La Preview: Ronaldo’s promise, Córdoba’s crisis, Villarreal’s date with fate

FourFourTwo's Spanish expert Tim Stannard sees past the stink to preview another round of La Liga action...

After a traumatic Thursday at Getafe’s Coliseum, and the legendary figure of Quique Sánchez Flores leaving the club in a fluff of eyeliner and dramatics, LLL was barely able to compose itself to look at the rest of La Primera’s action this weekend. But after two litres of milk, some sobbing and a fair amount of dry heaving, it got itself into some kind of shape to offer up a few posers for the weekend...

Will Ronaldo be true to his word to Sauron?

Well, that’s going to give the blog a few sleepless nights.

It wasn’t the wonderfully-posed shot of Florentino Pérez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas chatting on the Mordor training pitches that appeared on Marca's front cover. It wasn’t the wrinkles that appeared on the side of Ronaldo’s normally Kryton-like face showing that age creeps up on the best of us.

Instead it was Marca moving into full-on Pravda territory with the apparent words of CR7 to Florentino: “We are not going to fail you. You can count on us.” The paper also noted that “the Portuguese recognised his recent mistakes”.

It was an abysmal load of tripe quite frankly, and has LLL rooting for Villarreal like crazy on Sunday just to see what the omnipotent Florentino will do with Ronaldo and a box of cocktail sticks as way of punishment for breaking his promise.
Real Madrid vs Villarreal - Sunday 21.00 CET

"Oh, how we laughed..."

Will Barça look out for the Ides of... March (nearly)

Some kind of counter-calculating is needed here. When Barça are expected to have a comfortable time of it – Málaga and Celta Vigo at home – they stuff it all up. But when there could be trouble at t'mill, the Camp Nou side pull through.

Following that logic, the away game at Granada might not be as hefty a win for the visitors as the table suggests. Granada are second from bottom, but have a tendency to shut up shop when required, and beat Barça 1-0 last season. Then again, the Catalan club are facing a Granada team that has five players injured and four suspended.

The enjoyable aspect for Barça overall this year is that it is never possible to tell what they are going to do next. Luis Enrique probably has little clue either. And how this happy-go-lucky character must enjoy that.
Granada vs Barcelona - Saturday 16.00 CET

Are Villarreal in history-defining period?

LLL is all for hyperbole and nonsense. That and generally making up stuff is what the blog is largely about. However, it had to call foul on AS for claiming that Villarreal were embarking on the “most decisive week in its history”. The reason for such breathless babbling was that Villarreal had a Europa League second leg to face, along with a visit to the Santiago Bernabéu and then a Copa del Rey semi-final against Barcelona. Those seven days of destiny started with a bang and a 5-2 aggregate win over Salzburg.

It could be argued that Villarreal have a big week ahead of them, but a week bigger than a Champions League semi-final or even a promotion or two from La Segunda? Doubtful.
Real Madrid vs Villarreal - Sunday 21.00 CET

Will rudderless Getafe make something from Málaga match?

There was LLL, pootling along in its normal Thursday funk when it felt a psychic vibration. Quique Sánchez Flores had left Getafe after just 11 matches. The immediate thought from the blog was that it was in reaction to the news that midfielder Sammir had been flogged to Chinese super-side Jiangsu Sainty for €3 million – money needed so that Getafe can pay some cash overdue to the taxman.

A Getafe mole told LLL that Quique had not been informed about what was happening to one of his more promising players, but the now-former coach simply cited “personal reasons” for his departure.

Naturally, Getafe president Angel Torres was none too happy at having to find a coach for the second time in three months, and stressed that Quique would have to pay up any money he owed from his departure clause. A weird campaign for the capital city club continues.
Málaga vs Getafe - Saturday 22.00 CET

Can Córdoba start saving season against preoccupied Pericos?

Córdoba had its very own Ronaldo birthday party/Piqué casino moment last weekend, when four players decided to go out for dinner after the home loss to Valencia.

LLL feels rather sorry for them, as if the footballers were only allowed out of the house after a victory, then life in the sparkling city would be more than a little drab.

Everyone else has been completely down in the dumps after five straight defeats, with defender José Crespo sighing that he and his team-mates need to pull their collective fingers out a little. “When we all give a little bit less then we are mediocre, bottom of the table.”

The big hope for poor old Córdoba is that Espanyol have their eye off the ball this weekend, with the team being fairly safe on 29 points and with a midweek Copa del Rey semi-final second leg clash against Athletic Bilbao on the horizon.
Espanyol vs Córdoba - Friday 20.45 CET