The disrespected, greedy guts weekend Primera Predictions

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Atlético Madrid (8th) v Valencia (4th)

Predicting Quique Sánchez Flores’ demise at Atleti has been a tricky old business for the past few months - every time it seems that the trap door is about to open on his Rojiblanco tenure, the lever gets jammed. Part of that cog-clogging confusion is down to the different approaches the club’s two owners have over Quique. 

As LLL gossiped on Wednesday, Enrique Cerezo would like to stick with the Eye-liner-wearing One until the end of the season, whilst Miguel Angel Gil hinted rather darkly in an interview with AS that he would like to see the back of the club’s latest under-fire coach.

Rumours and scurrilous stories have already begun in the press, with Sevilla’s Gregorio Manzano being seen as the favourite to take over at the Vicente Calderón - a bench he occupied for a season in 2003 - if Quique’s football pie goes all crusty against Valencia on Saturday.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Sporting (13th) v Barcelona (1st)

If Barcelona are going to bring in Cesc Fabregas over the summer - and there are some doubts over that with rumblings suggesting that cantera drone 3875984, Thiago Alcántara, will be the new Cesc - then it seems that Barça are going to have to sell before they can buy.

Busy stamping price tags onto Bojan’s forehead this week was Barcelona’s financial VP, Javier Faus, who helpfully revealed to all selling clubs precisely how much money there was in the coffers of Pep’s Dream Boys to splurge on footballers in the close season.

That figure is around €40m-€50m says Faus, who revealed that it probably wouldn’t be enough to lure the Ipswich-insulting, fourth-official baiting midfielder to the Catalan capital considering Arsenal turned down a €40m bid last summer.

Faus also admitted that the megabuck signing of Fernando Torres by Chelsea certainly won’t help any potential move either. “It will have a bearing on Arsenal’s valuation of their player. Another thing is the player’s wages to come and any agreements or promises he may have.”

LLL Prediction - Away win

Racing Santander (16th) v Sevilla (7th)

A familiar face in the form of Marcelino eased himself onto the squeaky managerial bench in el Sardinero after the sacking of Miguel Angel Portugal on Monday. Racing’s new boss lead the club to its best ever season - a sixth place finish in 2008 - before taking the curious decision to leave Santander to manage at second division Real Zaragoza before being sacked within months of taking the madcap outfit back into la Primera.

But Marcelino has returned as a hero and will thus end all the stories which linked him with all the other four Primera clubs who ditched their bosses this year, along with those who almost did.

One of those sides was Sporting with Manuel Preciado very close to the sack indeed after a huge wobble in January. Fortunately the team managed to pick up enough points to prevent Preciado’s firing and help give some handy relief to Marcelino who was expected to be his successor.

“When I’m not working, I live in Gijón, my homeland and I was afraid that if the situation could not be saved people would then say ‘this is Marcelino, he took us down to the second,” chuckled Racing’s new ruler.

LLL Prediction - Home win


Hércules (15th) v Real Zaragoza (12th)

There’s more angry folk in Alicante this week - and for once Royston Drenthe isn't among them. Former Real Madrid striker, Javier Portillo, has had a public hissy fit over the amount of playing time he has been afforded for Hércules this season.

Portillo has been given just two starts and 11 substitute appearances in the current campaign, but feels that his remarkable record of 20 goals in seven-and-half-seasons in la Primera makes him worthy of equal treatment of both Nelson Valdez and David Trezeguet - both of whom have banged in at least as many top-flight goals in six months as Portillo has managed in his entire career.

“From the first day I came to today, I have behaved phenomenally and I think I deserve a bit of respect,” huffed Portillo, who joined the rest of the unhappy campers at the east coast club.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Málaga (20th) v Getafe (9th)

It was terribly bad news for Sergio Asenjo, this week, who discovered that he has knacked the cruciate ligament in his knee for the second time in a year and is set to be out for the next eight months.

The on loan Atleti keeper first crocked his cruciate last May had only just started his comeback but Asenjo twisted his knee awkwardly in last weekend’s draw against Sevilla reigniting the same injury.

LLL normally poo-poos ‘Animo’ t-shirts sported by team-mates who may have hurt their tootsies, but this time the blog will let it pass should it happen on Sunday.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Levante (18th) v Almería (19th)

More cheering news from Levante, with Luis García continuing his mission to save the side from relegation through motivational videos and team building exercises. So far, the Levante boss has been able to secure back to back wins against Getafe and Villarreal using techniques that show his players are “brothers” rather than team-mates

The most recent victory against Villarreal was achieved by showing the playing squad images of the immensely inspirational Team Hoyt - a father, Dick, who pushes his mentally-handicapped son, Rick, in his wheelchair during marathons and triathlons.

LLL Prediction - Home win (of course)

Real Sociedad (10th) v Osasuna (14th)

Modest man of the week award goes to la Real’s Xabi Prieto who, despite being the side’s top scorer and assist maker, claims that his “absence won’t be noticed” due to suspension against Osasuna on Sunday. But that perhaps says more about the quality of the opposition than Prieto’s own abilities.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Deportivo (17th) v Villarreal (3rd)

Gadzooks! Potential sacking alert and it’s coming at relegation-threatened Deportivo (how good it feels to write those words!), who have picked up just the one win in eight to leave the Galician side just one place and a single point above the drop zone.

All this leaves the job of Miguel Angel Lotina hanging rather precariously in the balance. And the Lord of Doom knows it too. “If the president tells me that it’s over, I’ll go back to where I came from, satisfied with what I achieved here. If they believe this is what’s needed to solve the problems and it’s for the good of the club, I’ll understand,” gloomed Lotina.

LLL Prediction - Away win

Espanyol (6th) v Real Madrid (2nd)

LLL has had the chance to interview Pepe, and he’s a lovely small-faced fella despite the defender’s occasional on-pitch psychopathic tendencies. However, Marca appears to have the biggest of grudges against the pleasant-natured Portuguese stopper and have been running a campaign than suggests Pepe is a greedy guts.

Not for the first time, the paper reports that the Madrid man is refusing to accept a pay increase of €2m a year from the current level of €1.5m in contract extension talks. Marca even went so far as to make up a whole conversation between Florentino Pérez and poor Pepe with the Madrid president ‘saying’ that the Ramón Calderón signing was injury-prone, a bit nuts and not worth any more in any deal to extend his current contract past 2012.  

The paper was all with the imagination again, on Thursday, with Marca claiming that Sergio Ramos would be moved into the centre of defence should Pepe ponce off with Florentino ‘praising’ Ramos as ‘the new Hierro’. The Andalusian certainly matches the former centre back for his iffy disciplinary record. 

If all this nonsense turns out to be true then there is going to be a collision course with José Mourinho who is quite the fan of his returning from injury defender. “The team is at its best with Pepe,” claimed The Special One, setting up a the potential for a rift over the club president making decisions on the playing squad rather than the coach. Quite the rarity at Real Madrid.

LLL Prediction - Draw (oh yes)


Mallorca (11th) v Athletic Bilbao (5th)

Although things are going rather well for Athletic boss, Joaquín Caparrós, with his side on the brink of a tilt for the Champions League places, the same cannot be said for Gregorio Manzano, the coach currently at a club that ‘Jokin’ used to manage.

With players grumbling about Manzano’s odd managerial ways, stories have spread in the Spanish press, this week, that Caparrós would be heading back to the city he was born in and to the side he coached between 2000 and 2005.

However, all this transfer talk is tosh it seems with Caparrós claiming that “I’m still living in Bilbao. My contract says I have two more years. I’m happy, content, excited, we are in fifth. Every day I can see the side getting better.”

That’s certainly something that can’t be said for Sevilla at the moment...

LLL Prediction - Away win