The Algarve-Fleeing Weekend Predictions - Round 36

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Osasuna (17th) vs Sevilla (3rd)

Last weekend, Osasuna boss José Antonio Camacho pretty much wrote off the relegation jelly-wrestle against Getafe before a ball had been kicked by leaving Persian pass-masters Javad Nekounam and Masoud Shojaei out of the starting XI in the 3-0 defeat.

The red-faced ranter will have to be a little less conservative over the next three rounds, with Osasuna needing five points out of clashes against Sevilla, Barcelona and Madrid.

First up on Saturday night, it’s the side from Andalusia that looks as snug as a bug in a rug in third.

But this Champions League-chasing achievement still hasn’t stopped speculation on the future of manager Manolo Jiménez, especially since former Espanyol man Ernesto Valverde left Olympiacos this week after a rather splendid season with the Greek club.

Interviewed in Friday’s Marca, Jiménez was all with the joshing about his future, chuckling that he could see himself “managing a team wearing white in the Champions League next season.”

Like an over-enthusiastic Ever Banega, La Liga Loca has a hot tip on someone else leaving the Sanchez Pizjuán over the summer.

The blog spotted an unusually upright Diego Capel loitering outside the entrance to the fancy pants area of the Vicente Calderón stadium after Sunday’s clash with Valencia.

And that set off a spider-sense tingle that feels that the winger will be tumbling to the ground in a brand new Atleti-shaped home next season.

LLL Prediction - Draw

Deportivo (6th) vs Getafe (15th)

After last Sunday’s clash with Osasuna, Getafe boss Michel admitted that the only thing he could do with just a few games left was to keep up the spirits of the players during the final run-in.

And that’s a good thing too for the Coliseum club. Had the man with a less-than-impressive managerial past been let loose with any tactical tinkering then Getafe would be going down faster than Paris Hilton in the Atlético Madrid dressing room.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Villarreal (7th) vs Real Madrid (2nd)

After months of rumours and rumblings over his intentions, Florentino Pérez stepped up to the podium in the modest, Everyman location of Madrid’s Hotel Ritz to announce his intention to run for the Real Madrid presidency, once again.

And the message from the man who shares the same off-putting grin as Gordon Brown is that the club is going to be spending big over the summer by putting together a squad that mixes galaxy-sized stars of the world game with home-grown talent - a cunning, bold, revolutionary plan that cannot possibly go wrong.

Chief cheerleaders Marca couldn’t be happier with Pérez’ debut in Friday’s edition, but AS are a little less powerful in their praise in their own editorial.

Alfredo Relaño writes that Florentino’s speech got “10 marks for marketing and madridismo” but noted that “the fact that he has returned amidst such adulation worries me to some extent.”

Fellow candidates in June’s poll have also had their say, with Juan Onieva snooking that Pérez “hasn’t learned anything. He continues to be presented as the sun that lights up the institution, the great saviour, the Messiah.”

Eduardo García complains - quite rightly - that “it’s not fair that the media have already laid out the carpet for him.”

LLL Prediction - Home win


Numancia (20th) vs Recreativo (19th)

With bottom-of-the-table Numancia needing three wins from three to have even the wispiest, sniffiest of chances of staying up, club captain César Palacios has called for “an incredible intensity” from the home fans in the 105-capacity las Pajaritos stadium on Sunday.

‘Up yours!’ appears to be the message from supporters on the Marca site in response.

One complained that “last Sunday against Valladolid, you had 1200 Sorians who travelled 500km to see you and at the end of the game you couldn’t even be bothered to acknowledge us and now you ask for help? You don’t deserve this support.”

LLL Prediction - Draw

Racing (13th) vs Valladolid (12th)

La Liga Loca’s weekly prediction of a game that will be boring but turn out to be brilliant will not be repeated in round 36. On no.

This particular encounter is set to be a stinker, a slimer, a David Bisbal of a game of football. A guaranteed gumbo of a game.

Racing just need a cheeky point or two to stay up and will probably get it on Sunday against Valladolid - the same Valladolid that has had much success at scoring as La Liga Loca at an all female wedding party.

The Pucela side have not managed a goal in seven matches and not won in eight. “It’s hard to explain what is happening to us,” admitted manager José Luis Mendilibar.

LLL Prediction - Draw

Sporting (18th) vs Málaga (8th)

With Sporting and Málaga still having plenty to play for, talk in Spain is set to turn to the sensitive subject of payments being made by clubs ‘A’ to clubs ‘B’ with nowt going on so they try that little bit harder against rival clubs ‘C’.

Actually, when La Liga Loca says it is a sensitive subject, the blog is unnecessarily tippy-toeing on egg shells thanks to comments from Osasuna president Patxi Isco this week.

“It’s hypocritical of me to say that these kinds of bonuses don’t exist when everyone knows they do,” scoffed the Pamplonan bigwig, who also admits that he would readily offer them to opposition clubs if it were to help out Osasuna.

The blog would like to note that it is purely coincidental that this discussion on underhand payments to other teams appears in the Málaga section of this weekend’s predictions.  

LLL Prediction - Home win

Espanyol (14th) vs Athletic (11th)

Despite being big old LOSERS having been totally tonked by Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final, Athletic were welcomed back to Bilbao as heroes by thousands of fans with little to do the next day, it would appear.

“Perhaps they are the best supporters in the world,” cooed Jésus Hernandez in local paper, El Correo.

The celebrations are set to continue into Friday with local politicians looking to cash in on Athletic’s final appearance by throwing official receptions where the players can tell tall tales of going all the way to Valencia to win bugger all.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Betis (16th) vs Almería (9th)

La Liga Loca reckons that the Betis players simply cannot wait for this particular encounter.

Having faced death threats from the stands and received abuse at training, the Seville-based squad suffered eggs being thrown at their cars by supporters angry at last Saturday’s capitulation against a second-string Athletic side.

The club did not see the incident as a yoking matter and resorted to legging it out of the country and relocating their training base to the Algarve.

“The move had been planned for a while,” said the fooling no-one Juanito.

LLL Prediction - Draw

Mallorca (10th) vs Barcelona (1st)

Wow. Someone has got it in for Mallorca sporting director Nando Pons (stop giggling).

This week, Marca published club accounts detailing some hefty sums paid to the wallet-bulging Balearic boss for salaries, win bonuses, transfer deals and winning employee of the month four times.

Mallorca, which is some 35 million euro in debt and lost 13 million last year, coughed up three grand to Pons after draws with Osasuna, Athletic and Málaga - all part of the half a million euro earned by the Mallorcan millionaire between July 1 and December 31, say Marca.

LLL Prediction - Away win

Atlético Madrid (5th) vs Valencia (4th)

One of the sneakiest fouls of the season took place in the Vicente Calderón last week, when Atleti full-back Luis Perea whacked an elbow into the face of Espanyol defender Chica, leaving him dazed and confused, battered and bruised.

And also very, very angry.

“I can forgive, but not forget,” growled Chica. “But I will play for a long time and we will meet again,” promised the fallen full-back.

LLL Prediction - Home win

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