The whiney weekend preview - Round 37

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Zaragoza (16th) v Real Madrid (1st)

To prevent any sneaky shenanigans or any on the field funny business, all matches this weekend will kick off on Sunday. At 9pm.

Meaning a quarter of a million or so people will be flopping onto their sofas sometime past midnight having left their stadium seats at 11pm. Or 10.15, if Real Madrid were at home.

What's wrong with 7pm TV / League / FA / whoever people? Or maybe a cheeky Saturday night round of action when a nice lie-in is possible the next day?

Or do you take perverse pleasure in seeing sleep-deprived zombies on our streets? Or get your kicks from watching 30,000 poor souls desperately trying to get the last bus home? If the latter's the case they would have loved the Copa del Rey this year.

Moan over. Away win.

Betis (12th) v Sevilla (5th)

Just one more 'waffa-thin' point will see Real Betis mathematically save this season  and it will also make, former boss, Héctor Cúper some 150,000 euros richer.

That's because the pre-Paco coach had a survival bonus written into his Betico contract - a contract surprisingly lacking a section concerning what might happen should he not be in charge of the side come the end of the campaign. 

However, having a bonus written into his contract and actually getting paid it is an entirely different matter knowing Darth de Lopera.

Meanwhile, Sevilla's current hero of the hour Fazio has said that they will be travelling into the dragon's den on Sunday night to play an especially motivated Betis. "They will want to save their season by stopping us going into the Champions League," predicted Wednesday night's brace-bagger.

Away win.

Valladolid (15th) v Getafe (14th)

May whatever deity that created Manu del Moral be blessed as the Getafe man's super strike on Wednesday looks like saving the skins of Michael Laudrup's men. And a lesson to all the youngsters out there, it's all down to practice and the influence of a forceful father, says magic Manu.

"As a kid he told me I had to shoot with two feet if I wanted to be a top player." Definitely no English blood in him then.

Home win.

Almería (10th) v Recreativo (17th)

The first of the expected departures from Andalusia has arrived with Marca reporting that handy midfielder Felipe Melo will be the first to jump from the Almería ship. The Brazilian is set to join Fiorentina for 12 million euros over the summer.

Recre's relegation-threatened squad has yet to attract such illustrious offers. Out of the drop zone by the skin of their teeth, the club has turned to the Almighty for help with the club president Francisco Mendoza making an offering to the local Virgin - an act fully supported by coach Manolo Zambrano: "Of course we believe in the Virgen del Rocio," he confirmed.

Home win.

Villarreal (2nd) v Espanyol (11th)

Guts, determination, steadfastness and passion - four characteristics lacking from Espanyol's performance on Thursday night, but four characteristics shown by Paul from Barcelona who stood through the whole Atlético affair at the Montjuic along with the other 17 spectators.

"What a shambles!!! The club is going nowhere fast and most of the players seem uninterested or should that be disinterested? or both? Well, enough about Barça, let's talk about an even worse Espanyol. (boom boom - LLL)

A dire match watched by no-one and played by two teams, one of whom seem to think fouling is a tactic, who are not very good. I edited this part because children might be reading.

Two howlers from Espanyol gave Atlético Madrid the points.

And that was it apart from Maxi nearly scoring from a Van Basten style volley and did I mention Atlético Madrid could have had any number of players sent off for two yellow cards. But like the other Madrid team they had luck/corruption on their side with refs this week. Dirty, dirty team.
1) Kun is not as good as Messi on this performance, not as good as Oleguer either.

2) Ewerthon should be arrested for impersonating a footballer.

3) My section of the crowd turned their back on the pitch second half. Ironically, even the protest was half arsed. This said more about the team than anything else.

4) There was a telly advertised in the match magazine for 40 grand, a printing error methinks. (Yes the match was that bad)

5) Guardiola, nice bloke, dream coach, if you are Real Madrid, Villarreal, Sevilla etc.

Paul, Barcelona.

Home win.

Levante (20th) v Valencia (13th)

Going straight into La Liga Loca's 'complete sods in Spanish football' top five chart is former Levante majority shareholder, Pedro Villarroel.

And he is joining some illustrious company - Jesus Gíl (manslaughter, corruption, theft, incompetence), Manuel Ruiz de Lopera (corruption, incompetence, Huskie-obsession), Juan Bautista Soler (jowly neck, dodgy 'tache, fiscal and all round idiocy) and José Maria del Nido (big gob, dubious business colleagues).

That's because of a square up between the squad who pinned down Villarroel at his offices and the big man himself on Thursday evening - all as reported in Marca.

Villarroel: "They are deceiving everyone. No-one wants to buy into the club. I left 2,000 million in the safe."

Squad: "You're a liar."

Villarroel: "The Valencia council are to blame for everything."

Rubiales - "Don't threaten us like when you were sending us messages."

Villarroel - "Do you believe in God?"

Rubiales - "Yes"

Villarroel - "Then, for sure, you are going to hell."

After Sergio's selfless support in the Deportivo match - a moment up there with the Liv Tyler trying to touch Bruce Willis through the TV screen at the end of Armageddon in its tear-jerking intensity - La Liga Loca can only imagine that these revelations will not go down at all well in the city of Valencia.

And curse you, other half of La Liga Loca, for the Arizmendi gag which this one never even considered.


Barcelona (2nd. Only kidding. 3rd) v Mallorca (7th)

Before the demolition derby between Real Madrid and Barcelona on Wednesday night, there was a rumour rumbling around that the Barça players were going to line up for their guard of honour in white t-shirts supporting Gaby Milito.

That was before Joan Laporta got wind of the wheeze, say Marca. The paper reports that the president stormed down to the dressing room to tell the players to wear their Barcelona shirts for the 'pasillo'. "We will do the guard of honour because they deserve it," barked the Rijkaard-ruining big wig.

Away win.

Osasuna (18th) v Murcia (19th)

The calamity and chaos of Osasuna's last gasp defeat at Mallorca on Wednesday night - and more accusations of refereeing funny business - has seen the normally calm and collected Osasuna president, Patxi Izco lose the footballing plot and don his silver-foil beanie hat to accuse the Mallorca players of having received outside support.

"I'm not saying (Mallorca) were given a bonus, but I am sure and convinced, knowing what I am talking about, that there were incentives," conspired Izco who claimed that Mallorca had nothing to play for. Aside from a UEFA cup place. Or maybe the Pichichi award.

Home win.

Athletic Bilbao (9th) v Racing Santander (6th)

Crime wave in Sweden says and it's the Old Bill at the heart of it!

Two police officers in northern Sweden are facing criminal charges after stealing a road sign as part of a practical joke, Expressen reports.

The two Jämtland officers dismantled a road sign from the village of Gubbträsk -- which can be translated literally as 'Codger's Mire' -- and hung it up outside the office of a colleague who was about to go into retirement.

According to prosecutor Pär G Lindell, the officers illegally removed a road sign worth 1,500 kronor ($245). If found guilty as charged, the officers risk losing their jobs, a potential course of action that has prompted protests from the police union.

"It was a so-called practical joke that got out of hand," said chairman Jan Karlsen.

One of the officers has also been charged with hiding a colleague's police car behind a pile of snow in December. But a police disciplinary committee did not view the latter joke as grounds for dismissal.

Home win.

Atlético Madrid (4th) v Deportivo (8th)

La Liga Loca just saw a poster advertising a march in Madrid for the legalisation of marijuana on Saturday evening. A march from Sol to Plaza de Oriente. Which is about 300 metres. Joke writes itself.