The Celebration-Busting Weekend Predictions - Round 3

SATURDAY

Deportivo vs Espanyol

The crusty old codgers running la Liga will need their respirators switched to maximum after a blistering week of work.

Not only did the foggy-brained fogies set the times and dates for the next two - yes two! - rounds of matches, but they also decided where Queen Lafita will (probably) be playing for the next few seasons.

And that place is Zaragoza, who won the ownership case sparked off by the activation of a buy-back clause from Deportivo 10 minutes before the close of Spain’s transfer window.

But Depor are set to fight the PowersThat Be, mind, with club president Augusto Lendoiro burping that “our understanding is that Zaragoza have not made the payment that is stipulated.”

And that means that Queen Lafita is still on the sidelines but can now train with his (probable) Zaragoza team-mates.

LLL Prediction - Home win (1-0)

Mallorca vs Tenerife

Distance in miles of round trip for Tenerife players this weekend - 2,720.

Number of points being picked up - Zero.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Osasuna vs Sevilla

Poor Manolo Jiménez must dread Champions League matches. The extra round of games gives local hacks more opportunity to doubt his worthiness to run Sevilla, once again.

Despite a handy 4-1 victory over Zaragoza on Saturday - and the whole matter of guiding his team to third last season - Juande Ramos’ former No.2 had to be bailed out, once again, by his club president from the pee-taking press.

“If the bosses weren’t convinced that Jiménez wasn’t capable of achieving success then we wouldn’t have put him in charge of the side,” sighed José Maria del Nido, for the umpteenth time in the last two years

And Del Nido will be reading from the same script in a few days time if Sevilla fail to grab all three points at Osasuna, despite their midweek Champions League victory over, er... Uuuuhhh... Unniii... Uoooohhhn...

LLL Prediction - Away win

Málaga vs Racing Santander

Number of months since publication of a taped conversation of former Tenerife player, Jesuli, suggesting Málaga involvement in match-fixing antics - 10.

Action taken by Spanish football authorities since - 0.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Barcelona vs Atlético Madrid

The role of club president in la Liga attracts different kinds of people for differing reasons.

For Enrique Cerezo at Atlético it was a chance to make a quick buck and perfect that centre parting - or so say supporter opposition groups.

Florentino Pérez just wants to be loved and possibly pick up a few construction projects on the side, while the multi-chinned Augusto Lendoiro at Deportivo is merely in it for the pie.

But it’s a very different kettle of kittens for Joan ‘Joan’ Laporta at Barcelona.

The King of Catalunya wants to use his current presidency to launch a political career once his current term expires next summer.

But this isn’t the blog relaying this oft-repeated retort - it’s the Barcelona press.

In the bravest of editorials, considering the sheer volume of hi-tech weaponry at Laporta’s disposal, Mundo Deportivo’s Miguel Rico has slammed Laporta's recent appearance at a Catalan independence rally and constant comments in the press regarding his breakaway desires.

“Joan Laporta has no right as Barcelona president to use the club as his political platform,” writes Rico.

“Barça belongs to its members and he should respect every one of them and their opinions. It’s time for him to chose - Barcelona or politics.”

La Liga Loca suspects that there may be an editorial opening in the MD offices sometime soon.

LLL Prediction - Home win

SUNDAY

Athletic Bilbao vs Villarreal

So far this season, Villarreal have been desperately unlucky not to have totally twonked their two league opponents.

Especially in the case of Mallorca last weekend, when a torrential downpour saved Balearic skins from a proper hide-tanning.

But the Yellow Submarine may once again not have rub of the tortoise on Sunday, as they take on an Athletic side that La Liga Loca has decided to call “determined” as opposed to "dirty" or "a bunch of hoofers."

LLL Prediction - Draw

Zaragoza vs Valladolid

Last weekend saw a fine flashback to the Days in Valladolid’s Yore. A great age where coach José Luis Mendilibar would be of a mind to position his defence on the halfway line, playing an offside trap.

The most famous example of the results was a 7-0 tonking by Real Madrid, but there was a revival of these terrific tactics in last Sunday’s 2-4 defeat by a fast-breaking Valencia.

“We need to be more compact and balanced,” noted the observant Valladolid coach.

Mendilibar was also upset by boos aimed at Javier Baraja, a player who has apparently been in action for a very long time, indeed, but remains very much unloved by the Pucela locals.

“I don’t like it when they boo their own player at home, especially when it’s someone who has been here for a thousand years.”

LLL Prediction - Home win

Almería vs Getafe

As the blog noted earlier, poor Tenerife have a fair distance to travel this weekend for their island clash with Mallorca.

But they aren't the only footballers with distance issues on their minds.

Since Miguel Torres was booted out of the Bernabeu and moved on to Getafe, the full-back has had trouble participating in his bestest ever hobby - breaking into other people’s goal celebrations.

Spain’s very own version of Rio Ferdinand was famous for being the one to give the first hug and pump the first fist at a Real Madrid goal even when he had absolutely nothing to do with it.

But that's something that’s a lot harder to do now he's at the Coliseum club.

However, the blog has calculated that a revival may be possible this weekend – if Torres pegs it from the Almería ground into a waiting private jet to be transferred via motorbike to the Bernabeu.

But only if his former team manage an injury-time effort in their clash with Xerez.

LLL Prediction - Away win

Real Madrid vs Xerez

Sunday evening sees the weirdest, wackiest, run-by-loons-and-goons football side ever seen in the Spanish top-flight taking on Xerez at the Santiago Bernabeu.

If La Liga Loca were Football Focus on FA Cup Third Round weekend, the blog would be full of tales of plucky postmen and potters facing the bloated millionaires of Madrid in a true minnows-against-millionaires clash.

But it isn’t and besides, no one apart from footballers currently have jobs in Spain.

And even those playing for Xerez probably earn more in a year than the La Liga Loca will see in its entire pitiful lifetime.

Nevertheless, there is a hefty difference between this season’s 8.5m Euros budget for Xerez to the host’s whopping warchest of some 440m.

Not that this has stopped Xerez sporting director Miguel Angel Rondán pointing out the old cliché that on Sunday, “there are no supermen, it will be 11 men against 11.”

Even so, if Madrid don’t win by 52 goals - the difference in size between the two budgets - then Florentino Pérez can logically consider his summer expenditure to have been an enormous waste of money.

LLL Prediction - Home win

(And you can see how Madrid fare in this almighty challenge laid down by the blog with a live Bernabeu Twitter on Sunday 20th from 18.45 CET.)

Valencia vs Sporting

Unai Emery showed just how seriously he was taking the prestigious Europa League with 11 changes to his starting line up from last weekend.

Heck, even Zigic got a game.

But that left Valencia as the only Spanish side in the competition without a win on Thursday night, with both Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao picking up victories against some other sides that La Liga Loca can't be bothered looking up.

LLL Prediction - Home win


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