Villarreal (3rd) Valencia (4th)ThereÃ¢ÂÂs going to be a moving, flower-petalled, violin-filled reunion in El Madrigal on Saturday when World Cup Portuguese pugilist Ricardo Costa comes a-callin'.
The Valencia defender and his Spanish counterpart Joan Capdevila had a bit of tiff and taff in their last-sixteen World Cup clash, with the Villarreal full-back taking a tumble to get his opponent sent off and subsequently banned for three games by FIFA.
Ã¢ÂÂI never touched him,Ã¢ÂÂ claims Costa, recalling the moment for AS and suggesting that he may be out for a bit of revenge this weekend. Ã¢ÂÂI would love to score and dedicate the goal to him,Ã¢ÂÂ sighs the Valencia man. LLL Prediction - Home win
AlmerÃÂa (18th) v Barcelona (2nd)More than just a club? Maybe. But just as greedy as Real Madrid - thatÃ¢ÂÂs the opinion of seven Primera sides who formally told BarÃÂ§a and their buddies in the Spanish capital where they could shove the TV deal being offered by the pair from the 2015 campaign onwards.
The ever so generous rights carve-up sees the big two giving up a small portion of the total percentage of the pot from the one they have at the moment, but still receiving between Ã¢ÂÂ¬140m-Ã¢ÂÂ¬150m a year compared to the Ã¢ÂÂ¬22.5m lucky old AlmerÃÂa would be paid, for example.
Espanyol CEO Joan Collet sums up the general feeling in the stalled talks by claiming that Ã¢ÂÂI have no doubt that in the next five, 10 or 15 years Madrid and BarÃÂ§a will keep on winning the league.Ã¢ÂÂLLL Prediction - Away win. Of course
Real Madrid (1st) v Athletic Bilbao (8th)The somewhat self-obsessed Madrid and Barcelona sports media only notice other clubs when their two beloved sides take time out from bickering with each other to lower themselves into playing them - or want to buy their shiniest stars. So itÃ¢ÂÂs time for Marca and AS to poke around Athletic Bilbao and their wonderfully whimsical Ã¢ÂÂBasque-only, have a Ã¢ÂÂKÃ¢ÂÂ in your surname? Oh, youÃ¢ÂÂll do!Ã¢ÂÂ policy.
This week, Marca dragged Athletic president Fernando GarcÃÂa Macua to Capital City, where he explained patiently that he had no intention of changing the direction of the club, noting (with some pride and pomp, the blog imagines) that his side currently supplies the captains of SpainÃ¢ÂÂs U-21, U-19 and U17 teams. Macau also insisted that he wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt be selling Fernando Llorente, either, not that this has lessened the hype in the Madrid papers this week Ã¢ÂÂ hype that will miraculously die down once Athletic have left town.LLL Prediction - Home win
Osasuna (12th) v Sporting (17th)It was reported in MondayÃ¢ÂÂs edition of Marca that Sporting manager Manuel Preciado had grabbed his groin and thrown a bottle at the Real Madrid coach in response to a two-fingered gesture from JosÃÂ© Mourinho after SundayÃ¢ÂÂs cantankerous clash in El MolinÃÂ³n.
The next day Preciado swore to journalists on his sonÃ¢ÂÂs life that he did neither of the two alleged acts. Which means that someone is lying. LLL wonders who it could be?
The follow-through, as it were, from the whole insane affair sees the FAÃ¢ÂÂs curiously-named Anti-Violence Commission charging both coaches for hÃ¢ÂÂcreating a hostile atmosphereÃ¢ÂÂ ahead of last SundayÃ¢ÂÂs clash with their war of words.
Marca have jumped the shark a tad with Friday's front-cover response Ã¢ÂÂ a recreation of GoyaÃ¢ÂÂs Dos de Mayo painting that portrays their beloved JosÃÂ© Mourinho in front of a firing squad.
Meanwhile AS editor Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o moans that charging both with the same offence gives Ã¢ÂÂa false pretense of equality. When charging Preciado (for calling Mourinho Ã¢ÂÂlow-lifeÃ¢ÂÂ) they felt obliged to throw the book at Mourinho too (for saying Sporting fielded a weakened team in their Barcelona clash).
Phew. And it isnÃ¢ÂÂt even El ClÃÂ¡sico week. LLL Prediction - Away win
Espanyol (6th) v HÃÂ©rcules (13th)Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart have been joined by former teammate Royston Drenthe in the admittedly fairly small Ã¢ÂÂDutch midfielders rejected by Real Madrid but who are doing quite well for themselves sinceÃ¢ÂÂ club.
Ã¢ÂÂRickyÃ¢ÂÂ has been in exceptional form since the start of his loan move to HÃÂ©rcules, and scored with a cracking free-kick last weekend to beat Real Sociedad. The winger then received a call-up to the Dutch senior side for the first time and even got 10 minutes of trotting about - and falling over once or twice, no doubt - in the friendly against Turkey. LLL Prediction - Home win (1-0)
Levante (19th) v Racing Santander (14th)Curiously, RacingÃ¢ÂÂs Swedish striker Markus Rosenberg has taken the fifth-most shots at goal in la Primera so far this season, putting him just behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo Messi, Guiseppe Rossi and David Villa.
Rosenberg has apparently had 39 bangs in the direction of the opposition goal in nine league games. The slight problem is that the Racing man has only scored two of them - three if you count that shot that flew off his back against Real Madrid. LLL Prediction - Away win (Rosenberg hat-trick)
Deportivo (15th) v MÃÂ¡laga (16th)Ã¢ÂÂDoomed, doomed, doomed!Ã¢ÂÂ was the vibe from WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs Marca. They claimed that Deportivo president Augusto Lendoiro was going to ditch the manager, Lord of Misery Miguel Angel Lotina, at the end of the season, having suffered Ã¢ÂÂbeing lectured for an hour on the clubÃ¢ÂÂs philosophy by a Barcelona fanÃ¢ÂÂ levels of tedium watching DeporÃ¢ÂÂs 5-5-0 formation for the past couple of seasons.
LotinaÃ¢ÂÂs response to the speculation was, as to be expected, distinctly non-chirpy. Ã¢ÂÂThree weeks ago, I was packing my bags,Ã¢ÂÂ sighed la LigaÃ¢ÂÂs version of Marvin the Paranoid Android. Ã¢ÂÂBut now... IÃ¢ÂÂm not fussed. LetÃ¢ÂÂs see what happens in May.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂLife? DonÃ¢ÂÂt talk to me about life,Ã¢ÂÂ added the Deportivo manager when asked for his thoughts on MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs revival under Manuel Pellegrini. LLL Prediction - Draw
Sevilla (5th) v Mallorca (10th)Alvaro Negredo still continues to make friends all over Spain with his wrist-kissing celebrations, faking fouls to get opponents sent off and getting himself red-carded when most needed by his side.
At Zaragoza last weekend, the Sevilla striker scored in the final minutes of the game to further cement the love the home fans have for him in their hearts - a romance that began when he reportedly agreed to join the Aragonese outfit before heading south to the city of Seville in 2009.
Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs not nice that people want you to die,Ã¢ÂÂ noted Negredo on his La Romareda reception, Ã¢ÂÂbut never mind... my way of responding was with a goal.Ã¢ÂÂLLL Prediction - Home win
Real Sociedad (9th) v AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid (7th)In a move that would very much delight the more-of-a-morning person LLL, AS are reporting that AtlÃÂ©tico are contemplating midday kick-offs on a Sunday from January.
It's an attempt to cash in on the Asian market, what with the Rojiblancos' big men in big suits having signed partnership deals in China, Thailand and most recently of all the UAE. Ã¢ÂÂThis continent [Asia, obviously not Europe - Economics Ed.] is the solution for economic problems of the future,Ã¢ÂÂ notes Atleti columnist Manuel Esteban.
And after another AlmerÃÂa-like inept performance, matches finishing at two in the afternoon will also give the CalderÃÂ³n Massive extra bonus drinkie time to drown their sorrows. LLL Prediction - Home win
Getafe (11th) v Zaragoza (20th)Due to a bit of a lapse in sanity that saw LLL actually believing what came out of a club presidentÃ¢ÂÂs gob, it mistakenly gave the impression in WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs update that Zaragoza coach JosÃÂ© Aurelio Gay was safe in his position until at least next week.
Ã¢ÂÂThere wonÃ¢ÂÂt be any change with Gay,Ã¢ÂÂ claimed Zaragoza president and owner Agapito Iglesias on Monday. Ã¢ÂÂWe must keep on having patience. Aurelio will be on the bench next Monday [against Getafe]. And on Tuesday.Ã¢ÂÂ
So of course, the coach was fired two days later with former Osasuna, AtlÃÂ©tico and Mexico coach, flat-top king Javier Aguirre, back in business and given a contract till the end of the season to save the skins of the bottom-of-the-table team. LLL Prediction - Draw