The Kitten-Tickling Weekend Predictions - Round 34

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Real Madrid (2nd) vs Barcelona (1st)

It needed to be a whopping story to knock The Pig Plague, political corruption, cash-grabbing mayors and skyrocketing unemployment figures off the front pages of Spain’s papers this week.

But that’s exactly what happened with the alarm-dinging arrival of Europe’s biggest of battles, craziest of clashes and hottest of topics.

The big question being asked by Everyman all over Spain was who has the best bum - the home-grown Princess Letizia or Carla Bruni, the foreign floozy from France-land?

A photograph of the posterior-poking pair was taken as they walked up a flight of steps during a visit from Nikolas Sarkozy and it prompted debate in every oracle from El País to ABC, Spain’s Vatican news daily, over which bottom was the bonniest.

Of course, there is a big game of footie going on as well. And it’s Marca who brought the exclusive news of where the Barcelona and Real Madrid suits will be spending their members’ money on gold-plated ham and the finest wines during the pre-match feast.

The gorge-fest will take place at “one of the capital’s gastronomic sanctuaries” one kilometre from the Bernabeu, giving the less-engorged of the group a fighting chance of rolling their fat bellies towards the ground in time for the big game.

The directors’ wives - heaven forbid they should be allowed anywhere near the Work of Men - will be at another restaurant tickling kittens and cake-baking.

LLL Prediction - Home win

The choice is yours...

Numancia (20th) vs Málaga (7th)

Time is running out for Numancia. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

Anything less than a win against Málaga and there will be no more ‘finals’. No more matches to give 120 percent, sweat blood for the fight and go out onto the pitch with knifes between their teeth. Unless a few teams above the Sorian side lose of course, in which case the struggle will continue for another round.

But Numancia manager Pacheta says it will be tough-going against Málaga, as all the rivals in the second half of the season have “tied themselves down with plugs.” Either that or it is an idiomatic expression that neither lies in La Liga Loca’s tiny memory nor in its useless dictionary.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Villarreal (5th) vs Sevilla (3rd)

And so we pass quietly onto the final days of Sevilla manager Manolo Jiménez who, if Marca are to be believed, will be moving to the Vicente Calderón over the summer to be booed by a brand new bunch of supporters.

Four defeats in a row for Sevilla, their worst top flight record, means that Jiménez truly is toast at the Sanchez Pizjuán. But he is set to remain in his place until the end of the campaign at least, claims club Godfather José Maria del Nido.

“Whatever happens in Villarreal, he’ll finish the season,” confirmed the Sevilla president in a half-hearted attempt at a vote of confidence.

Meanwhile, Jiménez himself has spent the week steering between understanding the stadium’s ire - Ã¢Â€ÂœI, like the fans, would also be very angry with four defeats,” - and indignation over the booing and barracking - “We are third, but if feels more like we are third from bottom.”

LLL Prediction - Away win


Mallorca (9th) vs Getafe (17th)

Since the appointment of Michel as coach of Getafe on Monday, two-faced hacks who in private will scoff that the former Madrid man is a managerial waste of space have been praising his hide to the heavens and gone all rapturey over the immediate change he has made at the Coliseum club.

In a report reminiscent of a 1930s BBC Newsreel describing the King of England meeting common people in Plymouth, Friday’s AS gushes over how Michel will ensure survival for the club by making the players walk from the stadium car park to the training ground as opposed to taking their Porches. Yep, that’ll do the trick.

Meanwhile, Javi Casquero, the man who nearly had his head taken clean off by a certain Portuguese defender, has revealed that his aggressor has yet to contact him to apologise for his actions, despite what the Real Madrid man has claimed.

“Pepe hasn’t called me and I’m not expecting him to either,” sniffed the penalty-taking punch bag.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Osasuna (15th) vs Recreativo (19th)

Every week, La Liga Loca likes to predict a match that will be an eye-gougingly awful encounter. A game that could turn wine into wee. And every week the expected shocker turns out to be a 7-6 end-to-end classic.

This week, it is plumping for this particular tie between Osasuna and Recreativo, a relegation rumble where cards will outnumber goals by a ratio of 33-1.

LLL Prediction - Draw

Deportivo (8th) vs Valladolid (10th)

A feisty game of football between two clubs from the north of Spain - a wonderful part of the world where men are men, red hair is acceptable and where wailing, weeping, Flamenco-loving, soft Southern nonciness simply isn’t tolerated.

Except in Miguel Angel Lotina’s case, that is.

The coach at La Coruña is one of the wettest blankets in the west. A man who cried when Espanyol saved themselves on the last kick of the season. A man who blubbed continuously during his short spell at Real Sociedad. And a man who pleaded guilty this week to being the biggest of Basque cry babies.

“The last time I cried?” mused Lotina, “it was a couple of days ago watching how the contestants on ‘OT’ (the Spanish version of Pop Idol that was won last year by the goddess-like La Liga Loca future-wife Virginia) got all emotional and when I saw their families. I’m a big wuss.”

The only tears being shed by the Depor boss on Sunday will be of despair during what, let’s face it, will be an awful encounter.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Lotina wells up

Racing (13th) vs Almería (11th)

Nope. Not even going to attempt a preview on this one.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Sporting (18th) vs Athletic (12th)

Sporting could not have chosen easier opposition for Sunday’s showdown in their attempts to halt their shocking run of 76 defeats and a return to la Segunda.

Having finally pulled their footballing fingers out over the past couple of rounds, Athletic have hauled themselves to within a point or two of survival and have returned to their navel-gazing of the Copa del Rey final.

To give a clue as to the Basque club’s tactics during this much-anticipated cup clash, Marca reports that the Athletic camp have spent much of the week practising penalties.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Espanyol (16th) vs Valencia (4th)

The ‘look at me!’ screaming and arm-waving Clasico will surely dominate much of the sporting headlines in the latest round of matches. But this enticing encounter between the Pericos and EasyValencia is worthy of a spot on the second-place podium.

One of the 17 people who currently seem to be in charge in Mestalla has been speaking about the club’s ongoing financial foul-up this week, and the chances of holding onto their shining stars over the summer. Or rather, their lack of them.

“It will be tough keeping them, but not impossible,” admitted the club’s VP Sporting Director Fernando Gómez.

LLL Prediction - Away win

Betis (14th) vs Atletico (6th)

One of La Liga Loca’s biggest regrets this season is not making it down to the Vicente Calderón last Sunday to watch the rojiblancos. And that’s genuinely quite ironic as normally the blog’s biggest regret of the campaign is the complete opposite.

Normally, La Liga Loca is there in the stands through wind, rain and rain. But sadly it missed out on the recent clash against Sporting, a clash were the 25,000 fans who turned up spent the 90 minutes sarcastically cheering back passes and chanting “Pernía, Ballon d’Or” at the deservedly-maligned left back.

“I don’t like it when they have a go at anyone,” admonished Maxi during the week.

It seems that the players have been just as undisciplined as the supporters of late with both blog heroes, Maniche and Ever Banega, making the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The portly Portuguese midfielder has been fined 50,000 euro and suspended for 10 days, along with Seitaridis, for failing to turn up for last Sunday’s Sporting encounter. “They don’t offer anything to the team,” grumped manager Abel Resino, who says their presences will not be missed.

Ever Banega, the self-loving sensation, decided to end a week where he spoke at length about wanting a permanent move to the Vicente Calderón by turning up for last Saturday’s opposition study session a little worse for ware.

“He was very late and practically asleep,” said Resino.

La Liga Loca suspects the Argentine adventurer was doing some internet research of his own, the night before.

LLL Prediction - Home win

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