia (4th)After letting everyone have a good look at his carrot - metaphorically speaking, of course - Unai Emery has been forced to bring out his big stick to keep one or two Valencia players in line. The latest minion to feel his almighty wrath is Ivan Helguera, who reportedly went toe-to-toe with the Mestalla manager, complaining that he wasn’t being given enough playing time. Following Timo Hildebrand into Emery’s bad books, Helguera was beaten back although the defender claimed on his website that “it’s not true that he told me I’d never be selected again, this season.” LLL Prediction - Away win

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