The Big Season Preview - Part Four


So what do you do if you are some half-a-billion euros in debt, desperately struggling to service it and are on the brink of disappearing into a gaping chasm of doom?

Do you sell your most valuable assets? Or perhaps jam your fingers in your ears upto your brain, go âÂÂnah! nah! nah!â and hope the financial fairies magic the problems away.

The latter is the approach that those wacky funsters at Valencia appear to have plumped for.

Which is why they still have all their top players at the club - and one or two more such as the returning Nikola Zigic and Ever Banega - but no long term solution to their whopping economic crisis.

The Mestalla bosses have just taken on another multi-million euro loan to get the club through the next few months - something they did back in spring when they ran out of cash to pay wages - with the local council weighing in to make sure the club doesnâÂÂt go under.

As it stands, ValenciaâÂÂs squad is good enough for a top four finish - something manager, Unai Emery, is targeting - but there is no way in Hades of predicting what off-the-field funny business could derail the clubâÂÂs current campaign.

LLL Prediction - Champions League contenders or oblivion.


With Manchester United and Hull City legend Manucho set to score some 40 goals for his new club this season, it should be a path of daisies and delight for Valladolid over the next nine months.

But if, if, if the cocksure campaigner is being a little over ambitious with his target, then La Liga LocaâÂÂs crystal ball is all with the foggy when it tries to gaze into ValladolidâÂÂs immediate future.

There has been a bewildering turnover of players in what was one of the oldest squads in la Liga with 14 footballers coming in and hundreds either leaving to bigger and better clubs - and Atlético - moving to lower league oblivion or simply retiring.

The big absentees in the upcoming campaign will be goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo, who has moved to the Vicente Calderón and flying right midfielder Pedro Leon, now at Getafe.

Coach, José Luis Mendilibar will be crossing his fingers that the experience of the incoming Héctor Font from Osasuna and the general handiness of the still-staying Néstor Canobbio and Jonathan Sesma will make it a quiet, happy season in Pucelaland.

LLL Prediction - Mid-table suburbia.


ThereâÂÂs a new salty seaman poking his one beady eye into the periscope of the Yellow Submarine ever since Manuel Pellegrini decided to ruin a perfectly nice life by joining Real Madrid.

And that lucky seafarer is Barnacle Ernesto Valverde, a stern, sturdy landlubber who once took Espanyol to the UEFA Cup final and guided Olympiakos to a Greek domestic double last season.

And in what is set to be a big snog of death to the east coast club, La Liga Loca is tipping Villarreal to actually win something this season - a feat the club has managed to avoid throughout its entire history.

The forward four of Giuseppe Rossi, Joseba Llorente, returning-from-Racing Jonathan Pereira and record signing Nilmar ooze goals, while the back four has been boosted by the highly-rated Iván Marcano.

What can possibly go wrong?

LLL Prediction - A top four finish and a Copa del Rey triumph.


Entering the arena in a smoke-emitting, backfiring clown car with collapsing doors, itâÂÂs Xerez - this seasonâÂÂs comedy club to replace Betis.

The Andalusian side started their campaign with a squad of just four, deserting board members and the manager that led them to last seasonâÂÂs Segunda division title deciding to quit.

But since then, Xerez have appointed former Osasuna hard-man Cuco Ziganda to the bench and have packed their ranks with loanees, cast-offs who those too bewildered to know where they are playing.

Xerez will be hoping to avoid the off-the-field shenanigans of the last campaign which saw three presidents and one arrest over a drive-by-shooting at a brothel, and will be basically trying not to embarrass themselves too much before returning the second division.

LLL Prediction - Relegation. Or sixth.


And itâÂÂs a welcome return to Zaragoza who managed to bounce back out of the second division at their first attempt.

MarcelinoâÂÂs gamble of leaving Racing a year ago to move to la Segunda and La Romareda may well have paid off as it seems as if Zaragoza could have a bright, shiny future ahead of them.

Of course, the big news from the club for English eyes is the art nouveau transfer of Jermaine Pennant from Liverpool, with hopes that the midfielder can rebuild a once promising career at his new home.

The other player hoping to fulfil his playing promise is Ikechuwku Uche who has moved from Getafe, a club he never really seemed to be happy at.

The other set of good news from the Zaragoza camp to cheer us all in these dark times of crisis is the return of Angel Arizmendi, possibly the funniest forward ever to have played the game.

LLL Prediction - A comfortable campaign back in the big time.

The âÂÂwhat-the-hell, someoneâÂÂs going to be upset' final table.

1. Barcelona
2. Real Madrid
3. Villarreal
4. Atlético
5. Sevilla
6. Valencia
7. Getafe (vamos!)
8. Athletic Bilbao
9. Espanyol
10. Zaragoza
11. Deportivo
12. Osasuna
13. Valladolid
14. Racing
15. Málaga
16. Tenerife
17. Sporting
18. Mallorca
19. Almería
20. Xerez

--------------------------------------------- More to read...

The Big Season Preview - Part One
The Big Season Preview - Part Two
The Big Season Preview - Part Three

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