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Deportivo in yet more strife as local restaurant calls in unpaid €100,000 tab

FourFourTwo's Spanish expert Tim Stannard looks ahead to the weekend's La Liga action...

Saturday

Celta Vigo (17th) v Real Sociedad (9th) - 16.00
La Liga Loca caught Nihat Kahveci and Darko Kovacevic speaking on radio station Cadena Ser this week, chatting wistfully about the days of yore when the pair lead the line for Real Sociedad and came within a catâÂÂs fur ball of winning La Liga ten years ago. Those kind of crazy days when either Barcelona or Real Madrid had actual, breathing challengers for the title have been harder to come by of late.
In fact, the league has become as uncompetitive as the Daily MailâÂÂs idea of a leftie schoolâÂÂs sports day, so much so that a visit to the town hall to wave at the gathered adoring masses below are afforded to teams who beat one of the Primera pair in a single game. For this reason, the Real Sociedad squad were invited the festivities for San Sebastian Day on Monday, and by the goats of Zeus, it actually looked like good fun. Especially if you like drums.
LLL Prediction - Draw

Levante (8th) v Real Valladolid (10th) - 18.00
Valladolid, like Rayo and every other club that gets saddled with the kick-off time in question, donâÂÂt like Mondays. Or Fridays. Although the sideâÂÂs upcoming clash falls on a Saturday, the following weekâÂÂs fixture against Athletic Bilbao has been scheduled for a Friday, causing a serious impact to the clubâÂÂs finances according to Valladolid president, Carlos Suárez.
The Valladolid head cites the example of a round nine game against Real Sociedad, which took place on Monday October 29th. âÂÂWe estimated between 2,500 and 3,000 coming down from San Sebastian and it the end 200 came,â said Suárez blaming the scheduling of the fixture on a work day. âÂÂWe expected â¬75,000 income, it was â¬5,500 and we lost â¬69,500. Bilbao is even nearer, so itâÂÂs even more money.âÂÂ
LLL Prediction - Home win  

Zaragoza (13th) v Espanyol (15th) - 20.00
Mauricio Pochettino was back in Barcelona this week, but on what Perico noses would describe as the stinky side of town, with the former Espanyol boss taking his new Southampton charges to train at BarçaâÂÂs facilities. Some of his players even took time out to visit the Camp Nou museum for a nosey about, too.
Meanwhile, current boss, Javier Aguirre, continues to make great strides at the club which is now moving towards mid-table. However, the journey is not a picturesque one, even according the teamâÂÂs own players. HereâÂÂs Joan Capdevila admitting that âÂÂour football isnâÂÂt pretty but it works. âÂÂAt the end you donâÂÂt remember if youâÂÂve had a great match or not, simply whether we picked up more points,â continued the fullback.
LLL Prediction - Away win

Deportivo (20th) v Valencia (7th) - 22.00
YouâÂÂd have thought when the restaurant tab had crept up to â¬10,000 and remained unpaid that the owners might have thought something was amiss at Deportivo. That bill eventually hit â¬106,000, leaving short-changed eaterie El Manjar as just one of many creditors that form part of the group owed a total of â¬93m by the football club that has just gone into administration. Others probably waiting in vain for whatâÂÂs theirs include Alberto Luque - who is still â¬2m out of pocket despite leaving in 2005. Indeed, a total of â¬9.7m is owed to current or former players. Then thereâÂÂs the â¬40m due to the tax department, â¬34m to banks....
LLL Prediction - Draw

Sunday

Real Madrid (3rd) v Getafe (11th) - 12.00
When families fight, itâÂÂs always a bit nasty - but it's still thoroughly entertaining when it takes place somewhere public, like a pizza house. Real Madrid did the big club equivalent of that, in what is now fundamentally a squabble between two parties calling each other big fibbers. And long may it continue. While FridayâÂÂs Marca responds to Florentino Pérez's rebuttal of their story suggesting players had threatened to leave the club over the summer if José Mourinho remains, by sniffing that they are not lying, AS have kept their eye on the real ball by reminding everyone that Iker Casillas is set to be out for the next two months. Which potentially means Antonio Adán in goal for matches against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey and la Liga and the small matter of a double header against Manchester United. Oh dear.
LLL Prediction - Home win 

Rayo Vallecano  v Betis - 17.00
A decent cup run for Betis ended on Thursday with a 3-1 aggregate defeat to Atlético Madrid, but seeing as the club are genuine contenders for the Champions League places, the knock-out may not necessarily be a bad thing. Rayo have also got Europe on their minds, or at least bagging 42 points as soon as possible so the side can knock off early for the season.
Leo Baptistao may return after missing last weekâÂÂs defeat at Granada, and thereâÂÂs still talk in the town that a move to Atlético Madrid is imminent for the striker, especially after the Brazilian was spotted at the Calderón for a recent clash between the Rojiblancos and Zaragoza.
âÂÂI prefer that heâÂÂs out seeing a match than stuck somewhere else or at home playing on his console,â said Rayo Sporting Director, Felipe Miñambres, claiming that the footballer was only at the stadium at the invitation of friend and Atlético player, Diego Costa, with no other motive involved. âÂÂWhat is certain is that Leo will keep playing with us until the end of the campaign.âÂÂ
LLL Prediction - Away win


Spot the difference. Okay, don't bother...

Barcelona (1st)  v Osasuna (18th) - 19.00
Yes, Barcelona went through to the semi-finals of the cup in a 6-4 aggregate thriller against Málaga, but the big story is that LLL finally worked out who stand-in Barça boss Jordi Roura (above) resembles, thanks to the blog's wonderful Twitter followers. The highlights of the responses are - an extra playing a French peasant in a film, an Ent from Lord of the Rings, Fred Flintstone, Bergerac, Gerard Depardieu, Alfred Molina, Jay Leno and Griff Rhys Jones. Good work.
LLL Prediction - Home win

Athletic Bilbao (14th) v Atlético Madrid (2nd) - 21.00
Just as one soap opera ends at Athletic, with this week's announcement that Fernando Llorente will be joining Juventus next summer, others are only just beginning, the best being that Iker Muniain will be joining Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich in the summer. However, for that to happen, the forward is going to have to buck his football ideas up a little bit with the wee nipper admitting that âÂÂfor the past few months, IâÂÂve not felt good physically or mentally, but IâÂÂm beginning to feel better and I hope to keep going.âÂÂ
With stories over little Iker, Llorente and the renovation of the contract of Fernando AmorebietaâÂÂs thereâÂÂs not been too much talk about footie in Bilbao of late, although thatâÂÂs not a bad thing really considering how pants the team has been. âÂÂIt would be much nicer to talk about football and SundayâÂÂs match,â admitted Ibai Gómez.
LLL Prediction - Home win

Mallorca (19th) v Málaga (5th) - 21.00
Mallorca manager Joaquín Caparrós is still hanging on in there, despite his teamâÂÂs defeat at Espanyol last weekend plonking them right in the relegation zone. ItâÂÂs no wonder defender Emilio Nsue has hit the âÂÂfinalâ button by declaring that SundayâÂÂs game against visiting Málaga is all or nothing for the Balearic bottom-strugglers. At least until the next fixture comes along, anyway. âÂÂWe need to be strong at home in the second half of the season and win nearly all our games here,â opined Nsue, revealing that âÂÂthe game against Málaga is a final for us.âÂÂ
LLL Prediction - Home win

Monday

Sevilla (12th) v Granada (16th) - 21.00
Granada are renowned wheeler-dealers, so a bit of transfer window movement is expected from the Andalusian club to shake up what has been a bit of a lifeless market in a largely destitute la Liga. The clubâÂÂs president, Quique Pina, revealed that he has been trying to bring in former Barça forward man, Nolito, from Benfica but that the Portuguese team wanted a footballer in return, thought to be Guiherme Siqueira. Pina also mentioned that a â¬4.5m bid from Besiktas had been turned down for mega-flop forward Youssef El-Arabi, who cost â¬5m over the summer but has scored just four league goals. What do you mean you stopped reading at the word âÂÂGranadaâÂÂ?
LLL Prediction - Home win