The Great Weekend Predictions - Round 24

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Real Betis (16th) v Real Madrid (1st)
From time to time in this journey we call life, there
are little things you learn that make the constant
toil and trouble so much easier to suffer. This week,
La Liga Loca learned something that shouldn't be
funny, but, like Arjen Robben running, is.

Little Wesley Sneijder's dad is called Barry Sneijder.
And the Real Madrid midfielder has two footballing
brothers, Jeffrey Sneijder and Rodney Sneijder.

Moving onto footie and Betis striker, Mariano Pavone,
clearly has the same awareness of what is going on
around him, as he does in front of goal. "We will
manage to stay up in the Primera and fight to get into
Europe in the next campaigns," boasted the super
striker who is disturbingly pictured by AS astride a
cannon, like Cher in her "Turn back time" video
classic. Away win.

Espanyol (5th) v Sevilla (7th)
Having been out of the footballing news for a good
thirteen minutes, Sevilla president, José Maria del
Nido, was back making mayhem with his pecuniary
promise that he would be flogging off the club's
family jewels if Manolo's men fail to cut the
Champions League mustard, this season.

"If we don't classify for the Champions League, we
will have to sell assets. And that's the players,"
said the pumped up presi who claims that CL income now
makes up 20% of the club's budget.

First in line with his arm in the air pleading "me! me
me!" will be Dani Alves who, this week, reaffirmed his
desire to head off to the loot of London asap. "I
don't see myself spending the rest of my life at
Sevilla," confirmed the short-tempered superstar. Away

Zaragoza (10th) v Barcelona (2nd)
Ideally, Barcelona needed photos of a united squad
sweating blood and bonding in a highly homoerotic
'300' style fashion, to counter the critics of their
increasingly flagging attempt to overhaul Real Madrid
at the top of the table.

Instead, they were photos on the front cover of a
normally supportive Mundo Deportivo of a rather morose
looking Frank Rijkaard handing Leo Messi a spicy
sausage at a team building BBQ - an event Ronaldinho
was late for, say Marca, and an event that Eto'o never
turned up for, having arrived four days late from the
African Cup of Nations.

"The players ask for something and Rijkaard gives it,"
complained Mundo Deportivo director, Santi Nolla. Away


Levante (20th) v Osasuna (14th)
Good news at lowly Levante for once, this week, with
the majority shareholder, Pedro Villarroel, looking
like he is going to dump his shares on a hastily
formed committee and take his footballing toys

The villain of Valencia, who has brought the club's
players on the brink of strike action having failed to
pay them for much of this season and last, says that
he is the one being wronged by The Man.

"Professional football has treated me with total
injustice," moaned Villarroel as he stuffed his
suitcase with bundles of cash and the office stapler
before vowing never to set foot in Levante's stadium
ever again. Home win.

Villarreal (3rd) v Racing Santander (6th)

The phrase "chickens, hatched, counting, etc" is
clearly not widely known in Cantabria. Probably
because they speak Spanish there. If the locals were
familiar with the expression, then they wouldn't have
held a big old celebration of how great Racing
Santander are with a whopping great chunk of the
season still to come.

Yes, Racing are in the UEFA cup places and yes, Racing
are in the Copa del Rey semi-finals, but their current
form has been patchy due to injuries to pretty much
all their strikers.

Still, AS were in attendance at the festival of
premature back slapping and seemed to enjoy the
hospitality there. "You could put Marcelino as
candidate for the PSOE, PP or the Communist Party of
Cantabria and he'd still win the election with a KO,"
wrote a possibly tipsy, Tomás Guasch, in Friday's
edition. Home win - although you never know what
Villarreal will do.

Almería (8th) v Murcia (19th)
At the beginning of the season, La Liga Loca predicted
that it would be Almería who would be the struggling
side with Murcia sitting pretty near the top. But as
the blog has as much talent for forecasting as Guti
for not being irritating, it's the other way round for
these two teams.

Murcia warmed up for this encounter between the two
promoted sides by having a big old punch up in a
friendly with Legia Warsaw - before coming out 2-0

And Almería president, Alfonso García, had some kind
words for Sunday's opponents to cheer them up - "I
think they'll stay up as they have a very good squad".
Home win.

Valladolid (13th) v Mallorca (11th)
It's time for the ever popular 'News from Sweden'
section. The blog last left you with the story of the
giant moose under construction with a conference
centre and restaurant being built into its tummy. This
week, its the shocking story of a rash of crimes
sweeping the country's long distance coach companies.

Hurdy-gurdying police investigating thefts from bags
locked away in the luggage compartments of buses have
discovered that gangs of thieves have been using
'little people' by zipping them up in large duffel
bags. The mischievous midgets then let themselves out
during the journey and raid rucksacks of shiny goods.
Helvete! Home win.

Recreativo (17th) v Deportivo (18th)
Miguel Angel Lotina has a difficult decision to make,
this weekend. It's not whether the tackle his pre
match press conference with his 'All is lost!' or
'Doomed! Doomed!' demeanour, but whether to take Dudu
Aouate or Gustavo Munúa on the trip to Huelva.

The Israeli shot stopper has been out of action with
an injury ever since he had his face rearranged by the
club's other pugnacious portero, but is ready for
action, this weekend. Home win.

Getafe (12th) v Valencia (9th)
A normal week in the Valencia camp saw Santiago
Cañizares breaking radio silence to discuss his best
buddy relationship with Ronald Koeman. "He doesn't
exist to me and it's the same for him," shrugged the
unwanted goalkeeper.

Ever Banega launched a feisty attack on the media and
its constant interest in the off the field antics of
footballers. "We are young and we want to enjoy
ourselves with our friends, on our days off. Everyone
wants their privacy". Fine sentiments from a man who
happily shook hands with the unemployed, for all the
internet watching world to see in gruesome graphic
detail. Home win.

Atlético Madrid (4th) v Athletic Bilbao (15th)
Kun Agüero added to his long list of reasons for
receiving a red card, on Thursday night. Joining
diving and hand balls for his dismal dismissals is
spitting. During the UEFA cup defeat to Bolton the
Danish linesman felt that the gobbing goliath had spat
in his direction - an action leading to his immediate
matching orders.

La Liga Loca had long since given up on the game so
cannot comment one way all the other on what happened.
However, the Atlético camp feel that they were a
little hard done by with the referee's rulings
throughout the clash.

"The referees are different in Europe. They don't blow
for so many fouls and we have to get used to it,"
mused Pablo.

"In Madrid, without this English atmosphere and this
English style of refereeing, we hope to have options,"
said Javier Aguirre on a possible rojiblanco revival,
next Thursday. Home win.