The nose-breaking, exit-tampering, Forlán-feuding weekend Primera predictions

Barca may have already sealed the title, but that doesn't mean there's not still plenty to be decided in La Liga. Tim Stannard gets the crystal ball out, again...


Almería (20th) v Mallorca (11th)
As the first team relegated from la Primera this year, Almería and the 5,000 fans who turned up for the midweek goalless draw against Villarreal were already finding life pretty gloomy. But the outlook could get considerably murkier next season, given there’s an unfortunate tradition for relegated teams to find life even tougher in la Segunda, with more than a few ultimately slipping into the third tier of Spanish football - a very, very, very bad place to end up.
“Tenerife are in trouble now and there was Compostela a few years ago,” warned Almería president Alfonso García. “There are some teams that disappear if they go down, but not us. We’re going to have a good side.”
LLL Prediction - Draw

Villarreal (4th) v Real Madrid (2nd)
With nine days left of the current campaign - well, for Real Madrid anyway - both papers that feed off the club like journalistic pilot fish are in full, rampant transfer speculation mode. Marca’s front page on Friday suggests that Kaká is a target for both Milan and Chelsea, with Juventus craving Lassana Diarra, Ezequiel Garay and Karim Benzema. AS are musing that Benfica fullback Fabio Coentrao could be joining over the summer for a whopping €30 million.
Meanwhile, Madrid’s penultimate match is set to see Cristiano Ronaldo in full head-down-and-blast-the-ball-as-hard-as-possible mode, with the Portuguese pouter two goals short of the all time league record of 38 strikes in a season. Those in the stands will be hoping the wide-necked wonder hits the target as often as possible, given one poor fan got his nose broken by a hefty clearance from the record chasing Ronaldo on Tuesday evening.
LLL Prediction - Away win

Getafe (17th) v Osasuna (14th)
This crucial clash at the Coliseum is the match being honoured by LLL’s attentions on Sunday, when all matches kick off at the same time. This obviously means you should expect Monday’s review of the weekend’s action to be sketchier and even more made-up than normal.
LLL suspects that Zaragoza will win their home game at Espanyol, so Getafe will have to pull something out of the bag against Osasuna. As if the awful performance in the 4-0 loss to Real Madrid on Tuesday wasn't bad enough, Getafe had even more bad news during the week when it was reported that their captain and leading scorer Manu del Moral is set to leave for Sevilla for €4.5 million over the summer, despite president Angel Torres claiming that the new-fangled 'Team Dubai' version of the side would not be a selling club any more.
LLL Prediction - Home win

Sevilla (6th) v Real Sociedad (13th)
At 2-1 up with two minutes left of normal time, Sevilla were looking particularly comfy at Osasuna on Wednesday. But it was at that point that the defence fell to pieces and the home side came back to grab a mad-as-Marchena 3-2 victory and continue a woeful week for Sevilla that saw the side leaking nine goals in two matches.
One Sevilla player who at least partly enjoyed the game despite the eventual defeat was defender Ivica Dragutinovic, who played his first minutes of the season following a prolonged absence through injury. “On one hand I’m happy to be playing again after a year, but sad because we dropped three important points. The team are a bit down,” admitted the Serbian, who played the final eight minutes of normal time.
LLL Prediction - Home win

Zaragoza (18th) v Espanyol (8th)
This is a monster of a clash that pitches a home team needing a win to avoid relegation against visitors needing a victory to keep alive their hopes of a Europa League spot, which they can then moan about for much of the next campaign.
Zaragoza’s form has plummeted since the rather unexpected win against Real Madrid, with the Aragonese side suffering two defeats, suggesting that the players thought it was a case of 'job done' after the Bernabeu victory. This leaves them in the perilous situation of being doomed should they lose, Getafe win and Deportivo draw. However, the coach still believes the team can stay up. “I believe we can stay up,” announced Javier Aguirre, “We can’t throw in the towel.”
What will almost certainly be thrown-in on Sunday is footballs, with Zaragoza having a recent history of substitutes and ball boys lobbing them onto the pitch at certain moments to disrupt the attacks of the opposition in La Romareda.
LLL Prediction - Home win

Valencia (3rd) v Levante (12th)
LLL’s constant claims that Roberto Soldado is not much cop and, frankly, a lucky striker are looking weaker by the day, with the Valencia forward now on 17 goals for the season, with two in the last two games. However, the striker does still have his knockers on match days, as it were, with Canal Plus picking up on this spat Soldado had with a Valencia supporter who was berating the player for being a bit of a lazy bum during last Saturday’s victory over Real Sociedad.
LLL Prediction - Home win

Barcelona (1st) v Deportivo (16th)
Despite winning the league title for a third season running, the week wasn’t entirely a good one for Barcelona. UEFA have confirmed they will be opening disciplinary proceedings in response to accusations that Sergio Busquets racially abused Real Madrid's Marcelo during the Champions League semi-final clash at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 27.
But at least the midfielder will still be on this mortal coil to face the charges, which looked like possibly not being the case during the team’s return flight from Levante, when the pilot had to ask the boisterously celebrating players not to mess with the emergency exits shortly before take-off.
LLL Prediction - Home win

Athletic Bilbao (5th) v Málaga (10th)
Málaga’s arrival on 45 points - which technically doesn’t quite guarantee survival - cost the club’s owners €3 million in bonuses according to Sport, with €150,000 being doled-out to each player as reward for having avoided the drop.
It seems there could be more expensive splurging to come, with Málaga’s sporting director José Carlos Pérez boasting that “the budget for next year is very important, around €50m in signings to reinforce the team with players of the highest level.”
LLL Prediction - Home win

Sporting (15th) v Racing Santander (9th)
The once safe Sporting were dragged back into the relegation mess after taking just two points from a nine game period in which most of their relegation rivals decided that winning matches may actually not be too bad an idea.
However, LLL suspects that this match might be a home win and 46 points for Sporting with the very safe Racing visiting and their coach, Marcelino, revealing that “I’m a member of Sporting and Racing. I say everything with this. I hope both stay up now.”
LLL Prediction - Home win

Atlético Madrid (7th) v Hércules (19th)
A nice bit of in-fighting to end Atlético Madrid’s season seems par for the course, with the feud between Diego Forlán and Quique Sánchez Flores reportedly coming to a head on Tuesday night after post-match comments made by the Rojiblanco boss on Forlán’s performance that the touchy striker evidently failed to take in his stride.
AS reported big rows both after the game and on Wednesday during a tense pre-training dressing room meeting.
“After I invited Forlán to have his say, he spoke for a bit. Then I spoke again and at the end I let the players speak. They said nothing, so we went out and trained,” claimed Quique on Thursday saying it was all much ado about nothing.”
LLL Prediction - Home win