The Betis-Missing Weekend Predictions - Round 20

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Espanyol (14th) vs Athletic (8th)

Once his chores are done of an evening, his homework completed and piano practice endured, little Iker Muniain is allowed a little downtime before being packed off to bed at eight every night.

And rather than spending what little leisure time he possesses on harassing grannies, happy-slapping and being rude to the Plod - or whatever youngsters like to get up to these days - the Athletic striker is fond of winding down by throwing darts at cut-outs of Sergio Canales' big, stupid face.

“I was supposed to be the Next, Next, Next Big Thing, this season!” squeaks the 17-year-old has-been. “I was the new Bojan!”

Despite having had the brightest of starts to the season for the Basque club with praise aplenty, Muniain’s star has waned a little of late having been handed just a smattering of substitute appearances in recent months for Athletic.

Even worse for ickle Iker was having to turn out for the club’s second team this week in a Basque derby down in the unmentionable third tier of Spanish football - a derby which his side ended up losing.

LLL Prediction - Draw

Sporting (10th) vs Barcelona (1st)

Barcelona have just proved once and for all that the world of football finance is nuts. Really nuts.

In a 2009 when it was simply not possible to win anything more and at a club whose global profile and fan base is fairly high, Barcelona made the enormous profit of... (puts Dr Evil finger to mouth) ...€8 million!

A fair amount of their potential profits were taken up by their lack of shirt sponsorship - something their fans never like to talk about, of course - plus the €50m paid in bonuses and the €69.5m forked out for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Oh, and the €14m spooned in Palmerias’ direction for striker Keirrison – a footballer who went on loan to Benfica last summer but is according to AS on the brink of being returned early on the grounds that the Brazilian is a duffer having had just one start for his side this season - as The Portugeezer has explained.

LLL Prediction - Away win

Deportivo (5th) vs Real Madrid (2nd)

The window for entries for the 73rd edition of the blog’s Sycophant of the Year award has only just been eased open with a screwdriver.

But, incredibly, La Liga Loca suspects that the winner of this year’s droolfest has already made themselves known to the world.

Making the biggest of marks in 2010, with more furious sucking than a galaxy hoover, is Marca TV presenter and beauty school dropout Leticia Sabater, with her ode to the all round yumminess of Florentino Pérez - and how the impending seven-point lead for Barcelona at the top of the table is definitely, definitely, definitely not the fault of His Royal Perfectness.

“Florentino can only be congratulated for the promises he has fulfilled,” gushes lovestruck Leticia in the editorial pages of Tuesday’s edition.

“He is so kind, so caring towards the fans, has promoted his star players well and kept confidence in the coach,” she continues, having either got a room or being in the process of procuring one.

However, the fluffy-bunny act turns all feisty when she moves onto the subject of Manuel Pellegrini, a coach she calls “a disgrace.”

“Madrid should have a lead of 10 points over Barcelona,” opines Leticia.

So, please try to remember the world according to Marca, all you Madrid fans. Florentino gooooood. Pellegrini baaaaaad.

LLL Prediction - Draw


Tenerife (18th) vs Zaragoza (19th)

One team desperately trying to disprove the centuries-old notion that winter signings never work is Zaragoza.

The bottom-dwelling Aragonese side have everything crossed in the hope that they have landed themselves six Higuaíns in the winter window and not six Fauberts.

Six is the number of players that have so far been lured to la Romareda in January for a fun five months in la Primera before being packed off to the second division for the rest of their miserable days.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Xerez (20th) vs Mallorca (4th)

There’s a huge number of ways of having a pop at bottom-of-the-table Xerez - their inability to score goals, defend, pass, plan properly, sign decent players, pay bills, hire managers with post-1978 haircuts...

But you certainly can’t fault their plucky optimism in the face of all reason and logic.

Despite managing just a single, solitary victory all season and being nine points from safety, club captain Emilio Viqueira believes that there is still fight in the old Xerez dog left in the manner of Comical Ali during the first Iraq war.

“We must never lose our passion,” chirped the midfielder, who claims that Xerez will go into the final matches of the campaign with options to stay up and that it was a fine time to play Mallorca - before being told of their league position, that is.

“They’re where in the table?” said an incredulous Viqueira.

“Really? Oh. In that case we’re f***ed, then.”

LLL Prediction - Away win

Villarreal (9th) vs Osasuna (12th)

Disastrous starts, chances missed, leads blown.

La Liga Loca is now convinced that come the end of the season, the Villarreal players will be unmasked caretaker / Scooby Doo style to discover that they have been Atlético Madrid all along.

Which begs the question, who have Atlético Madrid really been all year? Betis?

LLL Prediction - Home win

Valladolid (17th) vs Almería (15th)

La Liga Loca never thought it would write this, but it desperately misses Betis. So, so much.

And that it is praying to Baby Jesus every night that one of these two tedious nonentities facing each other on Sunday drop out of the top flight to be replaced by the Seville side.

This week, Betis took what they thought to be a big step forward in fulfilling the blog’s innermost desires by rewarding the manager who stepped down a division to lead them, Antonio Tapia, by sacking him.

Despite being in seventh and just four points from a play-off spot, Darth de Lopera has dispensed with the coaching services of the former Málaga man and replaced him with la Liga’s serial sack merchant, Víctor Fernández.

“You can’t say no to Betis,” said the former Zaragoza, Tenerife, Celta, Betis, Porto and Zaragoza boss, telling the truth on so many levels.

“I accepted without thinking about the consequences,” claimed Fernández, denying that his new contract did not require his or anyone else’s blood.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Getafe (7th) vs Racing (13th)

Technically speaking, Getafe president Angel Torres is a fairly smart cookie.

Despite the season being only halfway through, the Coliseum bigwig has overseen a side that sits in seventh with just four wins needed to secure safety, as well as managing their third cup semi-final in four years after their aggregate win over Mallorca.

But Torres is permanently cursed with the confused look of a 10-pints-to-the-wind drunkard trying to work out the implications of the clocks going back.

And it looks like he may have had one of his less brilliant moments this week, deciding to ensure a full house for Thursday’s crucial second-leg clash with Mallorca by charging Getafe’s season ticket holders another €20 for a game that they have already paid for.

The result was a crowd of just 1,500 hardy souls and more empty seats than the launch of Deportivo’s season highlights DVD.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Atlético Madrid (11th) vs Málaga (16th)

Once again, the Spanish football press have proved that they really do have the memories of goldfish when it comes to the world of Atlético Madrid.

Over the past few months, the papers have been caught in an insane cycle that greets every win with “Atlético are back!” and every defeat as a disaster.

The Rojiblancos are currently having more dramatic ups and downs than a child sharing a bouncy castle with Maniche.

Their latest high point that allows the club to “dream again,” according to AS, is a narrow 1-0 win over Celta Vigo to squeeze into the Copa del Rey semis where they’ll surely be thrashed over two legs by Racing.

The question now is whether this will be followed by a big old thud and a defeat against Málaga on Sunday evening.

La Liga Loca will be at the Vicente Calderón to find out from 18.45 and you can read the live Tweetage at

LLL Prediction - Home win

Sevilla (6th) vs Valencia (3rd)

La Liga Loca is going to have enormous bruises on its forehead once again, with the “is David Villa leaving in the summer?t” desk-headbutting stories starting up for what feels like the 15th year in a row.

Having admitted a few months ago that he is more than open to the concept of life in England with its soon-to-be-launched police spy-drones, Villa has now switched his story to say that he is quite content at Mestalla after all.

“Everyone can relax because I am happy at Valencia and prove this every day.”

Thud. Thud. Thud.

LLL Prediction - Away win

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