The Working Like a Dog Weekend Predictions - Round 8

With the world a dark, grim place these days, we should thank all the gods-that-be for Atlético Madrid for making this boring burden we call life so much easier to bear.

In fact, those eggheads at the Nobel board should invent a brand new award in recognition of their efforts to bring smiles to the faces of football fans all over the world.

A golden giggling clown, perhaps, with an enormous lobotomy scar slashed across its forehead.

It’s Atleti who kick off Round 8 of la Liga and what a truly wonderful week it has been in the Rojiblanco world.

It began with a 3-0 pummelling by Osasuna in Pamplona, continued with a 4-0 stomping at Stamford Bridge and has ended with no one having the faintest idea of who is charge at the Vicente Calderón.

On the institutional front, main shareholder and chief blame-dodger Miguel Angel Gil has done a runner from the sporting side of the institution by announcing that he will be focusing mainly on the finances.

And that’s a good move for Atleti considering that his family is well known for its skill in accumulating cash by all possible means.

Especially when you take into account that he will be backed by Oscar Gil, Myriam Gil and Severiano Gil, who are listed as 'consultants'.

That leaves Enrique Cerezo in charge of the rest of the club, and what a fine job he's doing.

Before Wednesday’s Chelsea encounter, the film producer said that “We win and lose together” and snapped at journos for harbouring doubts over his honesty over the future of coach Abel Resino.

“It would be crazy to think about changing the manager,” ranted the club president. “Do you think that with the week we have, that we have time to think about changing the coach?”

Well, crazy is as crazy does. Which is why, some 24 hours later, Cerezo was offering the trainer’s role to (and getting rejected by) Michael Laudrup.

With sporting director Jesús Pitarch admitting that Resino had stopped taking his phone calls three days ago, no one is entirely sure who will be on the Rojiblanco bench for the home clash against Mallorca.

At time of writing, it could be Abel Resino, Luciano Spalletti, Quique Sánchez-Flores or Paco the Performing Pony, who will stomp his hoof to indicate the squad numbers of the players that he wishes to select.

Straight after Atlético’s goalless draw it’s Real Madrid in action up in Gijón.

And Friday’s edition of Marca throws its hands up in the air in an enormous huff, admitting that, despite some 250 million Euros being blown on a brand-new squad, the club is a one-man team.

“Cristiano works like a dog to return now!” claims Marca’s headline in a feature picturing the Portuguese player posing in the club’s training centre that tries to turn those Real Madrid frowns upside down.

“Cristiano’s attitude is an example of professionalism,” gushes an editorial based on the simple fact that he turns up at Valdebebas every day to receive treatment for his ankle injury.

Judging by Marca’s standards, all of you employed people who continue to drag yourselves to work should give yourselves pats on the back, as you too are “an example of professionalism.”

Saturday's final match sees Espanyol travelling to Sevilla, with uncertainty over whether Raúl Tamudo will be in the Perico squad or not.

With his tearful claims of ill-treatment from the club having being proved to be somewhat silly, talks are still ongoing as to whether the forward will be kicked out straight away or wait until the winter window to make his move.

“Whatever happens, I hope he goes out the Big Door,” shrugged club captain Ivan de la Peña.

Sunday’s football fiesta starts with Tenerife against Xerez.

The visitors' majority shareholder Joaquín Morales made the news this week, by giving away 30 percent of his shares to a local gentleman with the nickname of El Turronero – “the Cake-Maker” (sort of) – to cover a 3.5 million Euro debt between the pair.

And what with this being Andalusia, and in particular Xerez, this doesn’t sound too dodgy at all.

It was yet more misery for Villarreal on Thursday night, with the Yellow Submarine losing to Lazio in injury-time of their Europa League clash.

However, they have one more chance of redemption on Sunday by beating Málaga - another side in an enormous mess, second-from-bottom of the table.

Fourth-placed - FOURTH! - Deportivo will be boring the pants off Valladolid fans on Sunday, while a truly shambolic Getafe will be being beaten by those bruisers from Bilbao.

And it is to the manager of Athletic that the blog next turns its attention, to report on an interview that Joaquín Caparrós gave to Marca a couple of weeks back on a wide-ranging smorgasbord of topics.

As is to be expected, the hyperactive Andalusian was in fine form, expressing his concerns over what will happen if Iran get the bomb, and Spain's Mafia: “Unfortunately, it exists but it comes with suits and ties,” tutted Caparrós.

But it was on the topic of prejudice against gay footballers in la Liga that the former Sevilla boss had his most interesting moment, with his declaration that that it doesn’t exist simply because “there aren’t any."

Racing host Osasuna with the main news from the Pamplonan camp being that French winger Ludovic Delporte - who used to be great, once - continues to make Arjen Robben look like Iron Man by picking up his 15th major injury in three years.

Almería host Valencia in Sunday's 7pm kick-off with Barcelona taking on Zaragoza at 9pm.

And that match will see the launch of a new advertising campaign for the Camp Nou club: their major players adorned in muscles and tattoos boasting that “we will play out of our skins” as a rough translation of their new slogan.

Despite a goalless draw and a home defeat in Barça's last two games, Sport are on hand with a typically balanced article on the state of the side that claims that “the four basic principles of Barcelona - hard work, dedication, solidarity and talent - remain intact.”

And so, it appears, does the side’s uncanny ability for insufferable smugness.

Round 8 Predictions

Atlético v Mallorca - DrawSporting v Real Madrid - Away winSevilla v Espanyol - Home winTenerife v Xerez - Home winVillarreal v Málaga - Home winValladolid v Deportivo - DrawGetafe v Athletic - Away winRacing v Osasuna - DrawAlmería v Valencia - Home winBarcelona v Zaragoza - Home win

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