The Cowardly Weekend Predictions - Round 15

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Valencia (3rd) vs Espanyol (18th)

It would seem that the players and staff at the Mestalla are going to have their stockings filled by Santa this Christmas after all. Only the ones who have been good, mind. Which leaves about two.

Having had their bank’s computer say ‘no’ to a request for a 100 million euro loan to keep the club going until the New Year, Valencia’s bigwigs have managed to get their hands on 40 million euro from financial organisations, foreign investment groups and future sponsorship deals.

And this has temporarily taken the pressure of the need to flog the likes of Silva and Villa with, club president, Vicente Soriano asserting on Tuesday that “we won’t accept any offer for our stars.” But it was a promise that had been downgraded a day later to “I’m not a fortune teller,” when asked about what would happen in the winter transfer window.

There’s still no news on the sale of the old Mestalla ground with a not-telling Soriano declaring that “soon, you will all know” the names of those looking to bulldoze Valencia’s soon to be ex-home, before “mwah, mwah, ha-ing” back to his lair.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Barcelona (1st) vs Real Madrid (5th)

At the beginning of the week, it appeared as if the latest instalment of this horribly over-hyped encounter was going to be a 15 goal rollicking for Real Madrid, with Bernd Schuster completely disappearing inside his anorak, never to be seen again.

But a reported seven million euro sacking for the moustachioed maestro, the rapid introduction of Juande Ramos and a half-decent performance against Zenit suggests that Barcelona’s goal tally may well be staying in single figures.

That’s the prediction of, Spain’s socialist prime minister, José Luis Zapatero who lost what few votes he ever had at the Bernabeu by suggesting that Saturday would see a 5-1 win for his favourite Catalan club.

And the Mr Bean-alike big boss of Spain may not be far off if Michel Salgado plays at left back on Saturday night, something the over-the-hill full-back is likely to do. “I’d rather be booed and jeered than be called a wimp,” growled Salgado on the challenges ahead.

LLL Prediction - Home win


Getafe (10th) vs Mallorca (17th)

After a month of sexy encounters with the likes of Barcelona and Villarreal, it’s back to life, back to reality for Getafe with a less than mesmerising match that’s the footballing equivalent of a wet weekend in Albacete.

The only slight tingle stirring in the loins ahead of the game is that a bad result for the visitors could see the End of Days for poor old Gregorio Manzano.

After three years on the Balearic bench - a lifetime in La Liga - it’s quite likely that the Mallorca boss will be given the boot by his bosses after a week of furtive meetings at the Ono Estadi.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Recreativo (19th) vs Osasuna (20th)

The sore-headed La Liga Loca’s calendar says it’s Friday, so it must be time for more plucky fist-pumping pronouncements from Pamplona.

Taking a starring role in this week’s edition it’s Javad Nekounam who is still feeling perky and positive despite his Osasuna side throwing away a three goal lead last Sunday.

“Every player is fighting and working for the team,” declared the midfielder. “If we keep on working, then we’ll move forward,” boasted brave Hector Font before being shown the league table - a table that sees them on just nine points.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Valladolid (8th) vs Deportivo (7th)

It seems that some jammy Premier League club could be enjoying the happy-go-lucky Miguel Angel Lotina on their bench some time in the near future.

Marca report in their gossip column - technically, the entire paper is a gossip column - that the Lord of Gloom is taking English lessons and perhaps fancies following in the footsteps of Juande Ramos by having a multi-million pound pay off after an unsuccessful spell in the nutty world of English footie.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Málaga (11th) vs Numancia (15th)

It has been a fairly quiet week in the match-fixing front with the Athletic vs Levante case having been passed on to the Spanish Old Bill by the league’s competition committee.

But this lull in the mudslinging may be momentary with, Real Sociedad president, Iñaki Badiola - the gentlemen who claims that Málaga have been up to no good - claiming that he has plenty more whistles to blow.

“What’s come out so far is just 10 percent of what there is,” revealed Badiola.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Almería (14th) vs Racing (13th)

Having been the true toast of the town just a few short months ago, Almería have joined Mallorca as the latest clubs in crisis. With just one win in nine, Gonzalo Arconada is finding that following in Unai Emery’s rather fantastic footsteps is not easy.

But for the moment, club president, Alfonso Garcia is standing behind his man.

“This team has shown that they know how to play, as they did against Madrid, Valencia and Athletic,” trumpeted Garcia. “Arconada hasn’t made them forget how to play.”

LLL Prediction - Home win

Athletic (16th) vs Sporting (12th)

With the economic crisis worsening and a long hard winter to face, it’s time to head to Sweden with to discover that the big news of the week in Abba-land is the shocking tale of an exploding mobile phone.

“A mobile telephone exploded in the hand of a Swedish student in the middle of class on Monday, spreading thick smoke throughout the classroom.

15-year-old Mats Chamontree was fiddling with his mobile phone’s battery compartment during lessons at the Sjöpark school in Gällivare in northern Sweden when he heard a cracking hiss emanating from the phone," reports the Norrländska Socialdemokraten newspaper.

"Seconds later, the battery exploded, although Chamontree managed to throw the telephone away before it blew up.

The flaming phone left burn marks on the classroom floor, and the smoke was so thick and pungent that the room was evacuated and couldn’t be used again for the rest of the day.”

LLL Prediction - Home win

Sevilla (4th) vs Villarreal (2nd)

Friday’s edition of AS has a photo a group of bothered and bewildered footballers, confused and unnerved by their surroundings. It was the Sevilla squad. On public transport, no less.

Despite the club boasting a profit of 2.5 million euro, the club isn’t forcing it’s Porche-owning prima donnas to slum it with the proles as they go about the day, instead the team were bundled into a metro car to promote the opening of the city’s new underground system.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Atlético (6th) vs Betis (9th)

If all goes to plan, the death sentence for the Vicente Calderón will be signed on Friday, with much flourish and finesse in the Spanish capital.

After decades of tedious talks, a deal has been made that will see the rojiblancos finally leaving their roofless rubbish stadium and moving to the rather bleak east side of the city to the Peineta athletics track.

The process of tarting up the weedy wasteland will begin in the summer of 2009, with Maniche likely to be put to some use, for once, by being handed a trowel.

And if the schedule is kept - which it probably won’t be - then whoever is in charge of Atleti in two years time will be sitting on a brand new bench in a sparkly new home.

LLL Prediction - Home win

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