Right before 20:00 on Thursday, I went to pick up a package — a book on Spain’s 2nd republic — at the post office. Parked across the street, got my book in less than two minutes, went back to the car, opened the trunk and discovered that my laptop wasn’t there anymore.
You can probably imagine the ensuing madness. The laptop in question is in fact my employer’s property, and contained most of the work I’ve done in the last four years. But for some reason, all I could think of was “Shite, I was almost done with the (expletive) Quiniela!”.
I spent the following hours trying to solve some of the bureaucratic issues that this type of event triggers. What you’ll find here is a very quick summary of what I had written in the previous days, together with my valuable recommendation, something coming from the bottom of my heart: lock your cars, ladies and gentlemen.
Shall we? Remember, it’s ‘1’ for a home win, ‘X’ for a draw and ‘2’ for an away win.
- Getafe (9th) vs Athletic de Bilbao (12th): X. (Fri, 21:00)
In the previous version of this Quiniela I spent 300 words explaining that there are no reasons to favour either team. I’ll spare you that.
- Espanyol (14th) vs Sevilla (6th): 1. (Sat, 13:00)
Despite their lowish position on the rankings, Espanyol are better than you’d think, especially at Cornella, where they have defeated Atletico and Barcelona (Copa del Rey, last Wednesday) this season. Montella needs more time with Sevilla, although his win at the Wanda Metropolitano could make some harbour hopes of the visitors getting a result in Barcelona. Not me.
- Atlético de Madrid (2nd) vs Girona (10th): 1. (Sat, 16:15)
Love the new Atletico, even when they lose. Well, perhaps especially when they lose. But they’ll win on Saturday, against Manchester City’s subsidiary in Catalonia. Surprisingly, I find more similarities in the way Girona and Atletico play than between ManCity and Girona. Who would have thought?
- Villarreal (5th) vs Levante (16th): 1. (Sat- 18:30)
The hosts played so well at the Santiago Bernabeu that it’s hard to single out one team member. However, let me do just that: pay attention to Rodrigo, a young defensive midfielder with one of the most stylish passing techniques I’ve seen in a while. It’s a pity to think that Atletico, the team that rejected Rodri a few years ago, could end up bringing him back to the Wanda. We don’t want Diego Simeone to get his hands on another extremely talented midfielder, just to have him running up and down non-stop.
That said, this is a ‘1’.
- UD Las Palmas (20th) vs Valencia (3rd): 2. (Sat- 20:45)
This would be an intriguing duel between Paco Jemez and Marcelino Garcia if the former had the right personnel. However, the differences in fitness, skill and especially morale are brutal. Valencia will score a few, no doubt. And just in case you were wondering, for this half of ligafever, Marcelino would always get the nod over Jemez.
- Alavés (17th) vs Leganés (13th): 1. (Sun – 12:00)
Coach Abelardo has achieved the unthinkable: Alaves have won their last three at home without conceding a single goal and they’re now out of the relegation zone. They can keep that streak alive if they take advantage of Leganes’ likely tiredness after they played and lost to Real Madrid on Thursday evening. By the way, pay attention to the amazingly wide range of different fouls that Leganes’ Unai Bustinza can employ in just 90 minutes. Remarkable.
- Real Madrid (4th) vs Deportivo (18th): 1. (Sun – 16:15)
Not only does the team look lost, but also Zinedine Zidane’s decision-making does not make much sense either. His line-ups have become the opposite of what made last season’s squad so deep and motivated.
That said, if your team needs a win, very few other sides in La Liga look as out of shape as Deportivo does right now. If Villarreal win on Saturday, the pressure on Real Madrid come Sunday could be huge, as the team would need to win in order to keep the fourth position. No need to describe the financial disaster that a non-classification for the Champions League next season would mean for Florentino Perez & co.
- Real Sociedad (15th) vs Celta (11th): 2. (Sun – 18:30)
There’s a ranking I check from time to time: number of goals that any fan watching team X would have seen. To calculate that, you only have to add goals scored and conceded for each club. Those teams are usually fun to watch, although they often frustrate their own followers. Betis lead that ranking with 69, followed closely by Real Sociedad (67). Barcelona are third with 61 (obviously because they score a lot more than anyone else), and Celta rank fourth with 60.
Therefore this match and the following one should provide us with plenty of goals. In this case, and despite Real Sociedad’s outstanding first 40 minutes against Barcelona, this column believes that the team from San Sebastian don’t deserve our confidence, while Celta arrive in Anoeta looking as good as they have in the season so far.
- Betis (7th) vs Barcelona (1st): 2. (Sun – 20:45)
Nothing is off the cards in this one. However, the most likely outcome is Barcelona scoring 5+ goals in Sevilla, as a statement after their midweek defeat in Cornella. Betis can’t defend to save their lives, so Barcelona only need a mildly interested Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi to wreak havoc in the Benito Villamarin.
- Eibar (8th) vs Malaga (19th): 1. (Mon-21:00)
Michel is finally out. He left Malaga with 11 points out of a potential 57, a maddening legacy. His replacement, Jose Gonzalez, says that “Real professionals enjoy challenges”, but this one looks like one of those that you can only accept with a huge check on the table. Gonzalez saved Granada two seasons ago, but he needs some time to get going, and Eibar will be all over Malaga to get another three points in their quest for a top-ten finish.
Last week: 4/10 (40%)
Season: 64/139 (45%)
- Getafe (9th) vs Athletic de Bilbao (12th):
- Espanyol (14th) vs Sevilla (6th):
- Atlético de Madrid (2nd) vs Girona (10th):
- Villarreal (5th) vs Levante (16th):
- UD Las Palmas (20th) vs Valencia (3rd):
- Alavés (17th) vs Leganés (13th):
- Real Madrid (4th) vs Deportivo (18th):
- Real Sociedad (15th) vs Celta (11th):
- Betis (7th) vs Barcelona (1st):
- Eibar (8th) vs Malaga (19th):