The Queue-Jumping Weekend Predictions - Round 25

Saturday

Athletic (9th) vs Sevilla (3rd)There’s nothing quite so infuriating as a Spanish grandmother or ‘abuela’.

Rather than being friendly, fuzzy figures armed with sunbeam smiles, they are coffin-dodging old hags with the manners of a Premier League footballer. ‘Abuelas’ are at their most malevolent in the indoor market where they push, complain and cajole their way to the front of every queue. It’s only the thought that they are just one cold snap away from being six foot under that helps other clients keep their cool.

But there exists one righteous region of Spain where their endless elbowing is useless - the Basque country. This week, tickets were put on sale in San Mamés for Athletic’s Copa Del Rey semi against Sevilla, due to take place next week. Hundreds queued overnight outside the stadium - no mean feat in a frosty February night in Bilbao - only to see some punks pushing their way to the front the following morning.As to be expected, this caused a bit of a barney with the police called in to fix the affair. “They threatened and insulted us,” complained one of the interloper’s victims. Someone else who is feeling a little hard done by with the situation is José Maria del Nido, who is less than impressed with his club’s 500 strong ticket allocation.

“At first they only wanted to give us 275,” narked the Sevilla club president on the less than titillating total given to his club. LLL Prediction - Home winEspanyol (19th) vs Real Madrid (2nd) There was considerably more fight in the stands from Madrid than on the pitch on Wednesday night. As the minutes ticked away on the clock and the Liverpool players were wondering how bad Betis must be, the Bernabeu faithful entertained themselves with a bout of civil war silliness. Just in front of the Spanish Thing, a shouting match between two fans turned into a bit of shove-fest after one ‘hijo de puta’ too many. But that was nothing compared to the unruly behaviour from the Ultras who also took to attacking each other, the stadium security and the baton-wielding police.The 1-0 defeat gives Liverpool the chance of a peaceful passage to the quarter finals - the unreachable end of the rainbow for Real Madrid - and it also gives La Liga Loca the opportunity to make Marca’s Roberto Gómez look very silly indeed in four months time. The cranky columnist was not at all happy with Liverpool’s display and bemoans the fact that “going out to stop the opposition and hoping they don’t score is a tactical lesson.” He was also dangerously indelicate with his rantings against Rafa Benitez, a potential Madrid manager, by accusing him of “showing that he is an ultra defensive coach.”It may take an Olympian effort of grovelling and gurning from Gómez in Rafa’s direction should he become the latest Bernabeu plaything this summer. LLL Prediction - DrawSundayMálaga (6th) vs Recreativo (15th)La Liga Loca is offering some hearty congratulations to, Málaga owner, Lorenzo Sanz. The former Real Madrid magnate has now gone a good two months being mentioned in the blog without the words ‘arrested’, ‘fraud’, ‘match-fixing’ or ‘Nigerian businessman’ next to his name.  The blog is sure that this is, in part, due to the fact that Sanz is a fine, upstanding member of the community, who just happens to get into unfortunate scrapes.

But it also has a sneaky feeling that there is very little will either in Spain, both in the press and with the politicians, to tackle the most serious of the current allegations against the Málaga man - match fixing. The mother of all sporting scandals appears to have been brushed under the mother of all carpets. LLL Prediction - Home winAlmería (13th) vs Getafe (12th)Sunday’s clash between these two mid-table sides is only enlivened by the thought of some fraternal tomfoolery set to take place on the field. The weekend’s game is a set-to that will bring together the Uche brothers - the home side’s Kalu and Getafe’s Ikechukwu. And as both have a reputation for somersaulting and spins in their scoring celebrations, a goal-fest in the Estadio Juegos Mediterráneos could produce more dramatic tossing than a housebound Ever Banega.“When we were kids we would do it together with our friends in Nigeria,” commented Ikechukwu on their admirable acrobatics. LLL Prediction - Away winNumancia (20th) vs Deportivo (8th)“Yes we can!” was Deportivo’s slogan going into Thursday’s UEFA Cup tie with Aalborg, a tie they were 3-0 down in at the time. “No, you can’t” was the answer thanks to three first half goals from the Danes in just five minutes.LLL Prediction - DrawSporting (14th) vs Mallorca (18th)Big armed serve-bandit, Rafa Nadal, was caught in a sticky situation this week by having to act as the minion of two footballing masters. The Wimbledon champ was outed some time ago as a Real Madrid fan but is also supposed to be a man of of his native Mallorca. Now La Liga Loca has some doubts about this bipolar state as it has always felt that it is impossible to support two teams at the same time, never mind clubs in the same division. But Nadal gave it a go this week by receiving a Christmas cracker trinket in the shape of a gold medal at the Ono Estadi last weekend, before hotfooting it to the superior catering served up at the Bernabeu on Wednesday to watch his second club’s loss against Liverpool. LLL Prediction - Home winRacing (11th) vs Osasuna (17th)There is one less extraordinarily tall footballer in Santander as César Navas has been roubled off to the Ruskies for the rest of this season and three more. Racing are another club that is struggling to make ends meet at the moment, and the three million euro received from Rubin Kazan for the centre-back’s services will come in rather handy for those irritating essentials - like paying the players. “It was an irresistible offer that I could not turn down,” revealed Navas. “Everything was agreed and at my age I have assured mine and my family’s financial future.”LLL Prediction - Home winAtlético Madrid (7th) vs Barcelona (1st)“It worked!” screamed a loopy Joan Laporta as he ran around the basement of his Camp Nou lair. “It finally worked! At last, all of Catalunya will be mine! Mine!” After the success of his PinSat Death Ray used to keep the local Catalan hacks in terrified line, the Barcelona president had been busy beavering away with another hi-tech help to keep him at the top of the tree. And the Magic Mind Control Device was unleashed with great success this week on a couple of footballer-shaped guinea pigs.

First up was the toughest test of all - Samuel Eto’o. “ZAP!” went the gun. “If the club want me, I’ll stay after 2010,” mono-toned the Cameroonian striker. Next up, it was Eto'o’s francophone friend, Thierry Henry, a player who needed the weapon's most powerful setting. “Catalunya is not Spain,” droned the French forward to La Vanguardia before wandering out into the street.

“Catalunya is not Spain... Catalunya is not Spain... Catalunya is not...”LLL Prediction - Away winValencia (5th) vs Valladolid (10th)One half of La Liga Loca spent a number of years on the mean streets of Brighton-and-Hove. And there was one main rule.

When spotting a fine, female figure from afar avoid the Sid James phwarrr until you are sure that your object of desire is an Adam’s Apple free zone.But that won’t be a problem for, Valencia boss, Unai Emery in case he ever decided to take up the reigns at the Withdean. That’s because the man from Mestalla is in touch with his metrosexual side and has a gaydar set to stun. “I’ve had gay team-mates and they’ve never told me,” revealed Emery to the local Valencia press this week. “I can spot when a player is homosexual.”LLL Prediction - Home win Betis (16th) vs Villarreal (4th)Pity poor Manuel Pellegrini. Life would be a whole lot simpler for the Villarreal manager if it wasn’t for pesky opposition players coming to El Madrigal ruining his football fun.Last week, the Chilean coach complained when Sporting came to town and refused to roll over and be tickled by the Yellow Submarine - if a submersible has that ability.

And now the object of Pellegrini’s ire is Panathinaikos, who grabbed a 1-1 draw in the Champions League on Wednesday night. “They lacked ambition,” complained Manuel on Ten Cate’s men. “They came looking for a result and they got it.” LLL Prediction - Away win (providing Betis don’t try, of course)

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