Big Weekend Preview: Will Celta do Big Two double and will Moyes board the Yellow Submarine?

The Spanish weekend foretold by Tim Stannard...

The Copa del Rey is seriously messing with La Liga Loca’s melon, man. And not even in a good way. Every year the tournament, especially at these early stages, depresses the blog because of how it pits tiny teams against big 'uns without any chance of beating them over two legs. There is also the issue of the rounds going on forever and ever and ever and ever.

The latest cluster of matches kicked off on Tuesday and are still continuing on Friday and bumping into when everything should all be about La Primera and not blooming Albacete against Levante. It can’t even muster a joke about how many crazy folk will turn up for Getafe hosting Eibar.

Anyway, for the moment that football proper in Spain howls at the ceiling upon awakening, here are some conundrums on the blog’s mind in a weekend that isn't particularly tasty-looking, to be fair. 

Will there be some Mexican malevolence towards a returning hero?

Poor Chicharito is probably going to hate the sight of Jesé very soon. The Madrid forward returned from injury after eight months out to a hero’s welcome, that got even louder in the midweek win against Cornella.

It didn’t really matter a jot that the Mexican had a fine performance too. Jesé has the advantage of being a youth team product that actually made it through to the Big Side, having a lovable grin and also a burgeoning pop career. Three things missing from the armoury of the on-loan Manchester United man, whose spells on the Madrid bench could be becoming even more extended.
Real Madrid vs Celta Vigo (Saturday 20.00 CET) on Stats Zone

Can Celta Vigo get it together at the Bernabéu?

Ever since the Galicians pulled off a minor miracle in the Camp Nou at the beginning of November, it would appear that Celta players have downed tools to squat on their lunch boxes for a month: that tremendous victory was followed by two defeats and a draw in La Liga and a midweek defeat to Las Palmas in the cup.

Still, striker Santi Mina tingles that Big Team lightning can strike twice with a win at Real Madrid. “People thought it was impossible to beat Barça at home, but we played to our strengths and got a good result,” noted Mina. “We are going to try and take advantage of the space they will give us,” blurted the forward, giving the whole tactical game away.
Real Madrid vs Celta Vigo (Saturday 20.00 CET) on Stats Zone

Will anything exciting happen in the Catalan derby?

Probably not. It’s a nice match-up in theory between city rivals and all that and there is certainly no love lost between the two institutions over the years, but the reality is that Espanyol won’t win this game in a month of Sundays.

The Pericos only just beat Levante last weekend, have not won away in La Liga for 10 games, and are facing Barça in the Camp Nou. And no, they are not as good as Celta were when the Vigo outfit beat them a month ago, so don’t even try grasping at that straw. It will be 4-0.
Barcelona vs Espanyol (Sunday 17.00 CET) on Stats Zone

FEATURE Politics, arses and cartoon cats: the background to Barcelona vs Espanyol

Will Elche give as good as they get against Atlético?

Merciful Zeus, Saturday could be a grim day for Elche, who are now permanent residents in the relegation zone after three league draws in a row. Matters weren’t much better in the cup in a goalless draw against Granada that sounded like a whole bag of hamster fun.

Atlético Madrid are in town to really rub in the pain although Uruguayan defender Damían Suárez promises that “we will have to be just as aggressive as them to win the game.” Having spent 18 years leading the line at Peñarol in a previous life, LLL has good reason to believe the stopper.
Elche vs Atlético Madrid (Saturday 16.00 CET) on Stats Zone

Will David Moyes' tightness be put to the test?

“Sid Lowe! Sid Lowe! Er... Sid Lowe! Your boys took a hell of a beating!” Except Oviedo didn’t, in Thursday’s club clash against Real Sociedad. Instead, it was a goalless draw, a third clean sheet from the punctilious (not sure what that means) outfit being moulded by David Moyes. However, the Scotsman and his merry band of Bravehearts are going to have a stickier test on Sunday against Villarreal, who are way past the golden era of Nilmar and Rossi but are still capable of some decent stuff.
Villarreal vs Real Sociedad (Sunday 21.00 CET) on Stats Zone

Will history repeat for Deportivo against Málaga? (1-1 potentially)

Elsewhere in España

There is nothing that makes the Copa del Rey worse than having the play to same rivals a few days later, a fate that Deportivo are enjoying. Of course though, bigger matters than football are dominating the scene at the club with the fallout continuing from last Sunday’s violence in Madrid.

One previously unknown angle in the affair was the feelings of the Deportivo players, although Toché did give an indication of what is going through their minds. And they're not happy thoughts. “They didn’t consult with us about a minute’s silence (before Monday’s training), nor the suspension of the game, nor the closing of the stands. We form part of the club but we don’t have much say in anything.”
Deportivo vs Málaga (Saturday 22.00 CET) on Stats Zone