La Preview: Pepe’s Secret Video, A Sulky Soldado and Sevilla’s Fearless Leader

Saturday

Málaga (3rd) v Valladolid (8th) - 16.00 CEST While the international break has afforded most of Málaga’s fairly stretched squad a nice rest ahead a fairly hectic period of league, cup and Champions League games, the club’s bosses have been pondering what to do with a certain soon-to-be-superstar footballer who is one ‘D’ away from being a great night out. Isco currently has a deal with Málaga that runs to 2016 with a buy-out clause of €21 million. Not long enough and certainly not a big enough clause for Málaga's liking, given that he's player every right-thinking big gun in Europe will be whacking each other with pillows to pick up over the summer. LLL Prediction - Home win

Real Madrid (5th) v Celta Vigo (12th) - 18.00 La Liga is back and so, of course, is the kerfuffle over Pepe and whether or not the defender is a dirty player. It will be of no surprise to say that Real Madrid suggest ‘no’ and Tito Vilanova thinks ‘yes’. We're still waiting for Javi Casquero’s thoughts on the matter, though. The Barça boss suggested after the most recent Clásico clash that “they should put out a video of all of Pepe’s kicks,” after the Madrid man suggested that Andrés Iniesta was a diver. According to Catalunya Radio, such a video was made by Barcelona during the reign of King Pep and is ready for release if necessary. LLL urges an immediate release of the footage and retaliation in kind from Real Madrid - José Pinto’s worst haircuts. Or is that taking things too far?LLL Prediction - Home win

Valencia (14th) v Athletic Bilbao (16th) - 20.00Roberto Soldado received quite the wrap on the knuckles from Mauricio Pellegrino after the defeat to Levante a fortnight ago, with the Valencia boss castigating his player for letting his temper get the better of him in the local derby defeat. “The more you talk, the less you play,” warned the Argentinean, who revealed that things were so bad on the pitch with a sulky Soldado that “we were afraid we would end up with ten, so I send Nelson Valdez out to warm up.”But Soldado responded in an adult, non stroppy manner by admitting that “the only people responsible (for a bad start) are the players. The team hasn’t shown half the football that it has.” Naturally, the striker then called Saturday’s game against  equally beleaguered opponents in the shape of Athletic Bilbao, ‘a final’. And to be fair, it certainly could be in terms of Pellegrino’s perilous position at the club, supposes LLL. LLL Prediction - Home win

Deportivo (18th) v Barcelona (1st) - 22.00In an apparently money-spinning initiative, those egg heads at the Spanish FA had hoped to follow the Italian path and play the country’s annual Super Copa in China, with the result hopefully being lots of lots of cash in return. Well, that cunning plan looks like being shot down in flames with the two teams most likely to be participating in the match, year after year after year - Barcelona and Real Madrid - declining the offer in a meeting this week. “We can’t imagine an official competition where our fans can’t attend,” declared Barça spokesperson, Toni Friexa. In other news at the Catalan club, it seems that Barça may be dragged kicking and screaming towards lowering themselves to a midday kick-off, something has been previously opposed, apparently on the grounds that Sandro Rosell is not really a morning person. “This year we’ll play at 12.00, but I don’t like it, I’m not a fan of this time, but we’ll accept it,” advised the coffee-swigging Barça president, on route to buying ten alarm clocks to plant about his bedroom. LLL Prediction - Away win

Sunday

Getafe (9th) v Levante (11th) (12.00)Approaching the European places is quite an achievement for Getafe considering the Madrid side have got there without a single goal from their anointed goal-getters. Technically speaking, the team has five proper strikers in the squad (and Dani Güiza), but not one has managed to score one of the eight league goals knocked in by the team so far this season. Young Paco Alcácer, on loan from Valencia, is amongst this group of mis-firing forwards but says that big things can be expected from himself before the year is out. “It would be a good season if I score eight or nine goals,” announced the big-talking striker. LLL Prediction - Draw 

Espanyol (20th) v Rayo Vallecano (10th) (16.00)Poor Mauricio Pochettino has has to suffer a fortnight stewing in his own juices, with the Pericos bottom-of-the-table and still without a win. However Espanyol really, really, really should beat a Rayo side that LLL watched two weeks ago and can best describe as ‘plucky but quite terrible’. “The only thing that can give us tranquility and confidence is a good game and three points,” admitted the club’s coach. LLL suspects they’ll do just that on Sunday. If not they are doomed, doomed, doomed. LLL Prediction - Home win

Granada (15th) v Real Zaragoza (17th) (17.50)A lazy LLL is just going to leave you with Granada player Youssef El Arabi's analysis of this game, as the blog doesn’t think it can add too much more. “Zaragoza is a good team and is a direct rival. We’ll try to do everything to win this game.” However, on a more interesting note, the Moroccan forward, who cost €5m over the summer, did respond to some boos from the direction of the Granada fans in the team’s last home game by promising that he’s “working a lot and giving everything to score goals so the team can win.”LLL Prediction - Home win

Osasuna (19th) v Betis (4th) (19.45)There’s much ado about lively Betis midfielder, Beñat Etxebarría at the moment, with the Basque player called up to the Spain squad for the past two World Cup qualifying matches. Unfortunately for the Seville side all the ado is about when the hairy one will be leaving Betis. Club president, Miguel Guillén, is quite optimistic about the chances of Beñat staying by revealing that talks are afoot with the player to renew his contract. Unfortunately for the Betis boss, the ultimate decision on what happens to the footballer may lie with the team’s administrators - and that decision could well be a bad one. “We don’t rule out the chance that Beñat could go in the winter market. We know that Beñat could earn more in other teams than Betis,” advised Bosch Valero, one of  the Betis accountant overlords who also revealed that Wolfsburg had made a €10m offer for the midfielder over the summer.LLL Prediction - Home win 

Real Sociedad (13th) v Atlético Madrid (2nd) (21.30)Finding out what music being blasted through out-sized headphones makes a particular footballer tick whilst he gets on and off the team bus is always a curious business. Real Sociedad have poked their nose into the players’ tastes by allowing the footballers to choose a song that will be played out over the stadium PA if they score in la Anoeta. The most likely tune to be heard is Torture Me by Red Hot Chili Peppers, the choice of striker, Imanol Agirretxe. Alberto de la Bella, the big wuss bag, has selected Rihanna’s We Found Love. But LLL imagines the entire stadium will be dreading a strike from defender Carlos Martínez with David Bisbal’s awful, awful, awful Ave María set to be blasted out if he should ever score a goal. Luckily that hasn’t happened since the 2007/08 campaign. LLL Prediction - Draw

Monday

Sevilla (7th) v Mallorca (6th)  (21.30) LLL certainly wouldn’t like to be in the walking in expensive boots of José María del Nido, where life isn’t going particularly well for the Sevilla president. Last December, del Nido was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison, having been found guilty of embezzlement for his part in a corruption ring in Marbella between 1999 and 2003. The Sevilla big-wig was also ordered to pay €2.7 million to the city’s town hall. However, the innocent-declaring del Nido is going through an appeals process and has yet to see a cell, and doesn’t expect to either. “I don’t have a plan B as I’m convinced plan A will go well,” said del Nido in AS on whether prison gives him the willies. “ I don’t know what fear is. When it happens I’ll describe it.”LLL Prediction - Home win

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