The Great Weekend Predictions - Round 24


Real Betis (16th) v Real Madrid (1st)From time to time in this journey we call life, thereare little things you learn that make the constanttoil and trouble so much easier to suffer. This week,La Liga Loca learned something that shouldn't befunny, but, like Arjen Robben running, is.Little Wesley Sneijder's dad is called Barry Sneijder.And the Real Madrid midfielder has two footballingbrothers, Jeffrey Sneijder and Rodney Sneijder.Wonderful. Moving onto footie and Betis striker, Mariano Pavone,clearly has the same awareness of what is going onaround him, as he does in front of goal. "We willmanage to stay up in the Primera and fight to get intoEurope in the next campaigns," boasted the superstriker who is disturbingly pictured by AS astride acannon, like Cher in her "Turn back time" videoclassic. Away win. Espanyol (5th) v Sevilla (7th)Having been out of the footballing news for a goodthirteen minutes, Sevilla president, José Maria delNido, was back making mayhem with his pecuniarypromise that he would be flogging off the club'sfamily jewels if Manolo's men fail to cut theChampions League mustard, this season."If we don't classify for the Champions League, wewill have to sell assets. And that's the players,"said the pumped up presi who claims that CL income nowmakes up 20% of the club's budget.First in line with his arm in the air pleading "me! meme!" will be Dani Alves who, this week, reaffirmed hisdesire to head off to the loot of London asap. "Idon't see myself spending the rest of my life atSevilla," confirmed the short-tempered superstar. Awaywin. Zaragoza (10th) v Barcelona (2nd)Ideally, Barcelona needed photos of a united squadsweating blood and bonding in a highly homoerotic'300' style fashion, to counter the critics of theirincreasingly flagging attempt to overhaul Real Madridat the top of the table.Instead, they were photos on the front cover of anormally supportive Mundo Deportivo of a rather moroselooking Frank Rijkaard handing Leo Messi a spicysausage at a team building BBQ - an event Ronaldinhowas late for, say Marca, and an event that Eto'o neverturned up for, having arrived four days late from theAfrican Cup of Nations."The players ask for something and Rijkaard gives it,"complained Mundo Deportivo director, Santi Nolla. Awaywin. SundayLevante (20th) v Osasuna (14th)Good news at lowly Levante for once, this week, withthe majority shareholder, Pedro Villarroel, lookinglike he is going to dump his shares on a hastilyformed committee and take his footballing toyselsewhere.The villain of Valencia, who has brought the club'splayers on the brink of strike action having failed topay them for much of this season and last, says thathe is the one being wronged by The Man."Professional football has treated me with totalinjustice," moaned Villarroel as he stuffed hissuitcase with bundles of cash and the office staplerbefore vowing never to set foot in Levante's stadiumever again. Home win.Villarreal (3rd) v Racing Santander (6th)The phrase "chickens, hatched, counting, etc" isclearly not widely known in Cantabria. Probablybecause they speak Spanish there. If the locals werefamiliar with the expression, then they wouldn't haveheld a big old celebration of how great RacingSantander are with a whopping great chunk of theseason still to come.Yes, Racing are in the UEFA cup places and yes, Racingare in the Copa del Rey semi-finals, but their currentform has been patchy due to injuries to pretty muchall their strikers.Still, AS were in attendance at the festival ofpremature back slapping and seemed to enjoy thehospitality there. "You could put Marcelino ascandidate for the PSOE, PP or the Communist Party ofCantabria and he'd still win the election with a KO,"wrote a possibly tipsy, Tomás Guasch, in Friday'sedition. Home win - although you never know whatVillarreal will do.Almería (8th) v Murcia (19th)At the beginning of the season, La Liga Loca predictedthat it would be Almería who would be the strugglingside with Murcia sitting pretty near the top. But asthe blog has as much talent for forecasting as Gutifor not being irritating, it's the other way round forthese two teams. Murcia warmed up for this encounter between the twopromoted sides by having a big old punch up in afriendly with Legia Warsaw - before coming out 2-0winners. And Almería president, Alfonso García, had some kindwords for Sunday's opponents to cheer them up - "Ithink they'll stay up as they have a very good squad".Home win.Valladolid (13th) v Mallorca (11th)It's time for the ever popular 'News from Sweden'section. The blog last left you with the story of thegiant moose under construction with a conferencecentre and restaurant being built into its tummy. Thisweek, its the shocking story of a rash of crimessweeping the country's long distance coach companies.Hurdy-gurdying police investigating thefts from bagslocked away in the luggage compartments of buses havediscovered that gangs of thieves have been using'little people' by zipping them up in large duffelbags. The mischievous midgets then let themselves outduring the journey and raid rucksacks of shiny goods.Helvete! Home win. Recreativo (17th) v Deportivo (18th)Miguel Angel Lotina has a difficult decision to make,this weekend. It's not whether the tackle his prematch press conference with his 'All is lost!' or'Doomed! Doomed!' demeanour, but whether to take DuduAouate or Gustavo Munúa on the trip to Huelva.The Israeli shot stopper has been out of action withan injury ever since he had his face rearranged by theclub's other pugnacious portero, but is ready foraction, this weekend. Home win.Getafe (12th) v Valencia (9th)A normal week in the Valencia camp saw SantiagoCañizares breaking radio silence to discuss his bestbuddy relationship with Ronald Koeman. "He doesn'texist to me and it's the same for him," shrugged theunwanted goalkeeper.Ever Banega launched a feisty attack on the media andits constant interest in the off the field antics offootballers. "We are young and we want to enjoyourselves with our friends, on our days off. Everyonewants their privacy". Fine sentiments from a man whohappily shook hands with the unemployed, for all theinternet watching world to see in gruesome graphicdetail. Home win. Atlético Madrid (4th) v Athletic Bilbao (15th)Kun Agüero added to his long list of reasons forreceiving a red card, on Thursday night. Joiningdiving and hand balls for his dismal dismissals isspitting. During the UEFA cup defeat to Bolton theDanish linesman felt that the gobbing goliath had spatin his direction - an action leading to his immediatematching orders.La Liga Loca had long since given up on the game socannot comment one way all the other on what happened.However, the Atlético camp feel that they were alittle hard done by with the referee's rulingsthroughout the clash."The referees are different in Europe. They don't blowfor so many fouls and we have to get used to it,"mused Pablo. "In Madrid, without this English atmosphere and thisEnglish style of refereeing, we hope to have options,"said Javier Aguirre on a possible rojiblanco revival,next Thursday. Home win.