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La Preview: Mallorca give Laudrup the elbow as Betis look to extend stay at the top

Saturday

Osasuna (12th) v Mallorca (11th) - 18.00 (local time)
Probably the least surprising managerial change of the season saw Michael Laudrup agreeing terms to leave Mallorca earlier in the week. Supporters of the now ex-boss say he was never backed in the transfer market by club VP and majority shareholder, Lorenzo Serra Ferrer, and missed out on a forward due to administrative blunder - an error the Dane was fairly critical of to make choppy waters between the pair even...er...choppier.
LaudrupâÂÂs enemies in the Balearic battle-ground will declare good riddance to the Dane pointing to a terrible second half to last season that almost ended in relegation for Mallorca, as well as the unimpressive also-rans Laudrup opted to bring in over the summer when actually allowed to sign players.
The inevitable happened on Tuesday when the managerâÂÂs assistant, Erik Larsen, left the club having called Serra Ferrer âÂÂa bad personâÂÂ.
âÂÂIâÂÂll buy a dinner for anyone who can find something good to say about him.â The unsurprisingly immediate departure of the number two in light of these comments was followed by the number one with Laudrup making it quite clear who was to blame. âÂÂFour years ago, when the current maximum shareholder of Mallorca was coach of Betis he said âÂÂBetis will be what Lopera wants it to beâÂÂ. That applies here now. Mallorca will be what Serra Ferrer wants it to be.âÂÂ
LLL Prediction - Home win

Villarreal (14th) v Zaragoza (15th) - 18.00
SpainâÂÂs horrendously high unemployment rate was reduced by one this week, when kindly Zaragoza gave a hard-working fella a job. The former Deportivo defensive midfielder Antonio Tomás has been picked up by Zaragoza and given a squad number, with the player claiming at ThursdayâÂÂs unveiling that he is âÂÂtactical, calm, hard work and will bring effort and passion.âÂÂ
LLL Prediction - Home win

Racing Santander (18th) v Rayo Vallecano (13th) - 18.00
While the Rayo ground staff are working away to improve the state of Rayo VallecanoâÂÂs bobbly pitch - a surface manager José Sandoval has claimed is going to cost his team points this season - the stadium itself has gone through a metamorphosis.
RayoâÂÂs home still only has three sides and has folk living inside of it, the name has been changed in a supportersâ vote from the previous title of the âÂÂTeresa Riveroâ stadium - named after the wife of the head of the Ruiz-Mateos clan, the former owners who are currently going through a few legal issues over corruption. Again.
But once the club can afford some paint or some big sticky letters, RayoâÂÂs ground will officially be called from this day forth the âÂÂEstadio de VallecasâÂÂ.
LLL Prediction - Draw

Valencia (7th) v Granada (17th) - 20.00
In what seems to be one of those stick-the-finger-in-the-air-and-guess studies - a process thatâÂÂs always been most popular in Spanish football finance - the Granada Chamber of Commerce has had a stab at estimating the income brought in to the city thanks to the local football clubâÂÂs promotion to la Primera.
That magic figure is thought to be a handy â¬7 million a year to the cityâÂÂs fine restaurants, hotels and bars and â¬28 million overall. No pressure from the locals for another campaign of top flight football, then...
LLL Prediction - Home win

Málaga (6th) v Getafe (16th) - 22.00
Despite bringing in a bunch of new names causing a heck of a change to MálagaâÂÂs starting line-up, one position that hasnâÂÂt seen movement is that of Willy Caballero in goal. And thatâÂÂs not likely to change in the immediate future as the Argentine keeper who turned 30 on Wednesday has let in just two goals - the best record in la Primera. âÂÂIf goals arenâÂÂt conceded then itâÂÂs the work of the whole team,â said a generous Willy.
LLL Prediction - Home win

Sunday

Real Sociedad (9th) v Athletic Bilbao (19th) - 12.00
A midday kick-off on Sunday may have taken a little of the drunken fun out of the Basque derby for the fans in the stands but la RealâÂÂs Antoine Griezmann has done his bit in trying to set a fire under the tie, nonetheless.
The French winger has quite a lot of hard, brown-nosing work to do try and get back in the good books with the San Sebastian faithful after attempting but failing to get a move to Atlético Madrid over the summer. So itâÂÂs no wonder that the cocky young tyke is predicting a 3-0 for la Real and âÂÂthree goals for me.âÂÂ
LLL Prediction - Home win

Betis (1st) v Levante (3rd) - 16.00
To show exactly how odd it feels to have Betis at the top of la Liga after five games, LLLâÂÂs eyes instinctively moved to the bottom of the table to find the league position of the club before it remembered with a sudden rush where the Seville side sat in la Primera. And thatâÂÂs quite comfortably above everyone else despite a 1-0 defeat to Getafe on Monday night.
Betis coach, Pepe Mel - a cross between Peter Griffin from Family Guy and Rafa Benítez - reckons first place is where is team is going to remain for the trip to the Santiago Bernabeu in a fortnightâÂÂs time. âÂÂWeâÂÂre going to go there as leaders. We have enough to win our next game although itâÂÂs against a good team.âÂÂ
LLL Prediction - Home win

Atlético Madrid (8th) v Sevilla (4th) - 18.00
ThereâÂÂs a hint of a Spanish international flavour about SevillaâÂÂs forward line these days, with Jesús Navas, Alvaro Negredo and Diego Perotti all starring for MarcelinoâÂÂs men. Yes, technically, Perotti is Argentinean born and bred, but that hasnâÂÂt stopped Vicente Del Bosque dreaming, claim AS.
The paper reports the Spain manager is so impressed with the Sevilla player that he has called for a thorough probing into whether Perotti could be called up to la Furia Roja. Although Perotti has played in two friendlies for Argentina, he has yet to be called up for an official game. WhatâÂÂs more, the wide man became a Spanish citizen in January in what Del Bosque sees as a very promising move.
LLL Prediction - Draw

Sporting (20th) v Barcelona (2nd)  - 20.00
Somewhere out in the wider world thereâÂÂs a super-computer working out Leo MessiâÂÂs various goal tallies and assists per game, week, month and season. It whirred into life on Saturday and Wednesday when little Leo put three past a hopeless Atlético Madrid and then two more past a really hopeless BATE Borisov, with the little fella looking rather apologetic about the whole business.
MessiâÂÂs five strikes helped make him Barcelona's joint-second top goalscorer of all time, with the Argentinean equalling Ladislao Kubala's 194 strikes on Wednesday evening. The forward still has a solid four months of work to do before notching the 42 additional goals it will take to surpass the record total of Barça goals set by César, though. Bottom-of-the-table Sporting should help out on Sunday.
LLL Prediction - Away win

Espanyol (10th) v Real Madrid (5th) - 22.00
ItâÂÂs been âÂÂhave a pop at Real Madrid weekâ over the past few days for some of the clubâÂÂs ghosts of the past. The most ghoulish of those was ex-president, Ramón Calderón, who appeared in the Catalan media - always something that will win him fans in Madrid - saying; âÂÂI think the club has an owner called Jorge Mendes, the agent of six or seven players at Madrid. At the moment, Florentino is a puppet, itâÂÂs incredible.âÂÂ
One of the former presidentâÂÂs managers, Bernd Schuster, also made the news by commenting on matters concerning MordorâÂÂs favourite team. âÂÂGiving the side time is ridiculous. ItâÂÂs a team thatâÂÂs been together for a year,â opined the unsympathetic German. âÂÂThe team is as it is with its highs and lows. IâÂÂm interested to know if they are capable of improving in the big games in the Champions League and against Barcelona.âÂÂ
LLL Prediction - Away win