Big Weekend Preview: The records-free special edition
La Liga Loca is done with records for the moment. Cristiano Ronaldo set to score 180 strikes this season. Messi shattering two milestones in a week. Carlo Ancelotti looking to make history with 16 wins in a row for Madrid. Bah Humbug! Therefore there is barely a mention for the Big Two in this week’s editor-infuriating cheeky preview. Instead, let’s hear it for the little guys and what some other teams are playing for this weekend.
ELSEWHERE IN España
Will Nuno be true to his word against Barcelona?
Like a puppy dog poking around a bee-hive, Valencia were stung to whimpering pieces by last weekend’s derby defeat to Levante, a match that should have been a cinch for this new confident, swaggering version of the team. Perhaps sensing the dark clouds of self doubt on Valencia’s horizon of destiny, coach Nuno has gone for broke in his prediction of Sunday’s clash of the weekend against Barcelona. Not only did the Portuguese coach reveal that Alvaro Negredo was sure to play, he also said that Barça would not prevail in Mestalla. “This team will not lose two games in a row. I repeat this as I have complete conviction in this,” announced Nuno to radio Marca.
Valencia v Barcelona: Sunday 21.00 CET
Are we seeing the reborn days of Dull Depor?
Lord of Doom, Miguel Angel Lotina, made the mistake of shutting up shop with a 10-man defence in the team’s relegation season. Víctor Fernández might be heading in the same direction with Deportivo now favouring a five-man defence, which has produced three goalless draws in the past four matches.
To be fair, it is probably a good idea this weekend with a visit to the Vicente Calderón on the agenda in a match that might be a bit of a grind for the spectators in the Madrid capital.
Atlético Madrid v Deportivo: Sunday 12.00 CET
Will Pedro León finally get on the pitch?
In the 107 years that LLL has been up and running - and looking good despite all those decades - one of its core objectives has been to make Getafe seem exciting.
That is quite a tall order considering the general less-than-exhilarating nature of the team. However, over the years the blog has told tall tales of the great sinkhole disaster of 1923, 1967‘s terrapin invasion, the day that 40 decibel mark was broken by the crowd and now the saga of Pedro León.
It’s a story that is almost over as the footballer who has been restored to the squad by a judge’s order after being dropped for breaking a salary cap, is going to be the squad that faces Athletic on Saturday.
“We are going to see how the match goes the let’s see if he gets on the pitch or not,” said manager Cosmin Contra on Thursday. LLL fancies those chances as Getafe are going to have a tough time against Athletic Bilbao, who are back in business both in La Liga and also the Champions League with a midweek win over Shakhtar, to give them a chance of delightful Europa League football in the new year.
Getafe v Athletic: Saturday 16.00 CET
Can demands of Moyes come true against Elche?
Despite language barriers, unfamiliarity with La Liga, rain, caterpillars, or what other blocks might be thrown into the path of David Moyes and Real Sociedad on Friday, the clash against Elche should be an easy homer. The opposition are going through a bit of off-the-field rigmarole over finances - and court cases against the president - while Moyes has had another week to focus on how to pronounce his squad. “I want a Real that is exciting, fast, dedicated and convincing,” was the demand of the Scottish coach ahead of Friday's game.
Real Sociedad v Elche: Friday 20.45 CET
Will Granada actually score a goal?
Now LLL is one of the biggest supporters of Joaquín Caparrós, but ever since last season’s stint at Levante, the manager who once shaped great Sevilla and Athletic sides has been a little defensive in his football stylings. Caparrós himself might argue that this is the best way to keep rubbish sides in La Primera like Levante. However, this excuse may not wash for much longer at Granada, a team with supporters that like a bit of swagger in their football.
Hence the disappointment of the last two games against Almería and Celta Vigo being goalless draws, and just the single strike managed in five matches now. The handy thing about Sunday is that Sevilla these days are a soft enough touch to reverse this steady dull decline for the club, even in the Sánchez Pizjuán.
Sevilla v Granada: Sunday 17.00 CET
Is the Espanyol coach playing for his job?
The quick answer is probably not. Espanyol tend to be one of those sides like Getafe that always seem to dig out a decent result just when the abyss is beckoning. Nevertheless, the poor Pericos are five matches without a victory now, and needing something rather special against a visiting Levante. “It’s not a final, but three big points to give us confidence,” says Sergio García refusing to get too carried away with the doom and gloom.
Espanyol v Levante: Saturday 18.00 CET
Can Córdoba finally get a win?
LLL certainly hopes so - no offense to the delightful Villarreal - but it is going to be a tall order against the Yellow Submarine. The team have yet to pick up three points all season, keep on blowing leads and letting in late goals. This the squad a little down in the dumps, says midfielder Borja García. “We are pretty down about what happened in the last game,” said the Real Madrid loanee, reflecting on the 2-2 draw with Elche.
Córdoba v Villarreal: Sunday 17.00 CET