The Sun-Creamed Weekend Predictions - Round 1

SATURDAY

Real Madrid vs Deportivo

When asked to opine on who will win the title this season, La Liga Loca would always give a thoughtful, careful, considered answer based on a number of factors - the questioner’s purtyness, drunkenness and what club she supported.

But now, the blog must give the genuinely honest response of ‘Barcelona’.

Until Thursday evening, it was always going to be 50/50 on that particular topic. However, the sale of Arjen Robben seems to have swatted the ball firmly into the Catalan club’s court.

The muscle-clutching master will be a huge loss to Manuel Pellegrini, who desperately wanted to keep him.

But since when has a mere manager had any say at Real Madrid?

However, painful as it is to agree with Marca and AS, both papers make valid points on Friday on the rationale behind his €25 million move to Bayern Munich.

Robben is a constant injury worry, too costly to be a mere substitute, and will almost guarantee Frank Ribery moving in the opposite direction next summer.

LLL Prediction - Home win

*In a bold experiment La Liga Loca will be tweeting live from the Bernabeu for their opener against Deportivo.

Should it get in, find somewhere to squat, get the computer working, and the Wi-Fi... Follow La Liga Loca on Twitter

Zaragoza vs Tenerife

With all the other open questions floating around la Liga this season – such as who will win it, which games will Guti choose to play in and whether Pep Guardiola will break his personal record of wearing two shirts at the same time – there are some secure certainties.

The TV situation will continue to be a mess.

At the latest count, some 298 stations in Spain appear to have the rights to top-flight games, meaning that consumers now need all manner of boxes and gadgets balanced on their TV sets and ready to catch fire at any moment, just to see everything.

Spanish law says that one encounter every weekend must be watchable simply by turning on the most basic of TV sets.

That match is supposed to be the game with the biggest public interest. Hence why the powers-that-be have chosen Zaragoza vs Tenerife as their main attraction.

An interesting choice is the blog’s polite response.

LLL Prediction - Home win

"Oh balls, it's on Channel Five"

SUNDAY

Athletic Bilbao vs Espanyol

Oh happy, happy days for Athletic Bilbao.

Their great Europa League odyssey is about to start, having overcome mighty Tromso over two qualifying legs - but only by the skin of their Basque teeth, it would appear.

“I want to win anyway I can,” claimed manager Joaquín Caparrós before Thursday night’s match in Norway. “The only thing that matters is being in that draw in Monaco.”

And that’s where they’ll be despite having “suffered like dogs” in Tromso’s Arctic home, where Athletic battled to a 1-1 draw to give them an aggregate victory over their whale-hunting opponents.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Mallorca vs Xerez

According to La Liga Loca’s pinpoint-accurate prediction table, these two teams will be tipping their hats goodbye to the top flight come May.

So Sunday’s tie might be a fine time for at least one of them to have a week or two feeling warm and content before the inevitable nine months of misery and despair to come.

But one of Xerez’s on-loan recruitments, Barcelona’s Victor Sánchez, feels that the southern side has every chance of staying up this season.

“Take away seven or eight and the rest of the sides are in Xerez’ league,” claimed the defender.

For the moment, the club’s supporters are merely looking forward to their team's first ever top-flight campaign.

“The party has begun!” whoops one fan on Marca’s message board. “¡Viva Andalusia! ¡Forza Xerez!”

There should be probably be a hiccup or two in there somewhere too, the blog imagines.

LLL Prediction - Draw

Osasuna vs Villarreal

Thinking of making a bit of money this season? Like a horny hummingbird on the pull, are you on the hunt for a cheeky little flutter?

Then go out, sell everything you have and put all the loot on Jonathan Pereira as the top-flight’s top scorer, this season!

After all, the Villarreal forward grabbed 10 goals in pre-season, making him the hottest striker of the summer.

They were pretty much all against one side, to be fair, but you can prove anything with facts, can’t you?

LLL Prediction - Away win

"Your place or mine?"

Racing vs Getafe

Like the other four games being played on Sunday at 17:00hrs it's going to be astonishingly hot come kick-off – a good 85C in some places, if La Liga Loca’s hyperbole-prone weather service is to be believed.

Valencia’s pitch has reportedly died after a 10-year life having been burned to a crisp over the summer.

The problem is that sun-cream-smeared supporters will have to go out into the melting stands to catch these encounters, as it appears that a still-to-be-resolved TV dispute could well lead to all five games being blacked out.

LLL Prediction - Draw

Málaga vs Atletico

With an own goal in Atletico’s favour within the first few minutes of Tuesday night’s Champions League encounter, it was always going to be a dull old affair at the Vicente Calderón against Panathinaikos.

The rojiblancos’ newfangled tendency towards ditchwater-dull professionalism and competency meant that the tie was in the bag at 4-2 up on aggregate.

But there was at least some entertainment to be enjoyed – the return of the ever-popular José Antonio Reyes, who trotted out onto the pitch as a second-half substitute after a year on loan to Benfica.

And he was met by a 30/70 split between polite applause and bawdy boos from the 30,000 strong crowd.

Not that it seemed to bother the former Real Madrid player, who stopped caring what people thought of him some time ago.

“It really doesn’t affect me at all. It’s only the extremists who booed me.”

Considering nut-jobs make up most of the Atlético crowd, José's in for a rough ride.

LLL Prediction - Away win

Valencia vs Sevilla

Although Real Madrid and Barcelona may take a tiny tip of the attention over the weekend – not that they should, considering they have dead-cert home bankers lined-up as their openers – this is the proper man’s game of an encounter this weekend.

Valencia have once again been propped up by a loan guaranteed by the local council – and it’s stopped the club disappearing into either the Segunda B or the oblivion of nothingness.

LLL Prediction - Home win

"Anything you can spare, guv"

Almería vs Valladolid

If Manucho is to keep his 40-strikes-for-Valladolid promise this season, then he'll need just over a goal a game for the next nine months.

The counter has begun.

LLL Prediction - Home win

MONDAY

Barcelona vs Sporting

When gobby Real Madrid sporting director Jorge Valdano began a diatribe on the nature of Barcelona’s nationalist tendencies, there was always going to be trouble.

Mainly because the Catalan club is incapable of maintaining a dignified silence on anything.

“Here, it would difficult to have a player saying ‘Viva Real Madrid’ and ‘Viva the Community of Madrid’” said the Argentinian, marching into a minefield of controversy.

Inevitably that set off alarm bells over at the Camp Nou but with the King of Catalunya, Joan Laporta, busy on buffet business at the Champions League draw it was up to Txiki Bergiristain to give a huffy reply.

But the comment he most took offence to was Valdano’s claim that he was right to pass over knee-knacked defender Gaby Milito during his spell as manager at Real Madrid. 

“I don’t think Gaby deserves this. He’s even one of his countrymen. I’m sure that when Valdano takes a moment, he’ll realise he made a mistake and correct himself.”

Good luck with that theory, Txiki.

LLL Prediction - Home win

**Don't forget – Tim will be tweeting from the Bernabeu on Saturday. Follow La Liga Loca on Twitter

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FourFourTwo.com: More to read...

The Big Season Preview - Part OneThe Big Season Preview - Part TwoThe Big Season Preview - Part Three The Big Season Preview - Part Four

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