The Flimsy Weekend Predictions - Round 30

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Zaragoza (17th) v Málaga (15th)

Although the midfielder was last seen choking on Leo Messi’s dazzling dust a couple of weeks ago, as one of the many victims of the forward’s wonder goal in La Romareda, Ander Herrera’s proven inability to stop Barcelona’s creative thrusting has apparently been seen as just the ticket for Arsene Wenger’s squad at Arsenal to join the rest of his ball-chasing mob at the Emirates.

“It’s an honour that a great club is interested in me, but with Arsenal it feels like utopia,” swooned the 20-year-old Ander who is a product of Zaragoza’s youth academy.

The other urgent Aragonese news of the week sees the club cutting down on the ham bills a tad in these times of crisis by setting up a governing board that could meet in a cupboard.

The new Zaragoza bigwigs body consists of just three people, the main shareholder and president, Agapito Iglesias, and two of his friends brought in to keep him company, perhaps.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Barcelona (2nd) v Athletic (6th)

Whilst the midweek clash against Arsenal may have been a very good night indeed for football fans all over the world who could swoon over the most insane opening 20 minutes of a game ever seen, it was not so hot for one particular Mexican defender.

Gerard Piqué’s yellow card and the rather harsh red handed out to the peerless Carles Puyol sees the very much maligned Rafa Márquez set to start against Arsenal on Tuesday night.

And this is sure to kick off a week of tutting, moaning and plain rudeness from Barcelona supporters who are not the most amorous of admirers of their Central American stopper.

The Barcelona press have yet to think as far ahead as next week’s game and are still basking in a pool of smugness over the 2-2 draw in London and what it could mean for next week’s clasíco clash in the Bernabeu.

“Florentino Pérez has nightmares about Barcelona,” sniggers Joan Batlle in Friday’s Sport,  who claims that after the display against Arsenal the Madrid president, manager and players know that “they are cannon fodder if Guardiola’s men play at the same level next Saturday.”

LLL Prediction - Home win

Sevilla (5th) v Tenerife (18th)

Whilst Sevilla reportedly have a toss-up - in very non Ever Banega sense of the word, the blog hopes - between Laurent Blanc and Mallorca’s Gregorio Manzano for the role of team coach for next season, former number two Antonio Alvarez has been given the job of turning a side of lazy, too-busy-thinking-about-the-World-Cup, downhearted wastrels into a outfit that can make the top four.

And Alvarez feels that he knows exactly what needs to be done to make that dream come true.

“There are nine games left and we need to win as many as possible,” confirmed Alvarez proving he has picked up on the tricky business of league football very quickly, indeed.

LLL Prediction - Home win


Valladolid (19th) v Villarreal (8th)

It’s not been a great week for Valladolid, with local media outlets drip dripping stories over boozy players putting on their disco trousers when they should have been tucked up in bed, preparing for their next humiliating defeat in la Liga.

The on-loan player from Porto, Pelé, was at the centre of a number of allegations including smoking in the dressing room after the club’s defeat to 4-0 Atlético Madrid back in January and galavanting about town with some team-mates on the night before the 0-0 draw with Espanyol last week.

This has made the already walking bag of fury Onésimo Sánchez even more irate with the Valladolid manager claiming that “if it is shown that they were out partying then I don’t want them in my team for a minute longer,” before ruing that the whole nightclubbing affair made them “very happy in Zaragoza, Tenerife and Xerez,” the three relegation rivals for the very doomed Pucela side.

LLL Prediction - Away win

Sporting (12th) v Xerez (20th)

Whilst LLL suspects that the Xerez manager’s impressive perm may contain special powers that sees its owner Gorosito picking up 14 points for his bottom of the table team since arriving in January, one of his players say it is down to more mundane reasons.

“He treats us well and gives us a lot of confidence,” sighs striker Míchel.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Getafe (9th) v Espanyol (14th)

Impossible as it is to believe, considering the team are not actually that good, Getafe are still chasing a European spot and have a fine chance of closing the five point gap with sixth the visit of softer than kitten’s tummies on their travels Espanyol to the Coliseum.

However, the last time that Getafe were playing in their own stadium, the side was mullered 4-2 by Real Madrid in a game that caused Barcelona’s Seydou Keita to suggest that perhaps teams facing the league leaders weren’t trying all that hard.

“That was offensive,” squeaked midfielder Adrían. “Any footballer that plays Madrid or Barcelona always wants to win.”

LLL Prediction - Home win

Almería (11th) v Mallorca (4th)

Along with Gorosito, another manager who has landed mid season in la Primera and done some fairly remarkable things is Juanma Lillo.

His tactic of turning Almería into a blisteringly fast counterattacking side has now brought midtable loveliness to a coastal club that had been struggling.

However, Lillo himself is shying away from all the Primera praise by living outside of Almería in the bustling hamlet of La Fabriquilla which has just five other inhabitants.

“I spend my time here when I’m not at the club,” reveals Lillo who has just the 100 of his collection of 7,000 sports-related books in his beach-side house to keep him company. “I like the solitude.”

LLL Prediction - Draw

Valencia (3rd) v Osasuna (13th)

The mad two-legged affair against Werder Bremen which ended 5-5 on aggregate was just a mere je-ne-sais-quoi to the fun that was to be had in the next Europa League round against Atlético Madrid on Thursday night.

In a sizzling, sexy encounter Valencia came from behind twice in Mestalla to hold a suddenly-interested-in-football-again Atleti to a 2-2 draw.

And despite the away goals for the Rojiblancos, it leaves next Thursday’s rematch in the Vicente Calderón fairly open, although Unai Emery sees it as “55% to 45% in Atlético’s favour.”

LLL Prediction - Home win

Racing (16th) v Real Madrid

With the Champions League being two very dirty words indeed in the Madridista press, both Marca and AS have filled their pages this week with utter nonsense including reports of team dinners (without Karim Benzema, of course) that will surely lead to Cibeles glory and Guti’s latest injury - his 10th of the season, for those keeping count.

But in an interesting but fairly pointless tangent, a scuffle broke out between the two papers on Cristiano Ronaldo’s choice of mouth protection.

The 'ever happy to praise the Portuguese ponce at any opportunity' Marca revealed the scintillating fact that the forward wore a boxing style gum shield in Atlético Madrid that can only have enhanced his abilities to fire shots into the stands and not pass to Gonzalo Higuaín.

However, AS hit back the following day with the story that the gum shield was an abject failure and it is a hippy-hoppy ‘power balance’ pulsometer that Ronaldo wears on his wrist that it is the key to his success, before happily revealing where these quack devices can be bought.

It’s enough to make you wish that Madrid had beaten Lyon after all.

LLL Prediction - Away win

Atlético Madrid (10th) v Deportivo (7th)

With the Europa League-obsessed Atleti showing as much interest in this game as Maniche in a bowl of salad, it’s a fine chance for Deportivo to put an end to a wretched recent run of three defeats.

But depressive Depor boss and Lord of Gloom Miguel Angel Lotina is not all that preppy about his side’s chances at the Vicente Calderón due to his lack of left flank.

“When Felipe and Guardado are not both out there, we are just so flimsy,” complained Lotina in a big vote of confidence to the rest of his squad.

LLL Prediction - Draw

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