La LigaÃ¢ÂÂs Big Three Finals of the Weekend
LLL imagines that when the sixty-or-so million Euros were pumped into MÃÂ¡laga over the summer, the clubÃ¢ÂÂs Qatari owners werenÃ¢ÂÂt expecting the dreaded talk of Ã¢ÂÂfinalsÃ¢ÂÂ steaming into view as early as October.
But thatÃ¢ÂÂs the kind of crazy talk that the hamster-cheeked Santi Cazorla kicked off this week in light of MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs horrendous 2-0 defeat at Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday Ã¢ÂÂ the clubÃ¢ÂÂs third loss in a row without a single goal being scored.
Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs more than a final in terms of the state of the spirit of the team,Ã¢ÂÂ revealed the forward ahead of the southern sideÃ¢ÂÂs Sunday night visit from Espanyol, a team who beat Betis on Thursday with their third consecutive 1-0 victory, apparently channeling Dull Deportivo (from back when the Galicians were half-decent).
But big-spending MÃÂ¡laga are in excellent company, having being joined in the doo-doo by the big-spending AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid. The Rojiblancos are living up to all expectations this season by failing to live up to all expectations this season. Once you get to spend quality time with AtlÃÂ©tico, that will all make sense.
On Thursday night, Gregorio ManzanoÃ¢ÂÂs men continued a fine run of form Ã¢ÂÂ five winless league games no away goals all season. AtlÃÂ©ticoÃ¢ÂÂs latest disaster was a 3-0 loss at the rapidly improving Athletic Bilbao, leaving the managerÃ¢ÂÂs position in some jeopardy, especially since Manzano has just got the backing of club president Enrique Cerezo.
Ã¢ÂÂWe keep on thinking that we have a great manager. To think anything else doesnÃ¢ÂÂt make sense," said Cerezo, clearly unaware of his club's history of nonsense. "Neither Manzano nor anyone else is in danger for us. What we have to do is raise the spirits of the team.Ã¢ÂÂ
AtlÃÂ©tico, who these days are just as poor in the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n as on the road, will be hosting Real Zaragoza in what has to be a beautifully wrapped gift of a chance for a comfortable crowd-pleasing home win on Sunday evening.
VillarrealÃ¢ÂÂs week turned from bad to Arizmendi in just five days. It started off horrendously on Sunday with a 3-0 home defeat to Levante. Juan Carlos GarridoÃ¢ÂÂs side followed up that performance with a hopeless display on Wednesday with a 3-0 loss to Real Madrid.
A day later it was announced that Giuseppe Rossi is set to be out for up to six months with a knee ligament damage, joining Sergio Canales and Carlos Gurpegui in this week's Terrible Injury News Club.
Rather like MÃÂ¡laga and AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid, Villarreal do have what should be an easy chance to bounce back with the visit of Rayo Vallecano, who are now in the lofty heights of ninth after back-to-back wins against Betis and MÃÂ¡laga.
League leaders Levante Ã¢ÂÂ LLL still gets a tingly kick out of writing that Ã¢ÂÂ will be looking to continuing living the dream of the poor, old and miserable (including the blog) by traveling to Osasuna, from where it is almost impossible to come away with three points.
So that will probably leave Real Madrid at the top of the table after the weekend is over, considering the forces of Mordor will be descending on San Sebastian to face Real Sociedad, who are not very good at all these days. Plucky Barcelona will be building on the sideÃ¢ÂÂs feisty 1-0 win at Granada by hosting Mallorca at the Camp Nou in what should be the non-taxing football equivalent of... er... playing Mallorca at the Camp Nou.
Round 11 mini-predictions
Sevilla v Granada Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
Barcelona v Mallorca Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
Sporting v Athletic Ã¢ÂÂ Away win
AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid v Zaragoza Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
Valencia v Getafe Ã¢ÂÂ Draw
Osasuna v Levante Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
Real Sociedad v Real Madrid Ã¢ÂÂ Away win
Villarreal v Rayo Vallecano Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
MÃÂ¡laga v Espanyol Ã¢ÂÂ Home win
Racing Santander v Betis Ã¢ÂÂ Away win