La Preview: Boring Bielsa, Mourinho’s Mind and Clemente’s Cruelty

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Getafe (10th) v Sporting (20th) - 18.00 (local time)
Sporting manager Javier Clemente’s space shuttle-sized gob got him into a bit of hot water this week. During a press conference on Sunday, Clemente got into a ding dong with local journalist Juan Gancedo, who had criticised the temperamental trainer for being out-of-date and stale in his coaching methods. Rather than choosing to disagree with the writer, Clemente called him out in front of the group, promising to tell the scribe's son that "his father is a disgrace.”
Unsurprisingly, the response from the journalist was to pack his bag and leave with more insults from the Sporting boss to follow. In the days which followed there was silence from Clemente, despite a complaint from the local media. The head of communication at Sporting, Manfredo Álvarez admitted that “this isn’t good for anyone” and claimed Clemente had "defended himself against what he considered to be offensive.”
LLL Prediction - Home win

Rayo Vallecano (12th) v Osasuna (6th)
One of the most unpleasant sights in Spain’s grounds this season was a group of Osasuna fans trampling over children to get into a scrap with a father and his two kids for bringing out a Real Madrid banner during last weekend’s visit of the league leaders. With the images being widely broadcast on TV and on t’interweb, Osasuna was forced to take action and have announced that four of the five aggressors have been found and could well be facing fines and very lengthy stadium bans due to the severity of their astonishingly cowardly actions.
LLL Prediction - Home win

Espanyol (9th) v Real Sociedad (14th) - 18.00
The pauper-like Pericos have had to sell part of the rights to three of their footballers to raise €2.3m to make ends meet until the end of the season. Bits of Héctor Moreno, Álvaro Vásquez and either Javi Márquez or Jordi Amat have been flogged off to an English investment organisation, Doye Group. “This situation is not the most convenient for any coach or any team,” admitted Mauricio Pochettino. “We are used to getting by like this and I have an absolute resignation about what is happening.”
LLL Prediction - Home win

Zaragoza (18th) v Barcelona (2nd) - 20.00
Saturday sees a huge test for Manolo Jiménez and his Zaragoza side, who are up to their eyeballs in self confidence at the moment after three wins in a row. In an interview with El País this week, the Zaragoza boss talked about what he had been doing to put lead in the players’ pencils and restore some fighting spirit.
“Everything is now a competition (in training) and everything has a reward like being freed from picking up all the equipment for the winner or having to buy the group some snacks for the loser. It also serves to work on their competitiveness and to lose the fear of winning and then failing, two needs when I took over the group.”
LLL Prediction - Away win 

Betis (15th) v Villarreal (17th) - 22.00
The latest player to be on the end of LLL’s simpering man crush - no-one will ever beat Fabio Cannavaro, mind - is delicious footballing dish, Roque Santa Cruz, who is currently on loan to Betis from Manchester City, not that anyone really remembers considering the forward has only managed six league goals.
Betis are still keen to keep the pretty-mouthed poacher though and have begun talks to take him on board permanently. “We have spoken about the economic aspects but City have a lot to say and in England clubs don’t negotiate until the end of the season,” revealed sultry Santa-Cruz.
LLL Prediction - Home win


Levante (5th) v Atlético Madrid (7th) - 12.00
It’s a tricky time for Levante striker, Koné, at the moment. The forward who is on loan from Sevilla would clearly like to score enough goals to push his team into the European places, a new target for the club revealed Levante president, Quico Catalan, during the week. However, should Koné score 18 this season, then the footballer’s contract with his holding club renews, something the Ivorian is not so keen on. Koné currently has 13 strikes in all competitions so the Levante forward may not be quite so prolific in the team’s remaining eight matches.
LLL Prediction - Draw

Mallorca (13th) v Granada (16th)  - 16.00
Bored of a Thursday morning, LLL was having a look at each Primera club's top scorer and trying to judge who was the most important to their side. The blog was not completely to surprised that Granada had the second worst ‘top scorer’ in the division, with Guilherme Siqueira managing just six goals for the team.
But then the blog realised that this is a tally from a fullback in a struggling side, so it's little surprise to read that Granada’s owner is looking to flog the Brazilian defender this summer, potentially to a side the size of Barcelona. “Siqueira is a fantastic fullback and you have to watch him very closely,” said Pep Guardiola before their recent league clash on a possible new player for the campaign to come.
LLL Prediction - Home win 

Athletic Bilbao (11th) v Sevilla (8th) - 18.00
This may make no sense to any non-Spanish speakers here, but you’ll get the vibe. While Athletic manager, Marcelo Bielsa, is much-admired in Spain for his work with the Basque club, there is the sense the Argentinean is both boring and barmy at the same time. Here’s a clip of Pep Guardiola dreading simply asking “how are you?” to the Athletic boss because of the somewhat lengthy response to such a philosophical poser.
LLL Prediction - Away win

Real Madrid (1st) v Valencia (3rd) - 21.30
José Mourinho is nothing if not a fairly fascinating character whose brain will be well worth dissecting one day (hopefully after a long, healthy, happy life). In an interview with Italian paper, Corriere della Sera, the Madrid manager revealed that he needs a bit of antagonism in the air to help stay fresh and alert - something that explains an awful lot of his dubious behaviour over past seasons.
“Adrenaline is something the body needs. And to avoid relaxing I prefer to feel a bit of the noise from my (football) enemies,” says Mourinho who also spoke about his ambitions in the game which is to win the Champions League with three different teams and manage Portugal to a title in the future.
LLL Prediction - Home win


Málaga (4th) v Racing Santander (19th) - 21.00
Having their match stuck on a Monday night, sees Málaga having to kick themselves repeatedly for nine days since last weekend’s home defeat to Betis, a game where scores of chances were missed. A lot of them were done so by Salomón Rondón, a footballer who sounds like he’s very hard on himself indeed, if an interview with AS is anything to go by.
“I’ve watched the game, I’ve seen it, analysed it,” admitted the forward. “My final touch is failing me at the moment,” noted Rondón on where his finishing prowess could be improved. “I start off well, beating the defenders for pace or in the air but my last touch is the one that’s causing me problems. I get the advantage but I don’t finish things well.
LLL Prediction - Home win