La Preview: Barça baiting, Manzano's must-win match and Ruud behaviour

Two weeks ago

Barcelona 4-0 Rayo VallecanoAlready played thanks to Club World Cup-enforced rescheduling, but LLL would have said 4-0 anyway

Saturday

Mallorca (11th) v Getafe (13th) - 18.00 (local time)Although LLL was at the Coliseum last Sunday to see Getafe’s truly awful 1-0 win over Granada - a memory it is trying to obliterate through the means of meths - it didn’t hear the boos for forward Miku from a section of the home support. That’s largely because a section of the home support in Getafe’s case is about eight boisterous 14-year-olds trying to be heard from the other side of the stadium. There was apparently a repeat of the boo-age on Tuesday during Getafe’s 1-0 Copa del Rey home defeat to Málaga, something that manager Luis García did not like one bit. “We are killing an important player and this doesn’t help. He’s upset and hurt,” claimed the Getafe boss on his suffering striker. LLL Prediction - Home win

Sporting (18th) v Espanyol (8th) - 18.00Well someone at AS certainly had too much time on their hands this week. After Espanyol’s thrilling goalless draw at Celta Vigo, an excited hack found out that the two times that Espanyol won the Copa del Rey in 2000 and 2006, the campaign began with a 0-0 draw in the first round away leg that....zzzzzzzzzzzzzz...LLL Prediction - Home win

Athletic Bilbao (9th) v Zaragoza (20th) - 20.00The club described last weekend as “dead and without a soul” stuck its president and owner, Agapito Iglesias, before the press this week, potentially behind a big iron fence to hold back extremely irate fans who feel with some justification the Zaragoza overlord is a truly incompetent figure. Iglesias told the world that he wasn’t going to indulge in one of his favourite hobbies - firing coaches - by sacking Javier Aguirre despite his team being bottom-of-the-table. “ We’ve never doubted him,” claimed the Zaragoza big cheese. To make up for this lack of sacking action, Iglesias promised that he will do the next best thing in terms of sensations that make him feel tingly and that’s bring yet more footballers in. Potentially through a new agency he is setting up to do precisely that activity. LLL Prediction - Home win

Sevilla (5th) v Real Madrid (2nd) - 22.00There was a rumble in the Spanish capital that the Madridista Marca would get up to some mischief in regards to Barcelona just at the same time that the Catalan club was in Japan attempting to win yet another trophy. Through pure coincidence of course. And low and behold, Wednesday’s front cover claimed David Villa was set to be sold either in winter - unlikely now after what happened in regards to his leg - or over the summer, due to both the player’s poor performance and the desire of the fed-up forward to leave the Dream Boys. Pep Guardiola responded to such naughtiness by saying that “Marca are lying” an accusation that the never ever, ever make stuff up paper angrily objected to in an editorial on Thursday. “We have a duty to millions of readers that we consider sacred,” stropped the paper. “No story that we don’t believe in is published. Our intention is always the same, to inform,” continued the editorial causing an enormous coffee sputter and coughing fit from the amused and bemused LLL.  LLL Prediction - Away win

Sunday

Atlético Madrid (10th) v Real Betis (14th) - 12.00While Atlético were preparing to embark on the first of three home games Gregorio Manzano needs to win in the space of a week, Betis boss Pepe Mel was having a bit of a barney at his players after a 1-0 defeat to Cordoba in the accursed Copa del Rey. Having been fairly supportive and diplomatic throughout the season, despite the failing form of his footballers, Mel went all Vin Diesel on his squad ranting that “there are players who aren’t taking the chance to make a difference and make things difficult for the squad selection for the next game.”Mel’s fury reportedly saw whopping dressing room and coach home rants - something that the soon to be outcast striker, Jorge Molina, certainly didn’t seem to appreciate. “If this is what he thinks then he needs to say to the player’s face,” stropped the forward. LLL Prediction - Home win

Granada (15th) v Levante (4th) - 16.00Another side who had a bad time of it in the Copa del Rey were Granada who travelled up to San Sebastian to be beaten 4-1 by Real Sociedad. The club’s president, Quique Pina, was apparently so upset by the loss that he was threatening to force the squad to travel back to the south of Spain from the north coast by coach. AS report Pina then cooled his heels a little and allowed the Granada players to go back by plane the following morning as planned. LLL Prediction - Away win

Osasuna (7th) v Villarreal (17th) - 18.00Another match and yet more misery for Villarreal who could only manage a 1-1 draw at third-tier Mirandés. However, it is a treble yay for Sunday’s opponents who beat Almería 3-1.LLL Prediction - Home win

Racing Santander (19th) v Real Sociedad (12th) - 19.45Last Sunday, Racing’s Alvaro celebrated his first Primera goal by giving his shirt away to a supporter in the crowd in the side’s 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao in San Mamés. But then poor Alvaro regretted his decision realising it might have been nice as a bit of a memento, especially as he may not be scoring too many more times in this particular Racing team. So the young defender used something called Twitter to try and get the shirt back. “I wasn’t thinking because of the excitement! Ha! Ha!” explained the Racing stopper. The story had a happy ending though with Alvaro being contacted by the not so lucky supporter who handed the sweaty shirt back to its first owner. LLL Prediction - Draw

Valencia (3rd) v Málaga (6th) - 21.45A goalless draw at Cadiz meant more melancholy for Valencia after the defeats to Chelsea and then Levante. But there was some cheery news at least with the announcement that work to restart on the New Mestalla after a couple of years ‘pause’ whilst the club nearly went bankrupt. The gossip from Málaga according to Marca (yes, them again...) is that there was a bit of a tiff between Manuel Pellegrini and Ruud Van Nistelrooy, who has had a busy season not scoring goals for the southern side as well as sitting on the bench for the whole of the Real Madrid game - something that kicked off a riff between the pair. This fall-out eventually lead to Van Nistelrooy being left out of last weekend’s squad that took on Real Sociedad, although the Dutchman did return for Tuesday’s cup win against Getafe. LLL Prediction - Home win

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