La Preview: More to leave Mestalla, Özil’s outings and a villain in Vallecas


Valencia (15th) v Real Zaragoza (12th) - 16.00 CESTWith all the hurly burly of last weekend’s football and various power outages, LLL didn’t find the time to bring everyone up to date with the off-pitch news from Valencia, which is just as dismal as what’s happening on it. The club were hoping to restart construction on the New Mestalla stadium, which has been suspended since February 2009. Unfortunately, Spanish bank ‘Bankia’ - one of the basket case ones - has pulled out of a partnership with a local promotions company that would have seen funds given to Valencia for the sale of the old stadium and training ground and some cash to complete the team’s new home. For the moment, the deal looks sunk, with a gloomy club president Manuel Llorente admitting last week that “it’s still going to take a lot to get out of this reality,” and that “the sale of footballers is necessary and one more way of financing.” However, the Mestalla big-wig was a little chirpier a few days later after penning a renewal deal with a sponsor. “Soon these clouds will blow away and we’ll arrive at a good port,” predicted a metaphor-mixing Llorente. LLL Prediction - Home win

Málaga (4th) v Betis (6th) - 18.00 CESTWhat a hero! What a player! What a footballer who refuses to fall into cliché about respecting former clubs and behaving as if he’s had an unexpected tax demand when scoring a goal against them! That blog's new idol is the ever so dreamy Roque Santa Cruz, who spent last season at Betis not doing a great deal but has been brought to Málaga this season via Manchester City, his owning club, hopefully to do a little bit more.And by great galloping gazooks, two of those teams are meeting this weekend and if the Paraguayan poster boy scores he'll take full advantage of it. “I’ve always said what affection I have for the Betis fans but being here in La Rosaleda, people should understand that if I score then Io’m going to celebrate the goals with joy. I like celebrating.”LLL Prediction - Home win

Real Sociedad (14th) v Athletic Bilbao (16th) - 20.00 CESTWhat a hero! What a player! What a footballer who refuses to fall into cliché about ‘finals’ or pretending to care about local derbies. That blog's (other) new idol is the ever-interesting, always honest and often quite contrary Real Sociedad winger Antoine Griezmann, who has been talking about Sunday’s Basque battle against Athletic. “It’s important, but I’m not going to spend nights not sleeping whilst thinking about it. Of course, it’s a special match but just as much as all the others as there’s only three points at play.”LLL Prediction - Home win.

Sevilla (5th) v Barcelona (1st) - 22.00 CESTSevilla fans and the wonderful world of Spanish football got to say a proper farewell to Frederic Kanouté this week, with his Champions For Africa charity match on Monday that raised over half-a-million euros for the former footballer’s foundation. However, one of the greatest players in Sevilla’s history says that there is so much more to be done in his future career. “I’m never satisfied with what I’ve done. This is only the beginning. I’ve never said ‘that’s enough’, because when I travel to Africa I see there is so much left to do.” Farewell Fredi and good luck. LLL Prediction - Draw


Granada (18th) v Celta Vigo (11th) - 12.00On-loan Arsenal striker, Chu-Young Park is still the talk of the toast of the town in Vigo, after scoring just three minutes after coming onto the pitch for Celta in last week’s win against Getafe. However the big issue surrounding the club’s overnight sensation is whether the forward likes ham, a traditional obsession of the Spanish. “I’ve tried it and it’s fantastic!” revealed Celta’s potential saviour to sighs of relief all over the land. LLL Prediction - Draw

Real Valladolid (13th) v Rayo Vallecano (8th) - 16.00Those Miss Marple types are probably dying to know what happened with the Rayo Vallecano floodlights and how so many cables were cut without anybody being crispified in the process. At the time of writing, LLL has to report the answer as being ‘dunno’. The police have been in, the club are following procedure by opening an internal investigation, but these are three rumours doing the rounds. 1) It was an act of vandalism by a former employee who had both knowledge of the stadium’s innards and evidently a bit of  a grudge. 2) The team’s Ultras acted in a protest about the Day of the Club, when season ticket holders had to pay extra to see the game, perhaps with the help of someone from rumour number one. 3) The floodlights failed due to a huge rainstorm before the match thanks to their rather ancient nature, with someone at the club panicking and come up with a sabotage story to explain it all away. LLL Prediction - Draw

Osasuna (20th) v Levante (9th) - 18.00“We are at the bottom as we deserve to be there,” confessed Osasuna keeper Andrés Fernández, whose team have conceded 10 goals this season in five matches, four of which have been defeats. To find out what is going on with one of the blog’s favourite clubs, LLL decided to do an exhaustive study of formations and what-not to discover where Osasuna are going wrong and how they can improve. Actually, that’s a lie. Instead LLL only bothered watching the ten goals let in and here’s what happened - a penalty, bad goalkeeping, Leo Messi, Leo Messi, bad marking, dithering defending with striker running through on goal, not defending a corner, more dithering defending, an own goal and a penalty. LLL Prediction - Home win

Real Madrid (7th) v Deportivo (10th) - 19.50Today’s update is all about much ado in the Spanish capital as to who will be playing about in the hole. And no it isn’t another Sergio Ramos scandal, you filthy-minded beasties. It’s to do with that spot Real Madrid currently have open behind the striker. At the end of last season, Mesut Özil occupied it, but he seems to have fallen out of favour with fans due to a lack of consistency, disappearing from games, being better for Germany and being out on the lash. The latter has strongly been denied by the forward who protested this week that “I’ve barely been out since the beginning of the season.” Luka Modric is also there or thereabouts despite saying that he prefers not to play in that position and on Wednesday, Kaká reminded everyone that he was still at the club with a hat-trick (one nice goal, one off his backside, and a penalty) in morale-boosting 8-0 thrashing of Colombian side, Millonarios.LLL Prediction - Home win

Espanyol (19th) v Atlético Madrid (2nd) - 19.00 Remember Oliver Torres from way, way, way back in August? The new young buck ready to take the Primera by storm? Well, Torres has had a bit of a tough time of it ever since, appearing in all the papers and even his home being photographed. It was so bad last weekend that the wee nipper couldn’t even get a gig for the Atlético’s ‘B’ team. “Suddenly, I started seeing my name in the newspapers and first I found it hard to get used to,” admitted the midfielder to the Spanish FA's website. With Atlético now flying high as the new Real Madrid, LLL would be surprised if the name of Torres doesn’t return to the papers for a while. LLL Prediction - Away win


Getafe (17th) v Mallorca (2nd) - 21.30Remember Dani Güiza from way, way, way back Well, he’s been at Getafe for the past season and a bit, but you’d never know considering the disco-loving striker as not exactly been a part of Luis García’s plans. The forward is currently somewhere in the region of eighth-choice up front behind the fella who prods the pitch at half-time with his fork and a converted Miguel Torres. But there may be hope for Güiza and Getafe in equal measure, with a story in AS suggesting the European Championship-winning player could be off to Betis in January in what would be a return to his native Andalusia. What could possibly go wrong?LLL Prediction - Draw