Fighting talk at Almería, talk of fighting at Real Madrid

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It would be fair to say that Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final second legs throw up a wonderful win-win situation for anti-Madridistas in the Catalan capital, where LLL has learned through in depth investigations many are said to reside.

Should Real Madrid hang onto or increase their 1-0 advantage over Sevilla in the Santiago Bernabeu in an encounter kicking off at ten, then Barcelona can look forward to the prospect of winning three Clásicos this season - five, even, should the dueling duo meet in the Champions League - by defeating José Mourinho’s men in April’s final.

But were Madrid to go tumbling out of the competition, then there will still be much mirth, merriment and mischief-making to be made at the prospect of Mourinho stuck with the testing task of having to win the Champions League to prevent his first campaign in Mordor being a bit of a let-down.

The Barcelona press is still in full preening mode after Sunday’s defeat at Osasuna with both Mundo Deportivo and Sport declaring that Madrid have given up on la Liga and are kneeling at the delicate feetsies of Pep’s Dream Boys.

Writing in Sport, Josep María Casanovas taunts the president of the Santiago Bernabeu poking jauntily that “Florentino is not fronting up, he’s hiding, he travels but he doesn’t speak. He doesn’t know what to say or what more he can do.”

All this jabbing and jibing to come assumes that Barça find their way past Almería in a match kicking off at eight on the south coast. But even with LLL’s awful prediction prowess it’s a safe bet from the blog that Barça will hang on to their five goal advantage from last week’s first leg despite Almería boss, José Luis Oltra, revealing hopefully that “we’ve practiced penalties just in case.”

Sevilla manager, Gregorio Manzano, admitted the same thing but with greater reason than Almería with his team facing a Real Madrid side who do have a 1-0 advantage but who are in poor form by the club’s fairly high standards.

Although Mourinho ruled out tiredness as a factor in recent dropped points against Almería and Osasuna which coincided with tough cup games midweek against Atlético Madrid and Sevilla, the Madrid boss gave the excuse of his players being a bit hopeless in previous years and unaccustomed to being in three tournaments come February as the root cause of a whites wobble.

“A football player is a creature of habit,” theorised The Little Bit Less Special One ahead of Wednesday’s game.

Marca blast that Wednesday’s game is the club’s first “Mou final” and report that Pedro León and Fernando Gago were left out of the squad, not because Mourinho reckons they are bobbins, but because the pugilistic pair had a dressing scrap after some training ground tackles turned nasty.

“Mourinho has shown that he will not tolerate indiscipline,” soothed Wednesday’s editorial which also managed manfully to crow bar a dig at a certain ex-manager. “If Sevilla are knocked out, Mourinho will have gone up a step in comparison to Pellegrini.”

LLL is expecting Real Madrid to squeeze through to their first Copa del Rey final in seven years, however the blog is predicting a bit of a ding dong battle at the Santiago Bernabeu. It may be a late criminally late end with a extra time and penalties seeing the game finishing close to one in the morning in the Spanish capital, but it could well be worth watching. Perhaps with a duvet.