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Just as one round of La Liga action finishes, another begins...

Hip Hop Hooray! One round of la Liga has now properly put to bed, with MálagaâÂÂs match against Almería on Monday night rounding off the action - but don't even think about pausing for a moment to catch breath, as itâÂÂs already time for another round to barely 23 hours later on Tuesday, with ten Primera games spread over three days and the usual family/job/sleep/deadline unfriendly scattering of ten oâÂÂclock kick-offs. B*stards.

The final, final match of the last round was arguably the most important, if not the most intriguing, with megarich-pants (and pants at football) Málaga looking to take the massive step of moving from the bottom of la Primera to second-from-bottom by beating Almería in la Rosaleda.

For a while though it looked like Málaga wouldnâÂÂt even manage that not-particularly-challenging feat with a horribly disjointed performance that had a great deal of thrust and panting to it without too much precision - indeed, Almería took the lead after just eight minutes. But Málaga got their act together in the second half - helped by two sendings off for Almería - and prevailed with a 3-1 win.

âÂÂIâÂÂm happy about the victory, we needed that,â admitted a relieved Manuel Pellegrini who sported a tracksuit throughout the encounter which unsettled LLL somewhat.

The former Real Madrid manager now faces a clash against his old team in the Spanish capital on Thursday, with some two days less preparation than the home side and their poor wafer thin squad which is likely to have Karim Benzema, Raúl Albiol and Kaká kicking about on the bench, the poor bunnies.

Almería, on the other hand, are totally screwed, letâÂÂs face it, no matter who they play now.

Round 26 leaps into life at 8pm Spanish time, with Espanyol at home once again and taking on Mallorca, a side who have lost eight on their travels in la Liga this year and a team LLL senses donâÂÂt really give much of a hoot about winning away from the Balearics.

The Pericos are looking for the win which will take them over the 42 point barrier, a point at which Mauricio Pochettino hopes his fifth-placed team will push on, rather than start thinking about holidays, getting in more shagging time or the purchase of that fancy new brand of air pistol with which to shoot unsuspecting club employees that appears to be the new fad in football.

âÂÂWe have to win another game - I hope itâÂÂs the one against Mallorca - so weâÂÂll be on 43 points, â said the optimistic Espanyol manager. âÂÂFrom that point we can give everything in a fight for Europe.âÂÂ

Sevilla are also going to need some Churchill-esque inspiration ahead of their clash with Sporting at ten, with Gregorio ManzanoâÂÂs men just squeezed into seventh place but with the sound of the gnashing teeth of Atlético Madrid, Real Sociedad and Getafe not far behind them.

Actually, whoâÂÂs LLL kidding? Out of those three teams, the first is a mess from top to bottom that spent â¬9 million on players they don't ever use during the winter; one thatâÂÂs just looking to stay up - which is fair enough, really - and Getafe, who are to consistency what José Mourinho is to being humble and taking things on the chin.

FIXTURES Tuesday Espanyol v Mallorca, Sevilla v Sporting Wednesday Zaragoza v Athletic Bilbao, Letafe v Atlético Madrid, Villarreal v Hércules, Osasuna v Deportivo, Real Sociedad v Levante, Valencia v Barcelona Thursday Almería v Racing Santander, Real Madrid v Málaga.