La Preview: Racing’s woeful week and Ronaldo’s icy stare


Sporting (18th) v Real Madrid (1st) - 18.00 (all kick-offs local time)One of the season’s finest moments came during the AS awards ceremony dinner held on Monday - not the usual location for hi-jinks and fun. A mischievous tyke had decided to put Cristiano Ronaldo and Atlético Madrid president Enrique Cerezo together on the same table, just two days after the Rojiblancos - and Luis Perea in particular - had dished out a bit of punishment to Ronaldo’s ankle during Saturday’s derby. The general argument between the pair can be summarised as “your mob are a dirty bunch,” more or less followed by "well you lot started it and are worse", although the Atlético president failed to remember Marcelo’s name, something that can’t be said of a section of his club’s more racist support. But the confrontation was all about Ronaldo’s icy stare - a gaze not even Paddington Bear could hope to equal. LLL Prediction - Away win 

Racing Santander (20th) v Villarreal (12th) - 20.00It’s been an undeniably lousy, forgettable week for both clubs. Héctor Cúper resigned from Racing along with his coaching staff after just one win from 13. Cúper handed in his notice to the administrators currently running Racing, before releasing a statement through the press advising that he “didn’t want to hurt the club any more.” The slight piece of good news for Racing is that by resigning, Cúper gave up the payment which would have been due had the the Argentinean been sacked.Villarreal lost 2-1 to Málaga on Monday and then had Nilmar’s agent making it very public indeed that his client wanted out. “Nilmar wants to win a title, something that won’t happen at Villarreal,” complained Horacio da Hora who said Roma have been sniffing around. “Villarreal are desperate for forwards now that Rossi is out so it’s difficult to negotiate at the moment,” whinged the Brazilian’s buddy. LLL Prediction - Away win

Barcelona (2nd) v Levante (4th) - 20.00La Liga Loca has gone all Mr T and is pitying the poor fools who sit on the Spanish FA’s Competition Committee. It’s these sorry souls who will at some stage on Friday have to make a decision (none made at time of writing) on whether Gerard Piqué’s yellow for time-wasting on Rayo was deliberate and thus worthy of a two game ban or just the standard single match. Seeing as the referee didn't mention any naughty motives from the Barça defender in collecting his caution, the group’s hands may be tied and the one match ban will stay. If that is so, then the Madrid papers are likely to going nuts with the claim that the FA are backing Barça all the way whilst the Catalan press will be moaning that the laws of the game have not been followed and Piqué is being victimised due to Madridista pressure. LLL recommends sick leave from everyone involved until February. LLL Prediction - Home win

Valencia (3rd) v Espanyol (9th) - 22.00“Away from football, you aren’t going to hear about Miguel,” promised the disco-loving Valencia fullback back in September during a decent spell of form. It appears that if wasn’t for a dressing room mole that would still be the case. But instead a story broke early this week that the Portuguese overslept for the umpteenth time in his Valencia career and arrived late for Sunday’s training - with a subsequent paddling from Unai Emery. Marca report that the Valencia boss was so furious that this story reached the press that he gave the footballers a lengthy lecture about unity and other concepts that are largely absent from the Mestalla dressing room. Unfortunately, this private chat was also leaked meaning a tough week for the under-fire Valencia players.LLL Prediction - Home win


Atlético Madrid (10th) v Rayo Vallecano (11th) - 12.00Atlético’s current plight is not particularly enjoyable for the club or its fans, but it is not quite in the desperate terms reported by marauding midfielder Assunçao, who irritated the heck out of LLL by claiming that “there are 25 finals left, if we pick up a lot of points we can be in the Champions League places.” With such crashing tedium and cliché, the Brazilian managed to both break the record of ‘x finals left’ and state the bleeding obvious too. Assunçao also revealed a new management structure at the Vicente Calderón club in discussing his contract situation. “My future belongs first to God and then to Manzano and he decides.” LLL Prediction - Home win

Real Sociedad (17th) v Málaga (5th) - 16.00For the first time in a month or so, the topic of whether la Real boss, Philippe Montanier would be fired or not wasn’t the talk of the town in San Sebastian. Instead, if the half-way line hero Iñigo Martínez. The young Real Sociedad centre-back has now scored two goals from inside his own half, against Athletic Bilbao and on Sunday, Real Betis. An intrepid AS tracked down one of his former coaches in la Real’s youth set-up and probed him thoroughly on whether these long range roasters have always been part of the 20-year-old’s armory. “These huge shots haven’t been a surprise as he’s alway had a great strike on him, but it seems he’s saved them for la Primera,” chuckled Imanol Idiakez. Martínez himself claims that “if I get a third chance, I won’t hesitate in giving it a go.” LLL Prediction - Draw

Osasuna (7th) v Betis (14th) - 18.00The match that Betis boss Pepe Mel is likely to need to win to keep his job seeing as the Seville side have now managed to pick up just one point from the team’s last nine games. Heck, Mel has even got support from a member of the club’s administrators - the new thing in Spain, it seems - things are that bad. “There’s absolute confidence that Mel is going to change the team’s way of playing as he set it up and implemented it,” claimed José Antonio Bosch in management speak for  “you made the mess, now fix it.” LLL Prediction - Draw

Mallorca (15th) v Athletic Bilbao (8th) - 20.00Well, it seems like there’s some life in the old Mallorca dog yet. The Balearic club is one of many that are in administration, debts, no money, etc but it seems Mallorca could be rescued from their penury by a handsome stranger on horse. And clutching a cane too. But hopefully there’s no mad hidden wife being kept in an attic.Marca are reporting that parties from Arabian lands are interested in club - a nice place to park some yachts - and the ubiquitous agent, Jorge Mendes, is helping everyone get to know each other. More news will apparently be forthcoming after a creditors meeting in the middle of December. LLL Prediction - Away win 

Granada (16th) v Real Zaragoza (19th) - 21.30As way of a bit of house-keeping, the final 30 minutes of Granada’s suspended clash with Mallorca will take place on the 7th December at 19.30. Just so you know.LLL Prediction - Home win


Sevilla (6th) v Getafe (13th) In other foreign ownership news, the eventual takeover of Getafe is set for a big date in April when the final decision will be made on whether the romantic proposal made by the Royal Emirates Group last season to bond with the Madrid club will be followed by the football club being formally taken up the aisle, wedded and bedded. Or left at the alter, as happened when a meeting thought to be planned for October never took place. LLL Prediction - Home win