The Roof-Building Predictions

Round 3 preview, featuring toilets, pie and Shakira....

SATURDAYEspanyol (12th) v Almería (14th)Considering grey skies and rain have returned to the Spanish capital after a horribly sunny summer, LLL is going to start with something belly-gurglingly happy today: the very welcome sight of super-sensational slaphead Ivan de la Peña, back playing football for Espanyol last weekend against Villarreal after nearly a year out with complete body-knack [No, it's true – Medical Ed.]. “After 10 months without competing, it’s incredible to feel like a footballer again,” beamed the hairless hero. “I’m going to face every match as if it were my last and only live in the present.”LLL Prediction - Home win

Mallorca (18th) v Osasuna (16th)No goals scored by either of these two teams so far this season. But that won’t stop the should-know-better La Liga Loca tuning in at 6pm like the buffoon that it is to watch this dynamic duo come face-to-face.LLL Prediction - Draw

Sporting (13th) v Athletic Bilbao (11th)Iker Casillas, Pepe Reina, Víctor Valdés, Andrés Palop (maybe not at the moment), David de Gea, Daniel Aranzubía, Diego López, César Sánchez and Gorka Iraizoz – nine Spanish goalkeepers who are probably better than anything England have got.

And if Friday’s AS is to be believed, the fella named last on that lengthy list may well be proving that tremendously bold and Joe Hart-ignoring assertion in the Premier League sooner rather than later, with the Basque man at the back said to be in Arsenal’s sights to replace countryman Manuel Almunía.LLL Prediction - Away win

Real Sociedad (4th) v Real Madrid (5th)Visitors to the Santiago Bernabeu may have thought that there were a number of things missing from the stadium - an atmosphere, goals and (thanks to a tractor oil leak) a playable pitch.

But LLL can’t imagine that anyone has ever gone there thinking that what the ground really lacks is a roof, considering rain is a fairly rare occurrence in Madrid and there are already overhead heaters over the fans to warm their pampered cockles, meaning that there is less chance of freezing than there is of being grilled alive.

However, construction company owner Florentino Pérez feels that this is exactly what is required in Real Madrid’s home. “We are working on a roofing system for the stands. It won’t be easy,” announced the club president at the club’s AGM on Sunday.

It’s a move that has produced a rare example of dissent from Marca, with the often feisty and frequently brilliant Roberto Palomar complaining about the engineering background of Pres Pérez.

“Once again, this man’s obsession with building work comes out. Cold, heat, rain and wind form part of football,” wrote the columnist in Monday’s edition. “If he was a plumber then he’d put a toilet in the middle of the pitch.”

The appearance of Lady Gago on the occasional team-sheet would suggest that the Bernabeu has already got one. LLL Prediction - Away win

SUNDAYHércules (9th) v Valencia (2nd)The brilliant brace against Barça last weekend by Nelson Valdez certainly made the Paraguayan forward a popular man in Alicante, with shirts with his name flying out of the shop like nobody’s business.

But this doesn’t mean that his fantastic feats won plaudits over the rest of Spain - certainly not within Marca’s readership, anyway. Every week, the newspaper’s website has a poll to choose their footballer of the weekend, with the votes added up to pick an overall winner at the end of the season.

In the most recent round of action, Mesut Ozil was the winner with Diego Forlán nestled in second place. In third, it was of course Raúl. Not really. It was the new Raúl, Cristiano Ronaldo, for his assist against Osasuna. Little Leo Messi managed to end up in fifth despite being rubbish and finishing on the losing side, whilst Iker Casillas made eighth when even his own manager said that he had nothing to do.

Unfortunately, Valdez was nowhere to be seen in the top 15 - the last spot was taken by Xavi - meaning that Alicante is pretty much the only place his efforts will be rewarded this season. LLL Prediction - Home win

Racing (19th) v Zaragoza (17th)And there was LLL writing that Barcelona and Villarreal might be the best place to catch a bit of sexy football this season. Apparently, all the fun to be had is with Racing Santander up in cow-crazy Cantabria.

AS report that Miguel Angel Portugal’s men have been going nuts with the fantasy football in the club’s opening two matches, this season. Unfortunately it has all been for nothing with Racing still without a point or goal. “We are having fun but risking too much,” was how the paper reported the message from the Santander dressing room.

“We don’t know how long we can keep on playing like this without picking up points,” admits Gonzalo Colsa ahead of a clash against a Zaragoza side that conceded five in 34 minutes last Sunday, meaning that this initially less than enticing encounter might be the one to watch this weekend. LLL Prediction - Home win

Levante (20th) v Villarreal (6th)So, given the choice, out of all the players in Spain’s World Cup winning squad, which one would you go for a beer with? Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos too rowdy for you?

Carles Puyol? Ah yes. The hair. The staring. The embarrassment.

What about Joan Capdevila, the soon-to-be-forgotten man of the Spanish squad? And if you think the blog is being a tad harsh there, that was the vibe from the left-back himself in an interview with Marca last weekend.

According to those who have met the Villarreal man, Joan Capdevila is as nice as pie. Indeed, LLL has the impression that the defender is the morale-boosting but less irritating version of Pepe Reina in La Seleccíon’s dressing room.

“I recognise that I don’t have the talent of my teammates in the Spanish team,” said an endearingly modest Capdevila. “I see Iniesta playing and all the others and think, ‘I’d pay to watch them!’"

Well, if it makes you feel any better Joan, LLL would pay to have a drink with you. Or does that sound a bit wrong?LLL Prediction - Away win

Atlético Madrid (1st) v Barcelona (8th)Whenever a Spanish team plays in Greece or Turkey it always sets off a series of “Welcome to hell” headlines in Marca and AS, when those banners should be really be reserved for when Peterborough make it into a European competition one day.

It was same old story for Atlético’s trip to Thessaloniki in a very ‘meh’ 1-0 defeat to Aris in the Europa League, where the only thing especially scary was the enormous amount of confetti on the pitch and the ball boys who suddenly gathered to stare menacingly at Sara Carbonero’s bum as she gave her pitchside reports for Telecinco.

It’s more fun fair for Atleti on Sunday with the visit of Barcelona, in an encounter which averages three goals and frequently sees the Rojiblancos on top at the end of the evening. Not unlike Gerard Pique, currently suffering a caved-in head to go with the split lip, bruised face and crushed gonads experienced in the World Cup.

“I’m going through a bad spell when I’m on the end of everything,” chuckled the Barça defender, who may be suffering from some kind of cosmic karma due to being so close to Shakira. LLL Prediction - Away win

Málaga (10th) v Sevilla (3rd)Oh dear. Another calamitous result for Sevilla in Europe with a 1-0 home defeat to PSG is very bad news indeed for coach Antonio Alvarez, who is walking the tightrope of doom.

“I spoke quietly with the president and Monchi,” explained Alvarez after the French fiasco. “We discussed the game and have agreed the match is already history.” So will his career at Sevilla be if they lose to Málaga on Sunday. LLL Prediction - Draw

Deportivo (15th) v Getafe (7th)The press area of Getafe’s Coliseum stadium was quite exotic on Sunday, and not because of the presence of La Liga Loca. There were a couple of Danish gentlemen there too. Being the nosy type, the blog saw that one was a journalist because he was writing and stuff on a laptop.

But the second Nordic visitor was a lot more interesting in that he was making notes on pads with football fields drawn on to it. “A scout from Odense,” suspected LLL remembering that the Danish outfit were in town on Thursday for a Europa League clash.

It was better than that. It turned out that it was Viggo Jensen, Odense’s assistant coach. Unfortunately, the story has an unhappy ending considering Jensen, along with the club’s entire management team, was fired a few days later making the whole exercise a fairly futile trip really, aside from the honour and privilege of sitting in front of FourFourTwo’s finest. 

Jensen also got miss a return to Coliseum for the footballing gift that keeps on giving - Javier Arizmendi. On Sunday, the striker scuffed a shot so badly it fooled everyone on both teams and dribbled unmolested into the back of Levante’s net. On Thursday night, it was double delight with  Arizmendi managing to score for both sides in Getafe’s 2-1 win over Viggo-free Odense, which was watched by just 2,000 fans thanks to the insanely high €50 ticket prices. LLL Prediction - Goalless Draw

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