Spanish La Liga 2011, Week 7 Preview And Fixtures: Real Madrid And Barcelona Host Bottom Feeders

La Liga is back, and boy have we missed it here in Spain. And by "we" I mean "me," because I'm tired of the Spanish National Team. So bring on the in-fighting!

It's almost disheartening to watch Spain play international soccer. I mean, I've been a fan all my life, am a proud half-Spaniard, and have shed blood (bar fight in 2008) and tears (World Cup 2010) over the team. But I'm honestly going through a bit of a post-2004 Red Sox thing since the World Cup...and, well, there's nothing like some good, old-fashioned, inter-Spanish trash-talking to turn things around. 

Saturday, October 15

Real Madrid vs. Real Betis 

18:00 CET (12:00 PM EST)

Unfortunately, the whole "is Betis really for really the best team in Primera?!?!" thing washed away last weekend time we played any la Liga football. Oh, and Gonzalo Higuaín scored six goals in two matches (one for Madrid, one for Argentina). How do you say "not happening" in whatever dialect they speak in Seville? (Note: that was a joke)

Pick: 4-1 to Madrid.

Mallorca vs. Valencia

18:00 CET (12:00 PM EST)

I don't completely buy Valencia's 2011 season. At the same time, I really don't buy Mallorca at all. But they seem pretty intent on defending everywhere...(Oh, and doesn't Sergio Canales look like Justin Bieber--er, I mean, Emma Watson?)

Pick: 0-1 to Valencia. I wouldn't put any money on this one though.

Getafe vs. Villarreal

18:00 CET (12:00 PM EST)

See above, I guess. At some point, things have to turn around for Villarreal...right? Right? They're not this bad, right? Crickets.

Pick: 1-2 to Villarreal, but only because...they're really not this bad.

FC Barcelona vs. Racing Santander

20:00 CET (2:00 PM EST)

Barça is pretty susceptible to the "FIFA virus," but this time they have the FIFA antivirus, Andrés Iniesta, coming to save them from...a terrible Racing side? In all seriousness, Pep Guardiola did use the phrase "antivirus" when referencing Iniesta. 

Pick: 1-0 to Barça, thank god for "The Antivirus" (nickname?)

Granada vs. Atlético Madrid

22:00 CET (4:00 EST)

I feel like Atleti is finally rounding in to form. Well, by "Atleti" I mean "Radamel Falcao," and by "form" I mean "scoring goals." Still, Granada is pretty much a lock to descend this year, soooo

Pick: 1-1 tricked ya! Atleti suck. Sorry guys. 

Sunday, October 16

Rayo Vallecano vs. Espanyol

12:00 CET (6:00 AM EST)

Did you know that the Spanish national team has never played a match in Rayo's stadium in Vallecas, a working-class barrio of Madrid? As a third-level fan of Rayo, I find this insulting. And not the least bit shocking. Let's see if good ol' Raúl Tamudo will score against his old team!

Pick: 1-2 Espanyol, but hey, maybe Tamudo will grab one.

Real Zaragoza vs. Real Sociedad

16:00 CET (10:00 AM EST)

Oof. I miss the days where this matchup would've featured Diego Milito for Zaragoza blasting by Real's poster-children Nihat and Xabi Alonso. Wait, could that have ever happened? 

Pick: 1-1 goals from Nihat (free kick) and Diego Milito

Levante vs. Málaga

18:00 CET (12:00 PM EST)

Well, Málaga's epic come-from-behind victory against Getafe is sort of old news at this point (though Julio Baptista's epic bicycle kick winner might go down as the goal of the season), and they're back to playing against boring, defensive teams. Which leads us to Levante, a team that is universally disliked because of their dirty defending. Ironically, this dirty defending is what has made them top of the table. 

Pick: 0-2 to Málaga, though I think I've been wrong on every single Málaga match this season.

Sporting vs. Sevilla

22:00 CET (4:00 PM EST)

No matter what some random semi-relevant "poll" has to say, I can't believe that Sevilla is the most-disliked team in Spain. No way. I mean, as a Real Madrid fan, I'm insulted that anyone would hate Sevilla more than Madrid. Come on. But hey, they're pretty fun to watch still, especially with Álvaro Negredo doing his "I'm a monstrous m-effng beast" routine.

Pick: 1-3 to Sevilla, because I still think Jesús Navas is the next big thing (four years later).

Monday, October 17

Athletic Club Bilbao vs. Osasuna

21:00 CET (3:00 PM EST)

Normally, I hate watching Osasuna play: they're a boring, defensive team, known for their lackluster attacking and tight-knit, violent defending (especially at home). But you know what? I'm kind of excited to seem them try to stop Fernando Llorente. What a god of a man. 

Pick: 2-0 to Bilbao.

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