La Preview: Transfers, tiffs, Googling and 'cojones, cojones, cojones'

Saturday

Mallorca (15th) v Betis (13th) - 18.00 (local time)The side run by Joaquín Caparrós had a major boost on Wednesday, when Mallorca failed to land misfiring forward Javier Arizmendi from Getafe. Unfortunately, that minor moment of happiness was curtailed when former Betis boss and current Mallorca majority shareholder, Lorenzo Serra Ferrer, went onto Radio Marca and told the station he wanted Betis to win Saturday’s match, a bit of a turn-up for the books to say the least. “You are putting me in a bit of a bind as you know what I feel. I would like Betis to win,” admitted the former coach, who has managed Betis on two occasions. LLL Prediction - Home win

Athletic Bilbao (6th) v Espanyol (5th) - 18.00Not that the Basque side really had much choice in the matter due to their player pickiness, but Athletic did not move into the transfer market during the winter window. Espanyol went quite craaazeee though, bringing in three footballers late in the day. Former Barça and Getafe midfielder, Víctor Sánchez, escaped the imploding Neuchatel Xamax and returned to Spain. The Pericos also boosted their attack by picking up Coutinho on loan from Inter Milan and rescued another Neuchatel orphan, Kalu Uche, who was with Almería last season. LLL Prediction - Home win

Levante (4th) v Racing Santander (17th) - 18.00Perhaps LLL’s favourite bit of stuff and nonsense from the deadline day came from new Racing midfielder Marcos Gullón, who has joined from Villarreal. Quite naturally, the 23-year-old wanted to make a good impression at his presentation on Wednesday and noted that Racing was “a good club to begin at in the Primera,” even though LLL suspects Gullón will be in la Segunda in about four months time.  But even so, it was a solid start. But then the former Villarreal man got a little bit carried away with the occasion by boasting that Racing was “an historical Primera club” (LLL - debatable), has done “important things” in the league (LLL - trophies won = zero) and had been in Europe (LLL - once). If Gullón is a slick on the pitch as off it, Racing have a real thunderbolt on their hands. LLL Prediction - Home win

Getafe (9th) v Real Madrid (1st) - 20.00A match against Getafe always brings up Pepe’s on the pitch problems, thanks to his giant wig-out that saw poor Javier Casquero used as rugby ball in April 2009. This is rather unfortunate timing as Real Madrid’s short-tempered stopper is only just starting to live down his last unfortunate incident, the Leo Messi hand stamp. Pepe was a topic of conversation for Getafe striker, Miku, who will be up against a defender and a team he scored two goals against in this season’s Santiago Bernabeu clash in a 4-2 defeat. The question posed was whether Miku was afraid of the big, bad Pepe. No, was the reply, “I train with Cata Díaz every day,” scoffed the forward bringing up the topic of Getafe’s own physical enforcer who had a fun ‘discussion’ with Marcelo not so long ago. LLL Prediction - Away win

Barcelona (2nd) v Real Sociedad (12th) - 22.00The Clásico buzz has definitely worn off in the Spanish media, and it appears that this week nobody can really be bothered to do that much work. Lazy reports about referees favouring Barça/Madrid have been published dutifully. AS noted that there are more Google searches for José Mourinho’s name in Barcelona than in the Spanish capital. Marca have been trying to work out what needs to happen for Real Madrid to time their league title win with getting a guard of honour at the Camp Nou. In Barcelona, Sport has noticed that it is rather cold in Spain at the moment and predicts that Pepe’s Dream Boys will be glove-tastic and will be playing Saturday’s match with the temperatures at -4. Good job that fantastic atmosphere in the Camp Nou will warm them up, eh! (LLL runs for cover).LLL Prediction - Home win

Sunday

Sporting (19th) v Osasuna (10th) - 12.00It's been a tough week for poor old Sporting, with the tearful sacking - from the guy doing the firing - of manager, Manuel Preciado, after nearly six seasons in charge. It’s a move that supporters seem to be behind, all be it reluctantly, but there is great resentment towards the footballers who they feel are just as responsible for Sporting being in the relegation zone due to nocturnal naughtiness.Signs at training this week called for “less going out, more effort,” with one slogan painted onto a wall of the club suggesting “cojones, cojones, cojones,” as being the only way out of the team’s predicament. AS reports that the club has responded to such criticism by planning to have a 23.00 curfew players for any nighttime excursions.LLL Prediction - Home win

Sevilla (11th) v Villarreal (18th) - 18.00Now LLL likes sticking its beak into a bit of a scandal, especially when there’s much ado about nothing. This week’s storm in a thimble came at Sevilla, when it looked like there had been a training ground spat between Freddie Kanouté and manager Marcelino, with the striker heading to the dressing room early after strong words were said between the pair. Not so, apparently, with the excuse that Kanouté was merely a bit moody after being told that he could no longer train due to a knock he was carrying. “During no moment of the season has there been problems between then,” informed a club statement sternly. LLL Prediction - Home win

Zaragoza (20th) v Rayo Vallecano (14th) - 19.45Tired of all the conflict and cattiness in football? No? Well, nor is LLL. But despite this, the blog's cockles were tingled by the sight of supporters of both sides in the Rayo against Athletic Bilbao clash from last weekend in Vallecas. An occasion that included Athletic fans singing Rayo songs (happy, heavy sigh of kitten-like contentment)LLL Prediction - Away win

Atlético Madrid (7th) v Valencia (3rd) - 21.30Valencia gave themselves a decent chance of getting through to the Copa del Rey final with a 1-1 draw against Barcelona in Mestalla. Part of the reason for not losing the tie was Unai Emery not believing a word of Barça’s injury reports, especially in relation to Alexis and a remarkable recovery after last week’s Clásico clash. “We lost Albelda this morning, and Soldado had a serious injury and we had to operate on his knee,” joshed the Valencia manager ahead of last Wednesday’s game. LLL Prediction - Home win

Monday

Granada (16th) v Málaga (8th) An embargo enforced upon Málaga for outstanding money owed to Osasuna for Nacho Monreal meant that the southern side had their purses snapped shut during the winter window, aside from the incorporation of goalkeeper, Carlos Kameni into their ranks. Granada however, pulled of a potentially great coup by bringing in Brazil U-20 World Champion striker, Henrique Almeida, who joins on loan from Sao Paolo.LLL Prediction - Draw

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