Valladolid (10th) v Athletic Bilbao (13th) Ã¢ÂÂ 21.30 On Monday, LLL attributed AthleticÃ¢ÂÂs 3-0 win over AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid Ã¢ÂÂ a victory ÃÂscar de Marcos muses might have been the best performance of the season Ã¢ÂÂ to the previous day's training-ground visit of a magician the previous day to show his illusional stuff. Defender Mikel San JosÃÂ©, kicked off the scoring, spoke about the special session given by Ã¢ÂÂOliverÃ¢ÂÂ and opined that Ã¢ÂÂthese things either help or not,Ã¢ÂÂ perhaps recalling the great clown disaster that dogged EspanyolÃ¢ÂÂs 1982 campaign.
Ã¢ÂÂHowever, it made us better and if we have to do it again, we will.Ã¢ÂÂ After a bit of digging, Marca have discovered that the magician was already known to a few members of the Athletic squad, and that Javi MartÃÂnez was quite the fan, having learned a few tricks himself. Like how to escape from Athletic, a move that Fernando Llorente clearly struggled with. LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Away win
Osasuna (18th) v Celta Vigo (16th) Ã¢ÂÂ 16.00 As any right-minded football fan will know, SevillaÃ¢ÂÂs goalkeeping galavanting is always a thrilling affair. So it was quite the treat when Angry AndrÃÂ©s Palop saw off another contender to his No.1 shirt with this week's return of Diego LÃÂ³pez to Real Madrid after just half a season in Andalusia.
You might ask what this has to do with Celta Vigo. Well, early last summer, the 39-year-old hater of young-punk challengers chased away young Sevilla rival Javi Varas, who was lent to Celta Vigo despite being 11 years younger and playing in 25 league games last season. Asked yesterday whether any of these moves would make a difference to his long-term plans, Sevilla-born Varas dutifully claimed that his Ã¢ÂÂfocus is 100% with Celta.Ã¢ÂÂLLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
Getafe (12th) v Deportivo (20th) Ã¢ÂÂ 18.00When Deportivo boss Domingos Paciencia said that SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs opponents Getafe are Ã¢ÂÂdonÃ¢ÂÂt have difficult processes, but easy, good ones,Ã¢ÂÂ LLL hoped for a rare instance of someone in football predicting that the opposition are about to get one hell of a beating.
But apparently not, with DeporÃ¢ÂÂs Portuguese boss reckoning GetafeÃ¢ÂÂs apparent simplicity means the match Ã¢ÂÂis not going to be easy.Ã¢ÂÂ Deportivo only have the single functioning centre-back Ã¢ÂÂ and thatÃ¢ÂÂs ZÃÂ© Castro Ã¢ÂÂ so even GetafeÃ¢ÂÂs less-than-prolific strike force will find the target on Saturday. LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
Espanyol (15th) v Levante (8th) Ã¢ÂÂ 20.00Time for a good-news story. Espanyol midfielder Felipe Mattioni might well feature in a starting XI for the first time in two years and eight months after suffering cruciate ligament injuries to both knees (shudder). The Brazilian is set to be drafted in at full-back by Javier Aguirre, what with no one else about due to suspension and injury, but Mattioni is unsurprisingly unfussed over what happens to him on Saturday evening. Ã¢ÂÂIf I end up on the bench in the end that doesnÃ¢ÂÂt matter because itÃ¢ÂÂs been so long now.Ã¢ÂÂLLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Draw
Granada (17th) v Real Madrid (3rd) Ã¢ÂÂ 22.00In many ways, Juan Antonio AnquelaÃ¢ÂÂs firing on Wednesday morning might have been the best thing for the mental and physical wellbeing of the now ex-Granada boss, as the 55-year-old didnÃ¢ÂÂt seem to be enjoying his first spell of coaching in top-flight football.
Ã¢ÂÂI lost a job, but at least I got a life back,Ã¢ÂÂ said the ex-AlcorcÃÂ³n gaffer, flicking through holiday brochures. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm sorry I wasnÃ¢ÂÂt able to enjoy this team, this level and above all, this city. Football didnÃ¢ÂÂt want me to be happy. It was the chance I was waiting for all my life.Ã¢ÂÂ
His replacement Lucas Alcaraz, returning to the club he coached 18 years ago, has been given brand new attacking players Nolito and Diego Buonanotte, although it remains to be seen how much of the ball they get against the champions. LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Away win
MÃÂ¡laga (4th) v Zaragoza (14th) Ã¢ÂÂ 12.00What MÃÂ¡laga giveth with one hand, the clubÃ¢ÂÂs owners doth forthwith taketh away with the other. At the beginning of the week they improved the contract of the wonderful Isco, which increases his buy-out clause Ã¢ÂÂ due to be triggered in June, no doubt Ã¢ÂÂ from Ã¢ÂÂ¬21m to Ã¢ÂÂ¬35m.
But then a bit of deadline-day selling saw midfielder Diego Buonanotte moving to Granada (no great loss) and the whopping surprise of the sale of Nacho Monreal to Arsenal. MÃÂ¡laga have now sold Ã¢ÂÂ¬41.6m in players since the end of last season, spending nothing in return. Maybe some money will be available now to buy a new pitch. LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home
Sevilla (11th) v Rayo Vallecano (6th) Ã¢ÂÂ 17.00 RaÃÂºl Tamudo, the striker who kept Rayo up last season with a ludicrously late goal in the final seconds of the season, has returned to the club after a short spell in Mexico with Pachuca. The 35-year-old is the club's third January signing, joining centre-backs Jordi (another returning Rayo old boy) and Anaitz Arbilla.
There was a bit of a to-do though over Brazilian striker Gabriel Machado, whom Rayo had brought in from Steaua Bucharest and then loaned out to HÃÂ©rcules Ã¢ÂÂ briefly. Machado only lasted two days in Alicante after the receiving club claimed that the footballer wouldn't be ready to play for at least two months due to injury. Ã¢ÂÂRayo told us that he would be ready in 15 to 20 days,Ã¢ÂÂ complained HÃÂ©rcules coach Quique HernÃÂ¡ndez, staring furiously at the terms and conditions on the footballerÃ¢ÂÂs label. LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
Valencia (7th) v Barcelona (1st) Ã¢ÂÂ 19.00 Valencia president Manuel Llorente isn't especially liked at the moment by the fans Ã¢ÂÂ to be fair, no-one at the club ever is Ã¢ÂÂ but in an interview with local TV, Llorente says that he can handle the haters: Ã¢ÂÂI prefer that they boo me rather than the team.Ã¢ÂÂ However, this tolerance has its limits, says the big Mestalla boss: if someone comes to the club Ã¢ÂÂwith a loaf of bread under one armÃ¢ÂÂ then heÃ¢ÂÂll be out the door never to return.
Speaking of Mestalla-style madness, Leo Messi was reportedly all with the fury after the Real Madrid cup clash, with reports in the Spanish media claiming that the wee BarÃÂ§a man heckled Alvaro Arbeloa in the Santiago BernabÃÂ©u car park before being led off by a member of the Barcelona party. Fight! Fight! Fight!LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Away win
AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid (2nd) v Betis (5th) Ã¢ÂÂ 21.00 Rather like a see-saw featuring Maniche and a couple of sacks of flour, the Copa del Rey tie between AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid and Sevilla is finely balanced after the Rojiblancos beat the Andalusians 2-1 in Thursday's stupidly late 10pm kick-off. It was a made affair at the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n featuring three penalties and three sendings off Ã¢ÂÂ two for Sevilla, one for AtlÃÂ©tico Ã¢ÂÂ with pretty much every one of these incidents involving handballs, either accidental or not. LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
Real Sociedad (9th) v Mallorca (19th) Ã¢ÂÂ 21.00 At this moment, LLL would like to put on its dinner suit and formally welcome Alan Hutton to la Liga after the right-back joined struggling Mallorca on loan. Ã¢ÂÂI hope to give everything thatÃ¢ÂÂs expected of me here until the end of the season,Ã¢ÂÂ said the former Nottingham Forest man.
Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs exciting to be able to come to play in Spain. For me, this is a new project, a new league and a new country. WhatÃ¢ÂÂs more thereÃ¢ÂÂs there a player here that I get along with and speaks really well of this club,Ã¢ÂÂ said Hutton, discussing the legend that is Giovani dos Santos, the footballer that LLL claimed many moons ago was the new Ronaldinho. LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home win