Previous
Leicester City
Manchester United
5
3
FT
Game Details
Tottenham Hotspur
West Bromwich Albion
0
1
FT
Game Details
Everton
Crystal Palace
2
3
FT
Game Details
Manchester City
Chelsea
1
1
FT
Game Details
Levante
Barcelona
0
5
FT
Game Details
VfL Wolfsburg
Bayer Leverkusen
4
1
FT
Game Details
Toronto FC
Chivas USA
3
0
FT
Game Details
Getafe
Valencia
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Wigan Athletic
Ipswich Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Chester City
Wrexham
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Spezia
Carpi
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Valenciennes
Clermont Foot
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Academica de Coimbra
Estoril
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FK Amkar Perm
Krasnodar
1:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FK Torpedo Moscow
Dinamo Moscow
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Istanbul Buyuksehir BSK
Trabzonspor
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bursaspor
Besiktas
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Defensa y Justicia
San Lorenzo
9:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Racing Club
Newell's Old Boys
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Douglas Haig
Guarini A. Franco
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Unión de Santa Fe
Huracán
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Santamarina
Patronato
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
River Plate
Fénix
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Shimizu S-Pulse
Gamba Osaka
5:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vegalta Sendai
Kashima Antlers
5:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Albirex Niigata
Urawa Red Diamonds
5:30 AM GMT
Game Details
FC Tokyo
Tokushima Vortis
6:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Yokohama F. Marinos
Sanfrecce Hiroshima
6:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Omiya Ardija
Kawasaki Frontale
6:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Next
Manchester CityManchester City
ChelseaChelsea
1
1
FT
Game Details
Feb 18, 2011

Quiniela - Week 24 - Small world

Last weekend proved to any neutral observer how far globalisation really has come: the Rojiblanco half of Madrid almost became Cairo courtesy of Atletico's ownership and Ronaldo's retirement prompted more special programming and articles in Europe than it did in his native Brazil. In this ever changing environment, one needs to stay sharp to recover after two dismal Quinielas in a row.

Let's start. As usual, it's '1' for a home win, 'X' for a draw and '2' for an away win.

1. Valencia (3rd) - Sporting de Gijon (16th): 1.

After a long chase, Valencia finally returned to 'their' third place, making the most of Villarreal's past two disappointing outings. Even though the Ches had an off night against Raul's Schalke on Wednesday, their home record in La Liga has improved drastically (six wins and one draw in their last seven matches). The Mestalla's atmosphere should be enough to ensure a victory over an improved Sporting side.

2. Real Madrid (2nd) - Levante (15th): X.

On Tuesday night, Levante's coach Luis Garcia stated "our squad have already forgotten our 8-0 Copa del Rey defeat at the Bernabeu". The following morning, his in-form striker Caicedo told the media that "we'll arrive in Madrid raving to get back at Real Madrid after that 8-0". Couldn't we all be on the same page please gents?

In any case, Levante have won their past three games with three blank sheets in the process. They're enjoying their best form of the season and visit the Bernabeu at the perfect time: three days before the Merengues' Champions League quarter-final first leg against their European bête noire, Lyon. It's very likely that Jose Mourinho will rest some key players on Saturday, such as Ricardo Carvalho, and we all know what happened last time he did that (a defeat in Pamplona).

Even after the Merengues' courageous display in Cornella against Espanyol, I believe that the Fatal Distraction Syndrome can work its magic against Real Madrid. The Madridistas have spent the whole week talking about Lyon, and will meet a competitive Levante side on Saturday evening. Gotta love an 'X' here.

3. Zaragoza (17th) - Atletico de Madrid (11th): 1.

Atletico's umpteenth pathetic La Liga display last Sunday generated an unprecedented level of tension among the Rojiblancos. In an almost Egypt-esque wave of social mobilisation, thousands of supporters spent hours in the surroundings of the Calderon after the match, publicly asking for the awkward management pair of Miguel Angel Gil and Enrique Cerezo to resign. Meanwhile, persistent rumours that the former intended to limit supporter access to social networks and would even be planning a full internet shutdown to prevent the protestors from organising their demonstrations could not be proven.

Despite all the fingers pointed at both owner and president as the guilty parties, or precisely because of that, the week has been filled with gossip about all kinds of candidates for Quique Sanchez Flores' job, even mentioning Rafa Benitez as a possibility.

While chaos reigns in Madrid, Javier Aguirre continues his work in Zaragoza. The Maños have won three of their past four at home and have finally discovered a consistent starting XI. The word 'consistent' is by itself enough to grant a win for any team over Atletico at this point.

4. Getafe (7th) - Racing de Santander (13th): 2.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Ali Syed era! The Indian millionaire's spell at Racing has all the makings of an unforgettable story, even if it might be for all the right reasons. On Monday, his memorable celebration of an extremely intense win over Sevilla earned him 2,000 words from Phil. On Wednesday, Santander's district attorney asked for an eight-month imprisonment for Syed's bodyguard-in-chief, who allegedly hit a policeman several times at the end of that same match. Now, Mr Syed claims that "Racing will become the third largest club in Spain". Fasten your seatbelts, dear readers, we're in for an entertaining ride.

Given that this type of millionaire-cum-football-club-owner usually brings a pronounced champagne effect to the sporting entities they buy, let's keep our faith in Racing, especially when they are playing the impossible-to-predict Getafe.

5. Villarreal (4th) - Malaga (20th): X.

"This is the best moment of the season to face Villarreal," declared Venezuelan Salomon Rondon, Malaga's starting striker. I couldn't have put it better: the Amarillos have lost their past two La Liga matches against subpar opposition (Levante and Deportivo), and they played an extremely demanding Europa League match in Napoli on Thursday night.

However, a win for the visitors at El Madrigal sounds like a stretch. Let's settle for an 'X' that should mark the beginning of a more favourable phase for Malaga.

6. Almeria (19th) - Deportivo de La Coruna (14th): 1.

Even though their born-again back four worked against Villarreal, this column still distrusts Deportivo. And even more so when there's a decent chance that, after injuries to their starting and reserve right backs, Almeria may resort to a youth team player named Lillo, just like our beloved gaffer/poet who coached the Almerienses at the beginning of the season. This is a sign. Follow the star.

7. Osasuna (18th) - Espanyol (6th): 1.

On Monday morning, Jose Antonio Camacho lost his job as Osasuna coach. His relationship with the local supporters never was easy due to his Madridista past, and even a famous victory over his former team a fortnight ago only bought him one more week of time. The squad needed a fresh approach, and the club decided to bring Jose Luis Mendilibar on board to steer a ship that is quite close to sinking.

After Camacho's demise, skipper Patxi Punal (his last name means 'dagger', by the way) presented us with the most telling press conference of the week, during which he repeatedly stabbed the still warm corpse of his former coach in the back. "The new coach looks at us in our eyes" was just one example of the things Camacho didn't do, according to Patxi Dagger.

While Osasuna changed coaches, Espanyol considered the possibility of offering a lifetime contract to their current boss, Argentinean Mauricio Pochettino. Last time I heard of one of those eternal commitments, the agreement was signed between Real Madrid, Raul Gonzalez and Jose Maria Gutierrez. Let's see how this one works out …

Back to the Quiniela. Mendilibar should be able to leverage the now unquestionable support of the Osasuna fans at the Reyno de Navarra. A home win.

8. Sevilla (8th) - Hercules (12th): X.

Can we now declare the impressive Sevilla side of the past few seasons officially extinct? Their defeat against Porto, with yet another awful defensive display following their Santander debacle, simply reinforces the surprising level of inconsistency in a squad full of classy players that apparently can't play together anymore.

To make things easier, Luis Fabiano's ill-advised announcement - "my cycle in Sevilla is over" - will probably guarantee the Brazilian a sizeable dose of boos and yells until the end of the season, which will not really help the squad in these turbulent times.

This is good news for Hercules, who can focus on football for the next three weeks given that Royston Drenthe will stay in the Netherlands due to a muscular injury. They have an excellent chance to get a result in the Sanchez Pizjuan.

9. Barcelona (1st) - Athletic de Bilbao (5th): 1.

Okay, now we do know beyond reasonable doubt that Barcelona suffer after their key players play international matches. Their draw at Gijon demonstrated their difficulty with recovery, as we'd seen in the past. However, their most concerning issue is the Champions League. Can one go from undisputed kings of the footballing world to a full-blown crisis club in just two weeks?

We've seen that happen before, but I don't think this will be the case. Guardiola knows how to motivate his players, and they should easily beat an Athletic side who have already managed to draw at the Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey, but who usually travel poorly.

10. Real Sociedad (9th) - Mallorca (10th): 1.

The Realistas are looking up in the table, and have a Europa League spot within reach assuming they can win two or three in a row. Their upcoming calendar should help (Levante, Deportivo and Malaga are next), so this home match can get them in the right position for a serious challenge for sixth place. Mallorca's shortage of offensive resources will be telling sooner rather than later. On Monday evening, methinks.

PS. Quick reminder: you can follow me on Twitter! (@Papamoskis).

Use this easy 'Copy and Paste' summary to write your own Quiniela and share it with us in the 'Comments' section. If you get ten correct results, your name will be mentioned in the following Quiniela column!

1. Valencia (3rd) - Sporting de Gijon (16th): X.
2. Real Madrid (2nd) - Levante (15th): X.
3. Zaragoza (17th) - Atlético de Madrid (11th): 1.
4. Getafe (7th) - Racing de Santander (13th): 2.
5. Villarreal (4th) - Málaga (20th): X.
6. Almeria (19th) - Deportivo de La Coruña (14th): 1.
7. Osasuna (18th) - Espanyol (6th): 1.
8. Sevilla (8th) - Hercules (12th): X.
9. Barcelona (1st) - Athletic de Bilbao (5th): 1.
10. Real Sociedad (9th) - Mallorca (10th): 1.

Last week: 3/10 (30%)
Season: 107/210 (52%)

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.