Spanish La Liga 2011, Week 12 Preview And Fixtures: Real Madrid Clash With Valencia In Marquee Matchup

Real Madrid take on Valencia in the first big test for José Mourinho's side in 2011-2012. And hey! Sevilla play Athletic Bilbao in the under-the-radar match of the week. Isn't real, professional football fun?

La Liga is back, and not a moment too soon: the scheduling gods at the LFP decided to give us a little treat this weak, giving us a Valencia-Real Madrid derby. This may also be a cleverly-disguised ruse to trick us into thinking that the LFP actually knows what it's doing--I'm on to you--considering that they don't release the times when the matches are scheduled to be played until a couple weeks in advance. Not a lot of time to schedule a TV lineup, is it?

Saturday, November 19

Villarreal vs. Real Betis 

18:00 CET (12:00 PM EST)

A nice-and-easy home matchup against a quickly-falling just-ascended team should be just the potion for Villarreal to get their season back on track. ...right? Is Giuseppe Rossi still hurt?

Pick: 2-0 to Villarreal. Come on, Betis can't score. 

FC Barcelona vs. Real Zaragoza

20:00 CET (2:00 PM EST)

Well, Barça has always been mediocre after international breaks, Spain's attack looked terrible this week (and we all know Barcelona owns the Spanish midfield), and Leo Messi might be tired. So, what, five goals? Six?

Pick: 5-0 to Barça. Zaragoza is bad. Really bad. 

Valencia vs. Real Madrid

22:00 CET (4:00 PM EST)

I know, I know. This is a big, BIG match. But...Valencia has a questionable defense, likes to attack, and Mourinho hasn't lost in Mestalla. Sure, it might be about time for Madrid to lose to Valencia (or Atleti...), but somehow I see a lot of counter-attack goals in los blancos' future, especially considering Mesut Özil's form over the weekend. 

Pick: 2-4 to Madrid, but hey, maybe we'll see a terrible 0-0 draw or something. 

Sunday, November 20

Real Sociedad vs. Espanyol

12:00 CET (6:00 AM EST)

Aaaand we're back to normal, as one of the worst games of the week is shunted to the morning slot. But at least the Asian markets will enjoy the always-famous "we both wear blue-and-white kits" derby.

Pick: 1-2 to Espanyol.

Osasuna vs. Rayo Vallecano

16:00 CET (10:00 AM EST)

OK, so Rayo has genuinely surprised me this season. They've had a couple of fantastic--and really shocking--wins, and some brutal losses. What will we get this time? 

Pick: 0-0! HA! You thought I was going to pick a win or a loss! 

Sporting vs. Getafe

16:00 CET (10:00 AM EST)

Did you know that Spain is the professional soccer league with the most 0-0 draws in the entire world? 

Pick: 0-0. 

Sevilla vs. Athletic Bilbao

18:00 CET (12:00 PM EST)

The under-rated game of the week. Everyone will be spend their energy on Valencia-Real Madrid, but this game might turn out to be just as much fun. Oh, and how badly did Spain need Fernando Llorente against England? (Really, really badly). Come on, Vicente. 

Pick: 2-3 to Athletic. Bold pick, considering Sevilla should be favored.

Atlético Madrid vs. Levante

20:00 CET (2:00 PM EST)

Dude, how bad is Atleti? It's officially time for me to step up and admit being completely, horribly wrong about them. They're going to spend the season floundering in the middle of the table, make a desperate, late-season push to try to get into the Europa League, and then not. Ho-hum.

Pick: 0-0. No Radamel Falcao? Please. 

Granada vs. Mallorca

22:00 CET (4:00 PM EST)

In all seriousness, just watch the NFL. 

Pick: 1-1.

Monday, November 21

Racing Santander vs. Málaga

21:00 CET (3:00 PM EST)

How cool would it be if Málaga signed recently-dismissed-from-his-Turkish-side Guti in time for this match? Then they could round out their side of over-the-hill Real Madrid and Valencia cast-offs by signing Iván Helguera. (A cursory Wikipedia-check of Iván Helguera has informed me that he retired to focus on his cycling...well, we know that he's still in good shape then, right?)

Pick: 3-1 to Sevilla. 

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