The Hot Cross Bun-less Weekend Predictions

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Mallorca (12th) v Deportivo (14th)

Easter week in Spain and there are more virgins being carried around the streets of the country than an Amish piggyback race.

One club who may well be able to boast a miracle of resurrection at this most sacred of times, is Deportivo.

A few short months ago, Depor were doomed but have managed to claw themselves out of the relegation grave to give themselves a chance of another year of Primera pain.

On Saturday, Lotina’s men are battling a side separated only by goal difference from them in a match that is worth ‘four points’ according to Gregorio Manzano.

The Mallorcans may want to consider getting better lawyers as Sevilla and Atlético are battling for seven points, according to Manolo Jiménez. Draw.

Sevilla (5th) v Atlético Madrid (4th)

On Thursday, eternally chirpy-chappy manager of Atlético, Javier Aguirre, gave another example of why his sanity will remain intact no matter what happens at the Calderón, this season, whilst his German colleague in Castle Greyskull is likely to be popping Prozac and gibbering to himself for the next fifty years.

When questioned by hacks on why he had decided to train for most of the week behind closed doors without the peaking press being allowed in, the Mexican marvel replied that, “I did it to screw them!”

But he was only kidding. “No, it was done so you journalists didn’t have to work during Holy Week”. Home win.


Levante (20th) v Villarreal (3rd)

Levante’s imminent relegation does not seem to be bothering Gianni di Biasi, too much. Probably because the Italian coach has a fistful of offers from Italy, for next season.

The Levante manager was pictured out and about till 2.30 in the morning, on Monday night. But not in an Ever Banega / Royston Drenthe ‘going for a quick spin’ way.

Instead di Biasi was out singing opera on the streets of Valencia to celebrate the annual ‘Las Fallas’ festival - something La Liga Loca has never been to, not wanting to be set on fire or type this blog with its three remaining fingers. Away win.

Zaragoza (15th) v Almería (9th)

This weeks News from Sweden has gone galactic with some space age Scandanavians.

“A Swedish artist who wants to put a house on the moon has won the backing of his country's space agency. Artist Mikael Genberg, 44, unveiled his red-house-on-the-moon project in 2003 and has now been given the backing of the Swedish Space Corporation.

The space agency's Fredrik von Scheele said: "If we manage to do this Sweden will be the third country to stake a claim on the moon."

Genberg said: "It's going to be an unmanned landing, and the house has to be very light, but it will also have to be sturdy enough to remain standing for thousands of years once it's up there.

He added that he wanted "to prove the impossible is possible" and boost Sweden's sense of national pride.”

Barcelona (2nd) v Valladolid (17th)

Valladolid manager, José Luis Mendilibar, has got his pre-match whine in early ahead of Sunday’s visit to Camp Nou.

G“I don’t know whether they have better relations with the committee”, mused Mendilibar on the midweek revocation of Andrés Iniesta’s suspension-inducing yellow card, “but they don’t treat everyone equally”.

His pro-active protestations may not be required as Barcelona have hurled themselves out of the frying pan and into an inferno after Thursday’s 3-2 Copa del Rey defeat to Valencia, a match where footballing match pirating-heroes of ‘La Sexta’ were incapable of telling the difference between Eric Abidal and Yaya Touré or David Silva and Juan Manuel Mata. Home win.

Osasuna (13th) v Betis (16th)

It may be the middle of March but there is going to be snow, this weekend, in them there hills of Pamplona which is 450 metres up - which is nothing to the vertigo-inducing 667 metres boasted by Madrid.

But it is snow joke for Betis - the Spanish club pioneering the stadium time-share scheme which sees them decamping to a new home once a year for a bit of a change of scene and a chance to catch up on some reading.

Brazilian centre back, Lima, was poked before the press, on Thursday, to complain about the decision to award last weekend’s suspended match against Athletic Bilbao, to their Basque visitors.

“We were playing well and only losing because of small details,” declared the defender. Home win.

Racing Santander (7th) v Recreativo (18th)

There are some very unhappy bunnies in Santander this week. Not only because they have lost Garay for six weeks with a knacked knee. Or because they have been kicked out of the Copa del Rey. But because of the manner it happened.

Marcelino was most unhappy that Getafe failed to boot the ball out of play after Garay went down and ended up scoring an equalising goal through Francisco Casquero - who is now about as popular in the city as a ham plague.

Juan Albín, the player who fed the ball to Casquero defended his actions by saying that he “didn’t see Garay, nor hear Uche telling me to stop. I only saw the goal”.

There is a mini-debate now rumbling through the Spanish press on whether the ball should be cleared out of play when a footballer goes down injured - an idea that would turn a match into something resembling rugby when those diving divas of Sevilla are involved. Home win.

Murcia (19th) v Espanyol (6th)

Much of the news, this week, on these two clubs has focused on where their players will be plying their trade, next season. Carlos Kameni looks set be pushing Paul Robinson to the periphery at Spurs, whilst nobody at all seems to be interested in Murcia’s Alvaro Mejía - not that he would want them to be, of course.

“There’s speculation on the future of players in the squad and that’s a lack of respect as there are still points to be had that could save us. And did you know I used to play for Real Madrid?” added the centre-back.

La Liga Loca is still praying for a return of Pablo Garcia and Antonio Cassano to the Bernabeu. Draw.

Real Madrid (1st) v Valencia (11th)

Unwilling to undergo Real Madrid’s normal injury recovery programme - leeches, incantations and thoughtful beard scratching - Ruud Van Nistelrooy decided to whisk himself off and go under the knife in Amsterdam to make sure he can be ready for his country’s traditional Euro Championship failure.

The six week lay off is “the most difficult moment of his football career”, according to Marca, overlooking to whole knee being ripped apart, Man Utd move nearly falling through business. 

La Liga Loca regulars may be wondering what hero of the people, Roberto Gomez of Marca, has been up to over the past few days. Well, luckily he has been keeping all his readers up-to-date on his activities.

Aside from blowing smoke up Florentino Perez’ backside, Roberto has given a sermon in cathedral (photos published) - not that it’s going to stop him going straight to hell when he has one ‘churro’ too many.

And he has been writing about a lovely day spent in Santander with former mayor Manuel Huerta, “undoubtedly the best mayor in the history of the Cantabrian city”. High praise, indeed. Home win. But they could lose.

Athletic Bilbao (10th) v Getafe (8th)

Stung by suggestions that Athletic may have been receiving special treatment from Spanish FA head, Angel Villar, Athletic got out their dust busters and hovered off the cobwebs that had been gathering over Carlos Gurpegui - a player one month away from finishing a ban for failing a drug test. 

“I’ve never noticed the hand of Villar with me”, announced Gurpegui who was hopefully speaking in purely metaphorical terms. Home win.

You can catch Tim Stannard in punditing action on Real Madrid TV's 'Extra Time' over the weekend, should you be at a loose end. Sky Digital Channel 446.