This is going to have to be a quickie, said the actor to the whomsoever. That’s because I’m in a hotel room in Tallin (Estonia) and they’re going to kick me out in about an hour. Don’t worry – there’s no actor in the room, but a sleepy Whatsapp from Eduardo as I munched on my brekkies this morning was pleading with me to do this….so I will, before the flight to Spain this afternoon.
Of course I’m getting on a flight later because tomorrow night it’s the Basque derby in Anoeta and wild horses wouldn’t drag me away, but more of that later. Oh, and before I start with the footy, Tallin is a wonderful city. I’ve been before, but it really is spectacular. I’d been working over on the eastern border in the rather less spectacular Narva, but the Russian wi-fi was good enough to let me watch Thursday’s Celta v Real Sociedad game on streaming. The joys of travel again.
And last night, back in Tallin, I visited the Depeche Mode Theme Bar (I couldn’t resist), where all the drinks are the band’s song titles and their concert videos are played on an endless loop. No wonder the bar staff looked pissed off. I had a ‘Personal Jesus’ cocktail, which set me back 7 euros, but anyway, all in an evening’s entertainment. Now – it’s looking like a good weekend in La Liga, and someone may hear your prayers so….lift up the receiver and I’ll make you a believer.
Remember, it’s ‘1’ for a home win, ‘X’ for a draw and ‘2’ for an away win.
1. Elche (15th) vs Real Madrid (2nd): X. (Sat, 14:00)
Elche are better than they look, and Real Madrid not as good as they look? Controversial? Of course. For me it’s a classic draw situation, even though Elche haven’t won in their last three.
2. Sevilla (3rd) vs Osasuna (7th): X. (Sab, 14:15)
Tricky one this, but folks are finding Arrasate’s Osasuna a hard-balled act. Ask Real Madrid and Villarreal. 5 games without defeat, Sevilla’s skittish form might convert this into a major challenge. Another draw for me.
3. Valencia (11th) vs Villarreal (13th): 1. (Sat, 18:30)
Ah – the two ‘V’ match. Well Valencia are starting to decline after their barnstorming start under the Great Satan Bordalás, and Villarreal, despite everyone saying that they’re the best side in Spain, Europe and the cosmos, seem to be intent on proving them wrong. For that reason alone, home win. Valencia will be looking to bounce back from their midweek Betis disaster.
4. Barcelona (9th) vs Alavés (16th): 1. (Sat, 21:00)
There’ll be time enough to write about the Camp Nou clusterfuck, but for these kind of clubs, hope is always suspiciously on the horizon. Koeman has gone, and the world awaits the saviour Xavi – Barça’s own personal Jesus. Well, he needs to free himself from Al-Saad first, but he probably will. Al-Saad almost signed my son once, but I’ll save that for another day. Will the prospect of a returning Xavi save Barça from an improving Alavés? Whatever….freed from the glowering Dutchman, they should have enough to scrape a win and get the faithful believing again. Home win.
5. Cádiz (8th) vs Mallorca (12th): X. (Sun- 14:00)
Cádiz are looking pretty poor, and Mallorca a bit better. Then again, Cádiz did get a morale-boosting draw in midweek at pretty-poor Villarreal. You want a deep analysis with the cleaner knocking on my door? Come on! Draw.
6. Atlético Madrid (6th) vs Betis (4th): 1. (Sun- 14:15)
Could be the game of the weekend, and the in-form visitors will be looking forward to it more than the hosts. Tricky one this….but it’s the sort of game where Simeone’s lot tend to come good. It’ll be a cracker, I’m sure, but my bones tell me a home win, despite the last two draws from Atlético. Betis are great, but prone to sudden collapses. Atlético don’t do collapses, despite everything.
7. Getafe (20th) vs Espanyol (10th): X. (Sun – 18:30)
Getafe are not in a good place, and nobody seems to care very much. That’s probably a bit harsh, but there you go. 3 points from 33 tells you everything you need to know, and Espanyol have their tails up, in their brand-new dawn. However, they’re not entirely definable yet and I don’t think Getafe are dead just yet. Draw again.
8. Real Sociedad (1st) vs Athletic (8th): X. (Sun – 21:00)
Well I’ll be back for this one, but I don’t think that the hosts will win it. Athletic are playing better than their recent results suggest and have been a bit unlucky. Real are showing a toughness this season that hasn’t always been their insignia, but Athletic know them too well. They’re all quite matey in social circles, and it’s enough to put Real off, despite the added attraction of maybe extending their lead at the top. Whatever, the fact the hosts are top after such an injury-fated season so far also tells you something. I hope I’m wrong but I still reckon it’s another draw.
9. Rayo (5th) vs Celta (14th): 2. (Mon – 18:30)
Rayo are the revelation side so far, and long may it continue. Celta are simply Celta – as witnessed in midweek with their inability to score or to turn their half-decent play into results. Ed’s given up on them but I haven’t, not just yet. I’m going for the weekend surprise result. Rayo are getting carried away, but there were aspects of Celta’s defeat to Sociedad in midweek which suggest they’ll bounce back. Away win, You read it here.
10. Levante (19th) vs Granada (17th): 1. (Mon – 21:00)
It’s that Monday night nobody-cares fixture, but here at Liga Fever we care about everybody, of course, particularly the unfortunate. Levante, like Getafe, are still winless, but they have managed 6 draws and they play quite decently. I can’t see them staying down there, and Granada for me have the look of relegation candidates this season. They couldn’t even beat Getafe in midweek. Home win.
1. Elche (15th) vs Real Madrid (2nd): X (Sat, 14:00)
2. Sevilla (3rd) vs Osasuna (7th): X (Sab, 14:15)
3. Valencia (11th) vs Villarreal (13th): 1 (Sat, 18:30)
4. Barcelona (9th) vs Alavés (16th): 1 (Sat, 21:00)
5. Cádiz (8th) vs Mallorca (12th): X (Sun- 14:00)
6. Atlético Madrid (6th) vs Betis (4th): 1 (Sun- 14:15)
7. Getafe (20th) vs Espanyol (10th): X (Sun – 18:30)
8. Real Sociedad (1st) vs Athletic (8th): X (Sun – 21:00)
9. Rayo (5th) vs Celta (14th): 2 (Mon – 18:30)
10. Levante (19th) vs Granada (17th): 1 (Mon – 21:00)