The Dolphin-Fearing Weekend Predictions - Round 24

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Getafe (8th) vs Zaragoza (17th)

In one of the more surprising - some might say, utterly insane - moves of the season, the Spanish League has decided to hand the best supporters of the year award to Getafe fans - fans who barely bother to turn up for home games and constantly moan, boo and jeer when they do.

The trophy which - should be handed to the Sporting masses for the rest of eternity - will be presented to the 8,000 sullen supporters expected to turn up at the Coliseum for Saturday’s clash against Zaragoza.

Roberto Soldado - he of the 16 goals and 14 cards, this season - should be playing for the home side but a lot depends on the birth of his child which is due on Saturday.

“I hope it comes before Zaragoza,” admits the Getafe striker who, if he scores, is sure to either jam a football up his shirt, stroke his stomach or suck his thumb - three goal celebrations that La Liga Loca would make punishable by stoning along with pointing to the sky and the latest craze of wrist-kissing.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Tenerife (19th) vs Real Madrid (2nd)

The “Florentino Pérez signings good, Ramón Calderón signings bad” spinning in the Madridista press has continued in its own hearty way this week, with the very French Frédéric Hermel writing in AS that he doesn’t care what cold, hard statistics show, the very French Karim Benzema is a much better player than Gonzalo Higuaín.

This coincides with the news that contract negotiations for Madrid’s leading league scorer have been put on hold with the club reportedly offering one of the worst paid players on the team at the moment not a great deal more in his next deal, giving Florentino the chance to run the “greedy player” line to fans when the Argentine is flogged in the summer.

And in a claim that just makes you smile and feel warm and tingly, Friday’s edition of Marca is writing that the colossal dud, Kaká, is apparently “the most effective midfielder in la Liga.”

So now you know.

And in bonus basketball news, in last Sunday’s Copa del Rey final held in Bilbao between Real Madrid and Barcelona (a heady cocktail) a heavily-booed Madrid fan was performing rather poorly in a half-time competition.

On completing his shooting contest our hero had the chance to either slip quietly off the court or go out all guns blazing. Our hero chose the latter.

LLL Prediction - Away win

Barcelona (1st) vs Málaga (12th)

It’s been a fairly quiet time in Barcelona’s presidential election campaign, mainly down to the rather indifferent footballing phase the club is experiencing at the moment capturing the attention of both brain cells owned by most writers in the Catalan press.

A decent outside bet to win the contest is still former Joan Laporta best buddy and director Ferran Soriano, but the current Spanair big cheese has yet to announce his intentions to stand in the race, if he has any, that is.

Meanwhile, current VP and black sheep of Laporta’s board, Juame Ferrer has said that he will be “watching everything, up until the last day” during his duties at the club and accuses fellow suit and number two in Alfons Godall’s candidature, Xavier Sala-i-Martín, of verbal incontinence. Which is nice.

LLL Prediction - Home win


Xerez (20th) vs Espanyol (15th)

Were Espanyol good enough to qualify for European competition, then the club potentially wouldn’t be able to take part in it anyway.

AS are reporting that Bordeaux are looking for money owed to them for Albert Riera from his transfer to the Barcelona-based club in 2005.

In their attempts to get what the French club claim is theirs, Bordeaux have gone to FIFA which could see Espanyol losing their right to fight in the European party and even having league points deducted, claim the paper.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Villarreal (10th) vs Deportivo (5th)

And so ends a fine week indeed for Villarreal, having shipped six goals against Real Madrid on Sunday and followed up that dunderheaded defensive display by losing 4-1 to Wolfsburg - a result that sees them out of the Europa League in some style.

All this has got the blog a’thinkin’ - never a good prospect - that Villarreal keeper Diego López is not the right man for the number three job for Spain in this current climate and that Victor Valdés is.

Miguel Rico, writing in Mundo Deportivo, certainly seems to agree noting that since the Barça keeper’s last call-up in 2005, Valdés has won two Champions League titles and three domestic league trophies.

“In the 35 matches he has played in, this season, he has 16 clean sheets” writes Rico complaining that there is no-one else around whose “talents have been so ignored” to such an extent.

LLL Prediction - Draw

Valladolid (18th) vs Mallorca (6th)

Goals promised by Manucho in La Liga on his arrival at Valladolid last summer: between 30-40.

Goals scored by Manucho in La Liga for Valladolid in his 16 appearances and 859 minutes: two.

LLL Prediction - Draw

Sporting (11th) vs Osasuna (9th)

A very long, drawn-out winter in Sweden is now having to now starting to take its toll on some of its locals.

This week, brings us news of a gentleman whose attempts to pass the chilly night away with a jazz cigarette ended with a visit to the police. A voluntary one.

“A man walked into a police station in southern Sweden last week to complain about the quality of the hash that he had been sold, asking for a lump to be tested for traces of LSD.

The 26-year-old cannabis connoisseur declared to surprised police officers in the provincial Skåne town of Eslöv that he was not satisfied with the quality of his stash and would like to lodge a complaint, local newspaper Skånskan reports.

The man told officers that his ganja had not delivered the desired effect, leaving him feeling decidedly ill-at-ease and in the midst of a nightmare scenario where his girlfriend resembled a dolphin.”

LLL Prediction - Home win

Racing (16th) vs Almería (14th)

Really. Don’t. Care.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Sevilla (4th) vs Athletic (7th)

In what is a genuine shame, Athletic were roughly grabbed by the goolies on Thursday night and escorted from the Europa League disco after being pounded 4-0 by Anderlecht, in Brussels.

It’s a hefty blow for a team that was taking the cup very seriously indeed. However, like Iker Casillas and Sara Carbonero, Joaquín Caparrós says that he wants to get back in there at the earliest opportunity.

“It’s a great competition,” boomed the Athletic manager. “We’ve got to triple our efforts in la Liga to return to it as soon as possible.”

LLL Prediction - Home win

Atlético (13th) vs Valencia (3rd)

“Atlético is like a beautiful woman with crazy eyes. Therei’s always passion, high risk and an unpredictable end,” gasps Iñako Díaz-Guerra in Friday’s AS after the Madrid club’s last minute winner against Galatasaray in the Europa League.

The remarkable 2-1 victory in Turkey shows Atleti in their purest form - utterly unreliable - with the game coming just four days after the 1-0 defeat to Almería and 11 after the victory over Barcelona.

Despite José Antonio Reyes promising more consistency after the victory, Atlético are guaranteed to lose Sunday’s clash against Valencia - opponents also boosted by a successful European passage against Bruges, all-be-it in extra time.

A defeat would be a worrying one for the Vicente Calderón club, as Atlético currently have two points less at the same stage of the season than the side that was relegated in the 1999/2000 campaign.

LLL Prediction - Away win

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