The Value-Sharing Weekend Predictions

Our man in Spain gives us his views on the upcoming weekend's action in la Liga...

Saturday

Atlético Madrid (7th) v Getafe (6th)

It’s been a strange couple of weeks for Diego Forlán, which began with his apparent confession in English to the international press that “if I have the chance to go (to England), I will go.” This was quickly backtracked to death with the normal excuse of mistranslation squeaked out in situations such as this in which a footballer accidentally tells the truth.

Forlán then followed the route of another footballing favourite, visa issues, which saw him joining up with the Uruguay national side a day late for their friendly against China in Wuhan where he eventually played for an hour. It was match that Quique Sánchez Flores suggested that his striker should have asked his international bosses to miss.

But, it would seem that the fantastic forward chose not to, so both stories have left the impression that Forlán is not exactly 100% committed to his club - an impression that isn’t entirely new writes Alberto Polo in last Saturday’s Marca.

“The coldness of the Uruguayan and the passion of the Atleti fans provoke a strange cocktail, thato’s sometimes explosive.”

LLL Prediction - Home win

Barcelona (4th) v Valencia (1st)

Once again, Barcelona showed that they really are ‘more than a club’ with the continuation of the wonderfully entertaining presidential pillow fight between Sandro Rosell and former chieftain Joan ‘Joan’ Laporta.

It began when the newbie big cheese Rosell went all with the David Cameron and claimed that his predecessor had left the club without a pot to pee in and that some tough decisions were going to have to be made. Like the purchase of Javier Mascherano.

Laporta had held his silence over the summer - an enormous achievement for a gentleman deeply in love with the sound of his own voice - but held a press conference on Thursday where he wittered on for a good three hours about being defamed and smeared by Rosell and his usual bugbear of “the Spanish media cavern.”

“A sad spectacle” was the depressed view of Josep María Casanovas in Sport on the whole stag-rutting affair.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Málaga (10th) v Real Madrid (3rd)

Fight! Fight! Time to gather round and enjoy a bit of Portuguese payback as Málaga manager, Jesualdo Ferreira and José Mourinho finally come face-to-face some five years after the latter referred to the former as being a bit of an ass.

Writing in a weekly supplement in 2005 for Portuguese paper, Record, Mourinho continued a spat between the pair that was opened when he turned down the chance to have Ferreira as his number two at Benfica by opining that “there’s one coach with a 30 year career and another with three. The one with 30 years has won nothing. The one with three years has won a lot....this could be the story of a donkey that has worked for 30 years but never become a horse.”

Mourinho has added this week that relations between the feuding duo are now ‘optimal’ and that he considers the opposition manager for Saturday to be a friend.

LLL Prediction - Draw (2-2 to be precise).

Sunday

Racing (18th) v Almería (14th)

And who says sarcasm is hard to come by in Spain? Racing Santander are doing the Snoopy dance of joy blasts Friday’s Marca because their local council has tarted up the Fuente Del Cacho, a celebration point for the Cantabrian side - a celebration point that has only really been used once in the last hundred years when Racing came in 6th in 2008.

But the fountain getting a lick of paint means that “the Cantabrian supporters will have a place to gather and sing about the successes of the team” says a possibly-taking-the pee Marca.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Deportivo (20th) v Osasuna (15th)

A morale-boosting goal from Juan Rodríguez in last round’s 6-1 defeat against Real Madrid has ignited the embers at bottom-of-the-table Deportivo. Miguel Angel Lotina is certainly showing some fighting spirit with his declaration that being in last place, without a win, and below Levante isn’t a big issue at all really.

“The league table position isn’t bad,” claimed the Deportivo boss before quickly changing his mind. “It’s bad, but if we win our next match we are practically sure of moving out of the relegation zone.”

LLL Prediction - Goalless Draw

Levante (17th) v Real Sociedad (13th)

There’s a number of easily obtainable facts about Real Sociedad coach, Martin Lasarte. He’s from Uruguay and once played for Deportivo many moons ago. However what millions of la Liga fans have always wanted to know but never been able to discover about Lasarte is what he is like at horizontal jogging...bedroom gymnastics...making the beast with two backs. Until now that is.

In an interview with Marca that somehow manages to avoid the topic of the greatness of both Cristiano Ronaldo and José Mourinho, Lasarte reveals that he is a back-to-basics kind of guy in the sack. “When it comes to sex, I’m very traditional,” admits the San Sebastian sausage-smuggler. “I’m traditional in everything. A friend says that I should have been born in the era of tango.”

LLL now challenges a member of the British press corps to put the same poser to Big Sam. Or perhaps not.

LLL Prediction - Draw

Mallorca (9th) v Espanyol (8th)

With the good ship Mallorca in administration and therefore not the best of financial health, the last thing the club needs is yet another swordfish poking more holes in their already leaking hull.

But this is happening with a reported legal demand from former boss, Gregorio Manzano, which claims that both he and his coaching team are still owed €2.2m in salaries and bonuses.

To demonstrate exactly the calibre of person who got Mallorca into their current mess, former club president, Mateo Alemany stepped up this weekend and responded to Manzano’s challenge with dignity and maturity. Sort of.

“Gregorio Manzano has got selective Alzheimer’s,” said Alemany with sensitivity to those currently suffering from the horrible condition. He then went onto to argue that should the club be forced to pay out the €2.2m - meaning that Manzano is legally entitled to it - then it could lead to the dissolution of Mallorca. “This club helped him move to Sevilla and now Mallorca are in administration.”

Whilst only half-heartedly blaming Manzano for the economic ills at the club, Alemany then went to the whole hog and dumped all the blame on the former boss who lead them to fifth last season. “He has the moral responsibility because he asked for players and bonuses.”

“In respect for those suffering from (Alzheimer’s) and their families, I make no comment,” was Manzano’s more dignified riposte to Alemany.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Athletic (11th) v Real Zaragoza (19th)

As La Liga is basically defined by Barcelona and Real Madrid, poor Athletic Bilbao forward, Fernando Llorente, has been tormented by questions from the media all week of which of the two clubs he would join if they both made bids for him. And were the bids to be accepted. And were he of a mind to leave Athletic, anyway.

LLL suspects that Llorente might well conjure a hamstring injury next time Spain duty comes around just for a return to the quiet life.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Sporting (16th) v Sevilla (5th)

In a curious move that could only really happen in Andalusia, Sevilla president José Maria del Nido and Luis Fabiano made a much-publicised trip to visit some youngsters in a local city school on Wednesday to share their values with the wee kiddies.

At this point the blog would like to note Del Nido is currently one of the many accused in the dock in Spain’s largest ever corruption trial whilst the oh-so-committed Luis Fabiano once again appears to be whining about his lot despite having only just signed a new contract with his club to 2013. “Being on the bench is not good for me or Sevilla,” he grumbled.

Heaven help the youth of Seville.

LLL Prediction - Away win

Monday

Hércules (12th) v Villarreal (2nd)

Normally, finding land, getting it ‘hastily’ reclassified and building stuff on it isn’t a problem on the Spanish Costas if you know the right people. Until the police in Madrid find out a few years later and arrest everyone for fraud, embezzlement, ripping off tax-payers and falsifying documents, which is exactly what happened in Marbella.

So it is puzzling to discover that the Hércules players currently have to travel up to 300km a week to find somewhere to practice as they do not have their own training centre and do not want to overuse their stadium's pitch.

It seems that there is a dearth of good pitches in the Alicante area meaning that the squad have tried out four different ones, Goldilocks-style, before settling on a spot some 50km away.

“You can’t imagine the headache I have planning training with no pitches,” confessed Hércules coach, Esteban Vigo.

LLL Prediction - Away win

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