La Preview: MálagaÃ¢ÂÂs magic night & RonaldoÃ¢ÂÂs attack on society
SATURDAYCelta Vigo (18th) v Osasuna (19th) Ã¢ÂÂ 16.00 local timePity poor Celta Vigo, a side that everyone is just tickled pink about on their return to la Primera. Unfortunately, the team are finding their new world a rather difficult dimension to get used to. Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs a lot harder to get started than I imagined,Ã¢ÂÂ sighed club captain Borja OubiÃÂ±a. Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs not easy to play against sides in la Primera, as teams donÃ¢ÂÂt give you the ball,Ã¢ÂÂ lamented the midfielder whose troubles will probably be over once the AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid back four return to usual form and come to town.
Celta may have better luck this weekend as Osasuna are more about pressing than possession, but will be doing so on Saturday afternoon Ã¢ÂÂ yes, afternoon, not midnight Ã¢ÂÂ without Patxi PuÃÂ±al, who has received a four-game ban for being very mean indeed to referee MuÃÂ±iz FernÃÂ¡ndes during last weekendÃ¢ÂÂs Barcelona defeat. LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
Zaragoza (11th) v MÃÂ¡laga (8th) Ã¢ÂÂ 18.00Tick, tock, tick, tock. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs supposed to be a clock, by the way. ItÃ¢ÂÂs the clock of destiny running down before MÃÂ¡laga canÃ¢ÂÂt buy any more players until January for their three competitions this season Ã¢ÂÂ la Liga, Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
And itÃ¢ÂÂs hats in the air to celebrate of the last of these challenges after a 2-0 aggregate win over Panathinaikos in a qualifying double-header. This puts the southern side into a group with Milan, Zenit and Anderlecht, which could have been a whole lot worse for MÃÂ¡laga.
At time of writing the Spanish side have signed a grand total of two footballers and the clubÃ¢ÂÂs agents are going to have to be busy bees if Manuel Pellegrini is to have his appetite sated. Ã¢ÂÂWhen the season finished, we said we needed four players and six left. That makes 10 now,Ã¢ÂÂ abacused the MÃÂ¡laga manager optimistically on Tuesday. LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Away win
Deportivo (5th) v Getafe (10th) Ã¢ÂÂ 20.00Interesting. Very interesting. If Marca have got the right end of the stick, the loan transfer of Valencia youngster Paco AlcÃÂ¡cer to Getafe has a curious twist to it. Often, clubs agree extra money if a footballer plays above a certain amount of games a season. The reverse is apparently true here, with Marca claiming that the Coliseum club will have to pay a fine if the 18-year-old international striker fails to play in less than 20 official games.
Considering that GetafeÃ¢ÂÂs other forwards currently include Adrian Colunga and Dani GÃÂ¼iza, LLL doesnÃ¢ÂÂt think that the club will have to be dipping into their pockets. LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
Mallorca (7th) v Real Sociedad (12th) Ã¢ÂÂ 22.00The image has been good, beamed Mallorca goalkeeper Dudu Aouate, discussing his sideÃ¢ÂÂs start to the season which has seen one win and a draw. Not if youÃ¢ÂÂve had to watch this particular image it hasnÃ¢ÂÂt.LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
SUNDAYRayo Vallecano (3rd) v Sevilla (6th) Ã¢ÂÂ 12.00Rayo fans gave a huge sigh of relief at the end last year, not just because the team had successfully stayed up in the final seconds of the campaign, but because calamitous goalkeeper David CobeÃÂ±o had opted not to renew his contract and was heading to Romania to play for Vaslui. However, the 30-year-old did not take well to life in Eastern Europe and is back at Rayo two months after departing, to leave the Vallecas side with four first-team keepers. So perhaps the news isnÃ¢ÂÂt all bad for supporters after all. LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Away win
Athletic Bilbao (20th) v Valladolid (2nd) Ã¢ÂÂ 16.00One down, one more to go. Or not. All depends on what happens on Friday with Fernando Llorente, which will be far too late for this blog. Instead, all it knows is that the Javi MartÃÂnez transfer saga is finally over. Good news for MartÃÂnez no doubt, but bad news for Athletic Bilbao Ã¢ÂÂ apart from the Ã¢ÂÂ¬40m injection Ã¢ÂÂ and also la Liga, which loses yet another great player to foreign climes.
The midfielder / defender forced through the transfer on his own by heading to Bayern Munich, apparently without permission from his then employers. WhatÃ¢ÂÂs more, MartÃÂnez doesnÃ¢ÂÂt seem too bothered by the pricetag hanging around his neck (not literally). Ã¢ÂÂThe situation reminds me of when I came to Athletic from Osasuna,Ã¢ÂÂ recalled BayernÃ¢ÂÂs most expensive signing. Ã¢ÂÂAthletic paid Ã¢ÂÂ¬6m, I was only 17 and it wasnÃ¢ÂÂt a pressure for me but a motivation.Ã¢ÂÂ
Meanwhile back at the ranch, Athletic ensured that he wonÃ¢ÂÂt be welcome around San MamÃÂ©s parts any time soon with the clubÃ¢ÂÂs website declaring their Ã¢ÂÂdisappointment for the decision taken by MartÃÂnez, that he didnÃ¢ÂÂt consider our sporting project sufficiently attractive.Ã¢ÂÂ Oooh, hark at her!LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
Levante (16th) v Espanyol (17th) Ã¢ÂÂ 18.00Solid as rock. Nope, LLL certainly isnÃ¢ÂÂt talking about Espanyol but Levante, who cruised to a double-headed victory against the mighty Motherwell to put themselves into the group stages of the Europa League along with AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao. Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs a historic qualification,Ã¢ÂÂ claimed Juan Ignacio MartÃÂnez, Ã¢ÂÂitÃ¢ÂÂs something to enjoy Ã¢ÂÂ but we canÃ¢ÂÂt forget the la Liga which is our bread every day.Ã¢ÂÂ
At time of writing, the Europa draw has not been made. And LLL is far too busy and important to update this entry later on. But fear not! The blog is going to rely on the ever dependable FFT editors to insert details here.......and a full background description of Videoton, should they come up. However, considering itÃ¢ÂÂs transfer deadline day, the message to readers could be "look it up for yourself you bunch of lazy so-and-sos". LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
Real Madrid (14th) v Granada (15th) Ã¢ÂÂ 19.50Gah! Too much going on at the Santiago Bernabeu this week. So, hereÃ¢ÂÂs a Clipnotes version. Modric signing Ã¢ÂÂ expensive, but canÃ¢ÂÂt do any harm, gives Xabi Alonso a bit of a rest. Super Copa game Ã¢ÂÂ Madrid won but should be worried about how they very nearly blew it against a bit of a hapless, 10-man Barcelona. Esteban Granero leaves Ã¢ÂÂ a very good idea for a very decent player. Could do better than QPR. Now if Ronaldo moves back to Manchester United on deadline day, then that really will be the end of LLLÃ¢ÂÂs thin stranglehold on sanity. LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
Barcelona (1st) v Valencia (13th) Ã¢ÂÂ 21.30The UEFA Player of the Season award on Thursday night has given sections of the Barcelona press a handily-timed distraction from WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs unfortunate business at the Santiago Bernabeu. Not just because AndrÃÂ©s Iniesta won it Ã¢ÂÂ ahead of Leo Messi, quite remarkably Ã¢ÂÂ but because of Cristiano RonaldoÃ¢ÂÂs consequently disgruntled face, the kind of expression that LLL would probably have in the same situation.
Ã¢ÂÂOn Wednesday, the BarÃÂ§a players gave a lesson in manners and fair play after the defeat,Ã¢ÂÂ writes Joan Vehils in Sport. "A day later and Ronaldo shows that he doesnÃ¢ÂÂt know how to lose. Once again, itÃ¢ÂÂs a bad example for our society.Ã¢ÂÂ Not overreacting there at all. LLL Prediction Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
MONDAYBetis (9th) v AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid (4th) Ã¢ÂÂ postponed So letÃ¢ÂÂs get this straight. The time and date for the European Super Cup clash has been out for a while now. The time and date for international week have also been out for a while now. So why was it not until Thursday evening before the halfwits running SpainÃ¢ÂÂs football product realised that Betis v AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid on a Monday night wouldn't be a top idea?
Ed's note: In the Europa League draw, Atletico Madrid were paired with Hapoel Tel Aviv (ISR), Viktoria Plzen (CZE) and Academica (POR). Athletic Bilbao got Lyon (FRA), Spara Prague (CZE) and Ironi Kiryat Shmoria (ISR, apparently). And Levante, to answer Tim's question, got Twente (NED), Hannover 96 (GER) and Helsingborg (SWE). Full, in-depth profiles of all those opponents coming up soon, eh, Tim?