The Heart-Pounding Weekend Predictions - Round 14


Zaragoza (17th) vs Athletic (8th)

Spanish sports station, Canal Plus, have decided that it would be a whizzy idea to wire up a flock of Primera coaches to monitors to see just how dangerously close their hearts come to exploding right through their rib cages during an average encounter in la Liga.

First up in this intriguing test was Sporting’s Manuel Preciado.

And the manager with the gravelly, tar-filled voice of a 50-a-day man did reasonably well with his most excitable upper limit being 117 beats a minute - the level of Ever Banega switching his laptop on.

Canal Plus then selected the mad-as-a-March-hare Joaquín Caparrós, and the Athletic boss very nearly blew a fuse in their fancy equipment with his heart rate spiking at 170, the moment when a late penalty was awarded to - and missed by - his side in last weekend’s defeat to Valencia.

“It’s screwed, I’m going to break it,” warned Caparrós before the monitor was taped over his over-stimulated heart - a heart that should have been working away at 80-110 BPM for a man of his weight and age.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Barcelona (1st) vs Espanyol (14th)

The absence of little Leo Messi from this weekend’s Espanyol clash at the Camp Nou sees the local press cranking their winge machines up to 11.

With Dynamo Kiev failing to grasp the Catalan concept of allowing the Barça player to remain unmolested to do whatever he pleases in Wednesday’s Champions League encounter, some rough treatment saw Messi limping from the frenetic fray.

Friday’s Sport moans that the only method sides have of stopping their superstar is by fouling him and noted that only nine of the supposed 15 fouls on the forward were punished.

“Stop the hunt of Messi,” is the declaration from the paper’s front page.

“If UEFA want the Champions League to be a spectacle, it has to protect the players who light it up with their talent,” grumbles Josep María Casanovas.

With the level of debate in the Spanish press being similar to that of a group of four year olds squabbling over a dumper truck in a sand pit, Marca’s editorial from Friday pipes up that “Cristiano deserves the same protection, too, that’s being demanded by Messi!”

LLL Prediction - Home win

Valencia (3rd) vs Real Madrid (2nd)

As to be expected from a polemical player who once took his own club to court because they were refusing to pick him, David Albeda has caused a bit of controversy in Spain this week.

The Valencia midfielder was keeping up a well-earned reputation for spikiness on Wednesday with his splendidly apt observation on Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence in Mestalla noting that: “we don’t have Silva and we’re not whining about it every day.”

With the average Real Madrid fan being as staggeringly pompous and humourless as those of the Barça-barmy persuasion, the faux-outrage from Castle Greyskull has been tremendous, with one Madridista tutting “how dare he!” to the blog on reading the midfielder’s dig.

It’s a sentiment echoed by professional buffoon Roberto Gómez in Marca - who has been in fine form this week - and accuses Albeda of “a lack of respect to Madridismo.”

And here endeth this week’s lesson from on high to the rest of la Liga in relation to Real Madrid and Barcelona: don’t tackle their players or be mean and nasty about them.

LLL Prediction - Home win


Valladolid (15th) vs Málaga (19th)

With Mrs Tiger Woods being a sister of Sweden, the news from Scandinavian parts this week is all about the seven-timing, shaft-grasping golfer whacking his wood up a number of alternative fairways.

But there’s still news of yet more evidence that elks are continuing their take-over of the country, or so says

“A drunken elk reportedly attacked a pedestrian in the Hölö district of Södertälje south of Stockholm on Tuesday, prompting a response from police.

"Police received a call about an aggressive elk shortly after 3pm, the local Länstidningen Södertälje (LT) newspaper reports.

"The elk was reportedly hiding behind a bakery when it suddenly attacked a passer-by, according to police, who asked from assistance from a game warden in dealing with the hostile animal.

“The game warden recognised the elk. It usually walks around and eats apples, gets drunk, and then gets aggressive,” police spokesperson Björn Engström told the newspaper.”

LLL Prediction - Home win

Getafe (9th) vs Tenerife (12th)

Roberto Soldado is very much a “she loves me, she loves me not ” kind of striker in the sense that he alternates between being utterly brilliant and flippin’ awful during the average game.

Often in a matter of seconds.

And this was the reason why Real Madrid offloaded the forward at the Coliseum club, with no desire to bring him back - unlike the situation with De la Red, Granero and Parejo.

But the player who has grabbed some 40 percent of Getafe’s goals in la Liga this season is out of action on Sunday due to suspension.

This leaves the goal-scoring duties to Manu del Moral, a footballer who alternates between being flippin’ awful and being flippin’ awful.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Racing Santander (18th) vs Xerez (20th)

It seems that Bernardo Schuster’s dream of being the part owner of a club that will be surely be relegated and bankrupt come May will remain unfulfilled.

Current Xerez owner Joaquín Morales has indicated that he will be flogging his majority shareholding to an Argentinean consortium who “will bring young, promising talent to Spain,” according to the Xerez bigwig.

Schuster is not best pleased at all with the outcome and complains in Thursday’s press that “I’m still not the owner. There’s a lot of dodgy geezers out there and it’s hard when you get people who don’t have football as their concern.

“Our project is a sporting one and nothing more,” added the former Real Madrid man with just a hint of a warning over who the new owners might be.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Almería (16th) vs Deportivo (5th)

If Canal Plus were to connect Miguel Angel Lotina to their heart monitor, they’d probably give up after a couple of minutes thinking that their batteries had gone flat.

It’s not that the Deportivo boss doesn’t have a heart -  unlike Betis owner, Darth De Lopera - it’s that it beats very, very, very slowly indeed.

The Galiciain Lord of Doom rarely gets excited about anything, aside from refereeing decisions that often see him sent to his naughty corner in the stands.

Lotina even managed to see last week’s clash with Barcelona as a lose-lose situation for Deportivo, no matter what the result was in Riazor.

“Had we beaten Barcelona then it would have been difficult to control the euphoria, but the defeat means that we have to be careful not to drop our levels against Almería.”

“Cheer up Lotina! You’re doing fine! You’re in 5th place and with the strikers you’ve got... that’s enough,” was a comment from a Depor fan on Marca's site in what will almost certainly be a failed attempt to turn Lotina’s frown upside down.

LLL Prediction - Away win

Osasuna (10th) vs Mallorca (6th)

This is a clash between a Balearic side whose locals couldn’t give a flying fig about their astonishing season so far, and a club whose fans give everything they’ve got in backing their players.

The problem is that the Osasuna support takes “giving everything they’ve got” rather literally, considering that mobiles, cameras, metal olive-oil pots, coins and gobs of saliva are just a few examples of the kind of objects that are frequently lobbed onto the pitch in Pamplona in the direction of players, linesmen, photographers and anything that moves really.

In other supporter news, AS report that Real Madrid will be taking a whopping 315 fans to Mestalla for the weekend’s crunch game.

Maybe Mallorca’s support is not so bad after all?

LLL Prediction - Home win

Atlético Madrid (13th) vs Villarreal (11th)

The rojiblancos have made all the headlines in Spain this week by taking the strongest action imaginable in reaction to the Calderón club proudly becoming the worst Europa League qualifying side in Champions League history.

In a true deckchairs-on-the-Titanic moment, the club spent Thursday launching the official Atlético Madrid wine with club president Enrique Cerezo boasting that “wines with our brand are a mark of quality.”

And it is at this point that La Liga Loca invites the blog readership to send in their own predictable gags on the topic, but kicks things off by suggesting a sip of the Chateau Maniche 2007 - full bodied but little quality.

LLL Prediction - Away win

Sporting (7th) vs Sevilla (4th)

La Liga Loca suspected that the visit of Rangers to the Sanchez Pizjuán in the Champions League would help the home side get out of their footballing funk and it was right, although the 1-0 margin of victory was a little narrower than predicted.

But perhaps the most important aspect of the evening’s affair was the lack of trouble from the visiting Rangers fans, with a Belfast-born journalist telling the blog that the close connections between Sevilla and Celtic may have lit a fuse or two in the Andalusian city.

LLL Prediction - Away win More to read...

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