La Preview: The ‘new Deportivo’ & Levante’s special snacks


Mallorca (10th) v Valencia (5th) – 18.00 (local time)LLL’s lonely life without Joaquín Caparrós didn’t last too long, thank the merciful gods. After leaving Athletic Bilbao over the summer with his presidential employer having lost an election, ‘Jokin’ moved to Switzerland and the madcap world of Neuchâtel Xamax.

That Alpine adventure was a brief one, what with the owner being barking mad, so Caparrós returned to Spain just in time to sneak his feet into Michael Laudrup’s expensive loafers after the Danish boss left Mallorca in quite a huff at the end of September.

Rather than players talking about how the ball has become the focus during training sessions, it seems that the new Mallorca manager has been getting his new squad to run around a lot and threatening to drop them at any time. What’s more, Caparrós has also learned a handy new trick in his short spell away from la Liga: the ability to bend time. “We guarantee we will give everything 25 hours a day, not 24,” promised the barmy Balearic boss. LLL prediction: Away win

Getafe (17th) v Villarreal (12th) – 18.00Ahead of the final match before the international break, José Mourinho threw his Real Madrid players a very public BBQ – a tasty feat that no doubt got Karim Benzema moving quicker than in years as he hunted hot sausage.

Noting the success of this meat-munching morale booster, Getafe boss Luis García tried the same approach with his failing footballers who sit just above the relegation zone on goal difference.

It may be hard to judge if this friendly flame-up actually worked: Getafe are playing poor old Villarreal, a side also suffering a tough start to the season – perhaps due to the summer departures of Joan Capdevila and Santi Cazorla, admits Marcos Senna. “The dressing room missed them. They brought a lot of joy every morning,” claimed the midfielder, who has now played 300 matches for Villarreal.LLL prediction: Draw

Real Madrid (3rd) v Betis (7th) – 18.00Betis boss Pepe Mel isn’t just a fine manager with a love of a natty green tie who got his team out of a second division hole last season and has lead the Andalusian side to a strong start to the new campaign. Pepe Mel is also a proper, grown-up author, having penned a thriller called The Liar which is set to be released this week.

The manager has revealed that the book has little to do with football despite his day-to-day profession and definitely isn’t referring to most of the shady characters who have been in charge of Betis over the past 20 years or so. LLL prediction: Home win

Barcelona (1st) v Racing Santander (18th) – 20.00 Safe on the other side of the Med with Roma, Bojan Krkic has shown the kind of cojones and bravado that would have been handy during his time at Barcelona, which started so well and then fizzled away some what. The Serie A striker has joined the former Camp Nou forward pair of Samuel Eto’o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in claiming that Pep Guardiola is not the all powerful, motivating, managerial genius that balding Barça boss clearly is.

“If Guardiola called now, then I wouldn’t answer,” sniffed Bojan on a very hypothetical situation indeed. “I decided to leave on the day of the Wembley final,” revealed the youngster on a matter that was probably out of his hands a long time before. “I knew I couldn’t start the game but when we were winning 3-1 after 75 minutes, I thought I’d play. We went a long time without talking,” whispered yet another striker who lost his ‘feeling’ with Guardiola. LLL prediction: Home win

Granada (19th) v Atlético Madrid (8th) – 22.00 The poll published by AS this week on the likes and dislikes of supporters in regards to rival clubs saw Atlético Madrid come out reasonably well, with the Rojiblancos ending up in third place behind Barcelona and Real Madrid on the sexier side of the scale.

LLL, Mon 10 Oct: Poll reveals deep divide in Spanish fans' loyalties

“I believe that Atlético Madrid is a much-loved team that has never created enemies,” crowed club president Enrique Cerezo. “I feel that Atlético fans have always been respectful to everyone else, although there’s always a minority that isn’t,” said the Rojiblanco president, referring to the low-life scumbags who sang “oh, oh, oh, Puerta’s getting dizzy” during the recent clash with Sevilla in the Vicente Calderón. LLL prediction: Away win


Rayo Vallecano (13th) v Espanyol (15th) – 12.00 Despite the club having a stadium that is falling apart somewhat, has just three sides, awful sight-lines for fans, no mixed zone and a terrible pitch that the manager has said will cost the team points this season, Rayo president has stuck his neck out to complain that Madrid’s third side should host a Spain match in the near future.

“We want to be respected like other teams. Others are given financial help and we aren’t. Spain plays at other grounds but not in Vallecas,” stropped Raúl Martín, lobbing toys in the direction of the Spanish FA headquarters. LLL prediction: Home win

Zaragoza (14th) v Real Sociedad (9th) – 16.00 Just when la Real’s French winger Antoine Griezmann had eked his way back into the supporters’ good books after pushing heavily for a move to Atlético Madrid over the summer, it seems that the midfielder is going to have to start all over again having told France Football that he sees his future away from San Sebastian.

“What Griezmann has to do is get back to his best form, do his talking on the pitch and score goals. And of course fulfill the contract he has with us until 2015,” said displeased Real Sociedad president Jokin Aperribay in response. LLL prediction: Draw

Levante (2nd) v Málaga (4th) – 18.00 Four wins in a row, no defeats, beating Real Madrid and with just three goals conceded makes Levante the team of the season so far in Spain – heck, team of the season in the whole wide world. To explain how one of the poorest sides in la Liga and a squad stuffed with old fogies ends up on the same number of points as one of the richest in Barcelona, Levante’s head of medical services Rafael Plaza popped up to explain all.

“An old squad brings a greater risk of injuries but also experience,” said the doc, who revealed that the footballers often chow down on pizza and paella on the team bus home after games. Special mention was made of Levante’s 36-year-old defender Sergio Ballesteros, a veteran footballer who has a campaign to have him called up to la Selección. “It’s rare for him in training to do the kind of runs he did against Ronaldo. He knows exactly when he should use this resource and when he should rest it,” said Plaza. LLL prediction: Away win

Sevilla (6th) v Sporting (20th) – 22.00 Having sat through a goalless draw against Atlético Madrid in the last round at the Vicente Calderón and the two 1-0 wins for Sevilla, LLL suspects that Marcelino’s men way well be the new Deportivo. But with a defence. Sevilla will need to stick a few past bottom-of-the-table Sporting on Sunday if they are to avoid this branding by the blog.LLL prediction: Home win


Athletic Bilbao (16th) v Osasuna (11th) – 21.00 José Luis Mendilbar is taking his Pamplona players to a club where he was both a player and coach. The Osasuna manager has also noticed the tactical changes under newbie boss Marcelo Bielsa, who's in the opposite dugout on Monday night. “It’s true that they push forward more. It’s daring. They almost want to play in the opponent’s half.”

And as for whether Mendilibar will have any special feelings on returning to Athletic Bilbao, the Osasuna manager claims that “it’s not just any club,” but that “when I go to San Mamés, I forget it’s Athletic and during the week I study the rival and dedicate myself to preparing to win the game.” LLL prediction: Home win