La Liga 2012, Week 3 Preview And Matches: Let's Get Down To Business!

MADRID, SPAIN - AUGUST 29: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Leo Messi of FC Barcelona react during the Supercopa second leg match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on August 29, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Let's get down to business / to defeat *BUH-DUM* the [insert rival team]s! / Did they send me [insert rival team mascot]s when I asked for [insert your team mascot]s? / You're the saddest bunch I ever met, so get up, go home you're through / How could I make a [your team's mascot] our of you?!

The first few weeks of la Liga never seem to be real: none of the teams that you'd expect are ever at the top (I'm pretty sure Betis was around 1 or 2 last year, with Levante close behind), and it seems like all the best players are trying to sleep off a long summer hangover.

This year, with the EuroCup and the Olympics packed into the same summer, it feels like we didn't get a break--and that some teams, most notably Real Madrid, are taking one now.

But with the SuperCopa over, and Madrid claiming a triumphant victory--sorta--it's about time to get back to the deeply serious business of relaying game information to you and then making nonsensical "predictions" about what is going to happen in games that, to be completely honest, only border on being watchable. I don't blame myself or you or anyone except the [this part of the article was redacted by vote of the LFP working as a dummy for the interests of Barcelona and Real Madrid].

Saturday, September 1

Celta Vigo vs. Osasuna

(16:00 CET, 10:00 AM EST)

Celta have made a nice go of it so far, and I'd go as far as to say that they might not be certainly relegated this year.

Pick: 1-2 to Osasuna.

Zaragoza vs. Málaga

(18:00 CET, 12:00 PM EST)

Hey! Málaga aren't quite as bad as I thought they'd be. And in this Liga, that might be good enough for third place! Zaragoza, however, remain awful.

Pick: 1-2 to Málaga.

Deportivo la Coruña vs. Getafe

(20:00 CET, 2:00 PM EST)

Getafe, having reached the unprecedented heights of beating Real Madrid at home--perhaps the best thing they will do all year--will probably crash backdown to earth soon enough. Depor, on the other hand, need help staying afloat.

Pick: 1-1

Mallorca vs. Real Sociedad

(22:00 CET, 4:00 PM EST)

Hey, it's a Saturday afternoon--what else are you going to do? You know what would make this game better? If we could just put Samuel Eto'o back on Mallorca, and bring people like Nihat and Xabi Alonso back to La Real, and just hash it out.

Pick: 0-1 to la Real.

Sunday, September 2

Rayo Vallecano vs. Sevilla

(12:00 CET, 6:00 AM EST)

The early morning game is back, people! And if you think I'm waking up at 5:55 to watch this game on my last weekend before law school starts for real, you have another thing coming. Maybe if Zaragoza were playing I'd reconsider...

Pick: 1-1.

Athletic Bilbao vs. Valladolid

(16:00 CET, 10:00 AM EST)

Ah, Bilbao. Not great. But can't you imagine what they're going to do with that cool €40 million they pocketed in the Javi Martinez deal? No, me neither. Seriously, can you tell me?

Pick: 2-0 to Athletic.

Levante vs. Espanyol

(18:00 CET, 12:00 PM EST)

The question on literally no one's mind: can Levante repeat their performance from last season? Answer: wait, where are you going? This is a good question!

Pick: 0-0 to Levante.

Real Madrid vs. Granada

(19:50 CET, 1:50 PM EST)

I fully expect Madrid to rebound heavily against Granada in the Bernabéu. And for Michael Essien to play some minutes. Maybe.

Pick: 4-0 to Madrid.

Barcelona vs. Valencia

(21:30 CET, 3:30 PM EST)

The game of the weekend, though I doubt it will end up that way: when's the last time Barça dropped more than one game in a row? (Oh, right, last year). Still, they won't be held down for long, I have no doubt that Valencia will be snuffed out quickly and efficiently.

Pick: 3-1 to Barça.

Wednesday, September 5

Atlético Madrid vs. Real Betis

(21:30 CET, 3:30 PM EST)

Why's this game on Wednesday, you ask? Good question, I respond. Because Atleti played in the Europa League final on Friday, I reason. Well reasoned, you respond.

Pick: 0-0. When's the last time Atleti had a series of really good games in a row?

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