SaturdayDeportivo (8th) vs Osasuna (17th)Now, La Liga Loca doesnÃ¢ÂÂt mean to start the latest edition of its regular Friday ramble on a big old downer. But, Merciful Zeus, is this weekendÃ¢ÂÂs serving of silage the worst set of fixtures ever? Or at least since the round of matches appeared for the first time last September?AlmerÃÂa vs Valladolid anyone? No? How about Numancia vs Mallorca?The round kicks off with Depor, a side that - to quote an acclaimed La Liga pundit this week: Ã¢ÂÂif they finish in the Champions League places then we may as well pack up and leaveÃ¢ÂÂ - against Osasuna, a team who are merrily set-piecing their way out of relegation trouble. LLL Prediction - Home winBetis (14th) vs Barcelona (1st)A sadly cynical La Liga Loca has a feeling that there were some sections of the visiting English media who were a tad disappointed that the international session in Seville was a happy-clappy affair with no reported racist nastiness. After all, the blog heard a story that some correspondents had contacted their colleagues in Spain to ask advice on which game they could go to last weekend to Ã¢ÂÂhear racist abuse.Ã¢ÂÂOn a similar vein, there is one club in Spain doing its best to chip away against another widespread prejudice in the global game... homophobia. Barcelona have launched SpainÃ¢ÂÂs first gay Ã¢ÂÂpeÃÂ±aÃ¢ÂÂ or fan club. The PBGL - or Gay and Lesbian Barcelona PeÃÂ±a - was opened last week and awarded a plaque on the outside wall of the Camp Nou. In an interview with Marca, peÃÂ±a president, Josep Ribes sympathised with one particular Real Madrid player who is perhaps the biggest target of all from supporters in the stands all over Spain. Ã¢ÂÂWhen they sing Ã¢ÂÂGuti, Guti, Guti, (expletive), I feel bad. Both for me and him. ItÃ¢ÂÂs just offensive.Ã¢ÂÂLLL Prediction - Away winValencia (4th) vs MÃÂ¡laga (7th)Ã¢ÂÂDum, dum, de, dumÃ¢ÂÂ... itÃ¢ÂÂs your wedding day... Ã¢ÂÂDum, dum, de, dumÃ¢ÂÂ... you are looking resplendent in your beautiful white dress.
And so is your wife-to-be... dum, dum, de dum, dum, dum, de dum... all your friends, family and loved ones are serenely seated to witness your big day. And so is Carlos Marchena. As to be expected of a club that it is turning into an episode of Only Fools and Horses, Valencia have cooked up another moneymaking scheme to help with those niggly household bills - like paying wages. From the end of the season, the Mestalla stadium will be available for hire for weddings, funerals, corporate functions, Death Races, anything. And so will the players, given the right price. Ã¢ÂÂIn moments of crisis everyone has to get stuck in and this will help the club and the players,Ã¢ÂÂ said Fernando Morientes as he squeezed into a posing pouch to prepare for a hen-night from Xerez. Meanwhile, La Liga LocaÃ¢ÂÂs bankrupsy-o-meter for Valencia is reading red, red, red, with Marca reporting that the club has to come up with 40m euro by Friday to pay wages, taxes (optional) and the construction company building the new ground - a company that may down tools if the loot is not delivered, say AS. And tool-downing of a very different kind may be another winning scheme being developed to help keep the likes of David Silva busy over the summer and the club afloat. LLL Prediction - Home win SundayAlmerÃÂa (15th) vs Valladolid (9th)To continue the rant from the first part of todayÃ¢ÂÂs tome, when some decent fixtures do happen to stumble past - like next weekend for example - those running the game in Spain manage to balls it up. Rule number one with La Liga is that outside of Spain most people donÃ¢ÂÂt give two hoots about any other clubs apart from Real Madrid and Barcelona - the big ratings winners.
And thatÃ¢ÂÂs fair enough, considering few viewers over here would be sitting salivating on their sofas over Fulham vs Wigan. And thatÃ¢ÂÂs why the matches for both clubs should never, ever be scheduled at the same time, even if they grumble and rumble over Champions League fixtures a few days later. But this is what is happening next weekend, with Barcelona vs Espanyol and Real Madrid vs Real Betis kicking off on Saturday at 8pm. And there endeth lesson number 354 on why the Premier League is still lauding it over La Liga and will do so for some time. LLL Prediction - Draw Athletic (10th) vs Recreativo (16th) If, a year ago, youÃ¢ÂÂd told La Liga Loca that Fernando Llorente would become a super striking star for both club and country, then it would have met the claim with the same seriousness as the idea of Guti enrolling at the Open University. But this is exactly what has happened in a proper rags to riches story. Well, an already rich to even richer one perhaps. Ã¢ÂÂYou feel like the best in the world,Ã¢ÂÂ beamed Fernando the morning after WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs game. And presumably talking about playing for la Furia Roja. Ã¢ÂÂIt was the most important moment of my life.Ã¢ÂÂ LLL Prediction - Home winSporting (12th) vs Real Madrid (2nd)FridayÃ¢ÂÂs Madridista papers sees both waving the white flag and giving up on proper reporting. Marca rambles on about Vicente Boluda claiming that the club can win the Champions League when, letÃ¢ÂÂs face it, any other statement would have been a bold move. AS have elected to run the nausea-inducing Ã¢ÂÂRonaldo and Kaka to come to the Bernabeu claimÃ¢ÂÂ for the billionth time with a story that Florentino PÃÂ©rez - a man who has not even said if heÃ¢ÂÂs going to run for the presidency in elections that have yet to be called - will bring the pair to Madrid over the summer. But perhaps the most curious Madrid-based crumb to be picked over this week was hidden in a report about the clubÃ¢ÂÂs new fancy pants TEC fitness centre - a building with an entire room dedicated to Christoph Metzelder. In a gushing description of the new facility, Marca report that there are two separate entrances - one for the youth teamers and basketball players and another for the first team squad. Unity in action. LLL Prediction - Away winRacing (11th) vs Villarreal (5th)So upset and angry was La Liga Loca this week over VillarrealÃ¢ÂÂs continuing uselessness, that the blog burst into unusual activity to find out from the horseÃ¢ÂÂs mouth why the Yellow Submarine was sinking so fast. Unfortunately, Ruud van Nistelrooy admitted that he couldnÃ¢ÂÂt give an explanation as to the root cause of their calamities (boom, tish), so La Liga Loca turned to Jozy Altidore who was a lot more help. Ã¢ÂÂA lot of injuries at the wrong times,Ã¢ÂÂ explained the American striker now on loan at Xerez. Ã¢ÂÂAround the goal, Nihat, is one of the best I've seen. He's so clinical. If youÃ¢ÂÂre missing him, its not going to be easy.Ã¢ÂÂBut, there is still hope on the horizon for a good old go at the Champions League, thinks Altidore. Ã¢ÂÂIf the team are at full strength, there's a very good possibility they could surprise a lot of people.Ã¢ÂÂLLL Prediction - Away winNumancia (18th) vs Mallorca (20th)Life is just too short.LLL Prediction - DrawEspanyol (19th) vs Sevilla (3rd)Buckle up and knuckle down fight fans, as the days of Manolo JimÃÂ©nez are surely numbered.
After three league defeats in a row, the Sevilla coach was already in fairly hot water this week. But the temperature was turned up even further on the former player when, club president, JosÃÂ© Maria del Nido told reporters that the current coach would Ã¢ÂÂcontinue until the June 30, at least.Ã¢ÂÂ La Liga Loca recalls that the last two club presidents to pledge faith in their managers belonged to Real Madrid and AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid. And it didnÃ¢ÂÂt go so well for Schuster and Aguirre. LLL Prediction - DrawAtlÃÂ©tico Madrid (6th) vs Getafe (13th)Now, thereÃ¢ÂÂs been a rumour rolling about town for some time that AtlÃÂ©tico club president Enrique Cerezo and director general Miguel Angel Gil share as much love and affection for each other as Maniche and a StairMaster.These stories increased in number still further last week, with reports that Cerezo was left out of the decision making process to sack Aguirre and that it was all done by Gil alone. In order to batten down the Atleti hatches, Cerezo went on television on Monday to claim that Ã¢ÂÂI am involved in all aspects of management from the first moment to the last.Ã¢ÂÂBut this wasnÃ¢ÂÂt enough to persuade the not-blinking non-believers, so Marca got the terrible twosome together for a chat and took one of the most fantastic photos of the year. Instead of the usual heartfelt embrace or backslapping bravado, the less than perfect pair are pictured at opposite ends of a sofa, staring blankly at the camera. All in all, a distinct lack of big love. LLL Prediction - Home win