Titanic football days

Saturday

Villarreal (5th) v Valencia (7th)

This week began with the normal mayhem in Mestalla, got marginally better, but will end with doom and despair when Valencia have their arses handed to them by their neighbours from hell, Villarreal.

The seven days started with defender, Raul Albiol, needing 13 stitches in his knee after a game of beach football - a game that presumably took place in Thunderdome. Soon after, petitions from Japan of all places, arrived at the club telling Juan Soler to bugger off and do one - but probably in a more polite manner.

Things picked up a little on Wednesday, when Valencia knocked Betis out of the Copa del Rey in front of just 20,000 fans. And on Friday, it was reported that the lord of the five knuckle shuffle, Ever Banega, will soon be partnered by Ajax's superbly-named central midfielder, Hedwiges Maduro. Home win.

Getafe (15th) v Sevilla (8th)

This second round tie between the two teams has some considerable significance for Sevillistas, as the first one was the match which saw the collapse and subsequent death of Antonio Puerta - an event that the Sevilla team has never fully recovered from.

Former team-mate and really rubbish striker, Kepa - now at Getafe - says that the best tribute to his fallen comrade would be a victory...for the home team. Perhaps the most peculiar thing said, this week, by anyone. Home win.

Sunday

Osasuna (18th) v Athletic Bilbao (11th)

Osasuna have been talking the talk over the last few days, but are they capable of walking the walk? Last Sunday's crap capitulation at the hands of Racing Santander saw them slip into the relegation zone - but they won't be there for long, says pretty much everyone at the club.

"There's still time for us to have a good season," says Ricardo with the same blind optimism shared by those expecting the people of Spain to agree on the proposed lyrics for the national anthem. Home win.

Zaragoza (12th) v Murcia (14th)

After Víctor Fernández 'paid the duck' for Zaragoza's season long slump by being sacked, the latest addition to Spain's unemployment statistics sat down with a cup of tea and a muffin, during the week and talked to El Pais about the behind the scenes shenanigans at La Romareda.

It seems that Victor's relationship with club big cheese, Agapito Iglesias was all but non-existent and he didn't receive the backing from his paymasters over his decision to boot Andrés d'Alessandro from the squad.

So now, Zaragoza's destiny lies in the inexperienced hands of Ander Garitano who began his tenure by seeing his side get turned over in the Copa del Rey by Racing Santander. Home win.

Levante (20th) v Mallorca (13th)

Levante's Italian trio of Rigano, Storari and Cirillo set sail across the Med in boat flying a big white flag, this week. And it's 'good riddance' says Giovanni di Biasi who claims that his own rapidly sinking ship is now "a bit lighter".

Not only is it a bit lighter, but the air below decks is considerably clearer as the remaining players can now see each other's miserable faces, for the first time this season, as the departing threesome were also smokers.

"So what if a player smokes? In Italy and in Europe there's no problem if a player has a ciggie or two after a meal," complained Rigano misplacing the continental location of Spain.

The not so super striker also reflected on his oh so happy time in Valencia. "In Levante we were going down and it seemed that no-one cared," said the forward who showed how much he cared by sodding off at the earliest possible opportunity.

Meanwhile over in Mallorca, the soon to be departing Jonás, revealed that not all footballers are porno-obsessed gigolos. Some get their kicks out of old fossils - and not in the Wayne Rooney sense.

"My favourite dinosaur is the velociraptor," mused the palaeontology-loving man-child of Mallorca who also has a soft spot for brontosauruses, apparently. "I've seen Jurassic Park about fifteen times," he giggled whilst crayon-drawing a picture of a T-Rex on the dressing room wall. Away win.

Almería (10th) v Deportivo (19th)

Finally, some kind of sense has been seen in La Coruña. The talk in the football world had been on whether Munúa's apparently unprovoked attack on Dudu Aouate would leave both players out of the squad for the rest of the season. But, at last, the talk in the real world has turned to the fact that a man had his eye socket smashed in.

The local legal authorities are investing the incident to see whether charges will be pressed against Munúa, seeing as Aouate is unwilling to do so.

Earlier in the week, the four club captains held a join press conference to discuss both the affair and a four hour meeting held with Miguel Angel Lotina. "The two of them have to apologise to the team," declared Manuel Pablo, "Dudu for talking about things he knows nothing about and the other for the punch." Tough justice in Depor. Home win.

Valladolid (9th) v Espanyol (4th)

Espanyol have taken their midweek cup defeat to Athletic Bilbao in good spirit. Not really. A red card for Luis Garcia has provoked a fusillade of fury from club president, Daniel Sanchez Llibre against referee, Rodríquez Santiago.

"We know who he is," barked the big wig, "he's one who allowed Messi's handball goal in the derby last season, at the Camp Nou...We had to go to penalties thanks to his incompetence," wailed the walking heart attack. Draw.

Betis (16th) v Recreativo (17th)

"Long live Spain! We sing together, with different voices and only one heart!" What was wrong that that? Sounds like a dodgy Eurovision song, sure, but aside from that...

Atletico Madrid (3rd) v Real Madrid (1st)

"Enrique Cerezo, the excellent president of Atletico Madrid put to rest one of the most important questions of the derby," wrote Marca's Roberto Gomez - neatly overlooking Cerezo's criminal conviction for cooking Atletico's books a few years ago.

So what question was put to rest, according to Gomez? Atletico not bottling the derby. Again? Kun and Forlan winning the deadly striking duel against Ruud and Raul? Of course not.

"Where will the official lunch be held?" mused Roberto. Fortunately, it will be held in a restaurant of one of his best mates - which is the only conclusion one can draw from Wednesday's page long plug - a plug which no doubt saw Gomez having to wipe the drool from the keyboard as he gushed over the quality of ham that would be served up. And the pudding, of course.

Lunch was also the running theme of Friday's AS. The paper ran a four page feature on the meal thrown by the paper for Rámon Calderón and Cerezo. But the big news was that two actual, kitten-loving real life women were allowed to join the party of besuited old fogies which had an uncanny resemblance to a gathering of Republican party presidential candidates.

One person who was missing was the paper's Atletico Madrid correspondent. Instead Iñaki Díaz-Guerro was at home, "curtains drawn and head under the duvet," avoiding an event where, "the two presidents sit there, the world is lovely, flowers are pretty, what good friends we are, la la la." Draw.

Barcelona (2nd) v Racing Santander (6th)

Racing Santander and their miraculous manager, Marcelino, are the current toasts of the town in Spain. But Marcelino is too canny a cookie to know that this adulation may be momentary. "They could easily be singing 'Marcelino out!' in a month," said the coach when questioned about the songs being sung by giddy Racing fans, at the moment. Home win.

Posted by Tim

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