Will Barça mess up against Mallorca?
About three weeks ago, BarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂs voyage to the Balearics to take on Mallorca in the semi-final second leg of the Spanish Cup was set to be the creamiest of cakewalks, the lightest of snacks, heck, a match so easy-peasy that even Alexander Hleb would be given a go.
Instead, WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs clash could be a very nervy affair indeed, with PepÃ¢ÂÂs Dream Boys having to prove to the watching world that theyÃ¢ÂÂre still rock stars and have still got their rock moves.
The tick in the positive points column for the Catalan club ahead of the game is that they carry a 2-0 lead to the Ono Estadi, although the memory of being 5-2 up against Getafe before losing 4-0 two years ago is still frighteningly fresh in the collective culÃÂ© mind.
The big factor working against the league leaders is the hysterical, God-help-us-if-thereÃ¢ÂÂs-a-war, wobbling-upper-lip local press, who have got their panties in a big old bunch over their teamÃ¢ÂÂs recent football form.
"CRISIS!Ã¢ÂÂ screamed SportÃ¢ÂÂs headline on Monday. Ã¢ÂÂWhatÃ¢ÂÂs going on?!Ã¢ÂÂ was the bawling banner a day later.
Mundo Deportivo chose to unleash an extremely rare attempt at humour by boasting that Ã¢ÂÂBarcelona will still win the titleÃ¢ÂÂ before adding Ã¢ÂÂif they donÃ¢ÂÂt, then weÃ¢ÂÂll give Madrid the front cover.Ã¢ÂÂ
SportÃ¢ÂÂs inky-fingered analysis attempts to worm away into the root causes of BarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs sorry slump and blames fatigue, a dodgy defence (i.e. VÃÂctor ValdÃÂ©s) and the lack of pressure on opposition midfields.
Valdes: Now you see it, etc
AS editor Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o compares BarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂs situation to that nightmare where your legs don't work as you are trying to run away from a terrifying, grotesque monster (in La Liga LocaÃ¢ÂÂs case, itÃ¢ÂÂs normally Roberto GÃÂ³mez).
Meanwhile, someone who really should know whatÃ¢ÂÂs going on in the culÃÂ© camp is Xavi, who has chin-stroked over the reasons for their run of three league matches without a win.
Ã¢ÂÂWe didnÃ¢ÂÂt beat Betis because of a miracle. Against Espanyol it was referees and against AtlÃÂ©tico it was bad luck,Ã¢ÂÂ opined the buck-passing BarÃÂ§a midfielder.
WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs tie kicks off at the traditional family-friendly time of 10pm against a Mallorca side that, to be diplomatic, are crap.
In fact, they are so inept that they have even launched a Ã¢ÂÂsometimes dreams come trueÃ¢ÂÂ poster campaign.
One man who is as popular on the island as an EasyJet stuffed with Strongbow-supping Scousers is Joan Ã¢ÂÂJoanÃ¢ÂÂ Laporta, after his attempts to flog Mallorca to Uzbekistan last summer.
"Dey do dough, don't dey dough" etc
It was Ã¢ÂÂethical and legalÃ¢ÂÂ claimed the King of Catalunya on Tuesday, denying that there was any conflict of interest in the move. Mainly because he stood to make a lot of money out of it.
WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs other Copa Del Rey tie sees Sevilla travelling to the city of Bilbao with a 2-1 lead to take on Athletic.
Rather like plucky minnows from Lincolnshire who are facing the likes of Fulham in the FA Cup, the city has been decked out in red and white stripes in anticipation of what they hope will be a famous comeback for the Basque club.
But it ainÃ¢ÂÂt going to happen, says opposition president JosÃÂ© Maria del Nido, who warns his opponents that Ã¢ÂÂSevilla are going to eat the lions.Ã¢ÂÂ And considering his club have won shedloads of stuff over the past few years, La Liga Loca is inclined to believe him.
WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs Marca demonstrates once again why just about everyone in Spain bar Real Madrid fans loathe RaÃÂºl so much. And it has nothing to do with his striking abilities Ã¢ÂÂ most footie fans will readily admit that he is one of the best forwards in Spanish football history.
Instead, itÃ¢ÂÂs the fact that he is treated as some kind of god-like presence in the game in Spain - a man who sh*ts gold, a player with healing hands, the Second Coming.
"Me? I've won? This is so unexpected"
The Madridista rag has given the forward their cheap-ass Ã¢ÂÂMarca LegendÃ¢ÂÂ award, which resembles a scrunched-up newspaper dumped in gold paint. Ã¢ÂÂHeÃ¢ÂÂs a living legend of football,Ã¢ÂÂ sighed the dailyÃ¢ÂÂs editorial on Wednesday.
The footballer, who is currently topping the table in their player of the season competition - the first of which was won, coincidentally, by RaÃÂºl last year - declared that Ã¢ÂÂwinning the Marca Legend award is more important than the Ballon dÃ¢ÂÂOr.Ã¢ÂÂ
SomeoneÃ¢ÂÂs pants are very much on fire. And it sure ainÃ¢ÂÂt the going-commando La Liga Loca.