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La Liga 2012, Week 13 preview and fixtures: Reality Setting in for Madrid

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Real Madrid are still struggling. They've managed to right the ship somewhat since the beginning of the year, but they haven't managed to pull back any points on Barcelona. And with Lionel Messi in rare form, Cristiano Ronaldo and company will need to pounce on every single opportunity to claw back.

David Ramos

Let's be fair to Real Madrid: they have managed to right the ship, to stop leaking points faster than, well, any leaking or sinking ship metaphor. But that hasn't helped them rebound to respectability in the Liga yet--the Champions League is a whole different thing--and Barcelona don't seem to be ceding any ground.

If Mourinho and company are going to get back in this thing, they'll need to grab any opportunity they can find. And that might come this week, with Barça traveling to the every-draw-prone Levante and Madrid traveling to a beatable Betis side.

Friday, November 23

Real Sociedad vs. Osasuna

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

Two overperforming sides; only one can win. Well I guess they can draw. But yeah, these guys are over performing--Rayo, especially, is sitting in seventh place right now. They're both good enough to stay up, don't get me wrong; I just see them as sitting on the wrong side of 12th place (which is where la Real is now, I guess).

Pick: 0-0.

Saturday, November 24

Rayo vs. Mallorca

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

Neither side has played quite as well as I would have liked; at the same time, that makes this whole prediction game a little more complicated. Hell, I still love Rayo.

Pick: 1-0 to Rayo.

Valldolid vs. Granada

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

This should be another fun one--Valladolid and Getafe managed to pound out an exciting game last week, and we can only expect things to be more open with notoriously up-and-down Granada in the mix.

Pick: 2-1 to Valladolid.

Málaga vs. Valencia

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

Another good match, and one to watch closely. Let's see where this Málaga side falls when they're up against tough competition--I'm never going to stop doubting them after this offseason, but they have consistently managed to prove me wrong.

Pick: 1-1.

Real Betis vs. Real Madrid

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

Betis has been a surprise this season--well, except last game, where they trounced by Sevilla 5-1. But overall I still think this season has gone relatively well for them. And they'll want to find some redemption in front of their hometown fans. This could be a little more tricky for Madrid than we might imagine.

Pick: 1-3 to Real Madrid.

Sunday, November 25

Espanyol vs. Getafe

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

I'm still in on Espanyol, no matter what things like "the table" and "reality" tell me.

Pick: 1-0 to Espanyol.

Athletic Bilbao vs. Deportivo

(17:00 CET, 11:00 AM EST)

I buy Athletic charging back, despite the rumors about the team basically being rebuilt. I don't think they're quite as bad as they've been and have at least one more run in them.

Pick: 1-1.

Atletico Madrid vs. Sevilla

(19:00 CET, 1:00 PM EST)

Now this, ladies and gents, is a game: Atleti are desperately clinging to a tie for first in the Liga, while Sevilla are on fire after their demolition of Betis last week. If Radamel Falcao is as good as this season suggests he is, then step back because his value is only going to explode.

Pick: 2-3 to Sevilla.

Levante vs. Barcelona

(21:00 CET, 3:00 PM EST)

I'm not saying that I expect Barça to drop points. I don't. What I am saying is that Levante is a very easy place to drop points if you've been cruising--they play tough, they play defensively, and it takes more than a token effort to beat them. So yeah, I'm not saying; but I'm saying, if you know what I mean.

Pick: 1-2 to Barça.

Monday, November 26

Zaragoza vs. Celta

(21:00 CET, 3:00 PM EST)

Agh, I'm honestly not sure how much of this one I'll be able to stomach. Wake me up when it's 2001 again and I'll be totally into these teams.

Pick: 1-2 to Celta.