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Arch Bell On May - 25 - 2012

Segunda Focus: Primas and Maletines

‘Tis the season where accusations fly all over the place about bonuses and briefcases full of cash being paid to teams who would otherwise have no incentive to win. First it was Valladolid manager Djukic claiming that Celta were paying off all of Valladolid and Deportivo’s rivals. Then yesterday Paco Jemez bluntly stated that even though Murcia will come in ‘primado’ for this weekend’s match, he expects his team to do well blah blah blah.

Everyone knows this goes on. Whether there is actual concrete evidence is another thing but in a way it has become a year-end tradition for money to be exchanged in Spain as an incentive for one club to defeat a rival to benefit another. However what I find amusing is that these guys always seem to find the cash for primas and maletines yet those extra investments in players, coaches and resources are met with refusals and replies of ‘we’re broke.’ In the end, everything seems to shake out fine and by early September it’s normally forgotten and this year won’t be any different. So on to the games…

It should first be noted that all matches will begin on Sunday night at 8pm with the exception of the Barcelona B- Las Palmas match which will be played Saturday and will be watched by ones, if not tens of people. HOME WIN by the way.

So this is the weekend that could see Galicia celebrating from top to bottom. Deportivo are at home versus Huesca and very simply a win and Depor is back in the Primera. Less than 48 hours ago things were not looking so rosy for the A Coruna bunch. Level at 1-1 with Gimnastic, a draw would have gotten Celta and Valladolid to within two points of Depor. But a last second goal by Xisco changed everything and subsequently washed away thoughts of last year’s choking ghosts coming back to spook the squad. Although it’s been just over a calendar year, for Depor fans these 365+ days in the Segunda must have felt like hell… which it’s suppose to because the Segunda is affectionately known as El Infierno. But that is no more. Congrats to all the Deportivo fans and best of luck in the Primera. HOME WIN.

In an odd twist, Celta will take the field that their hated rivals played on just days before as the celeste head to Tarragona to play relegated Gimnastic. The Catalans played their hearts out on Wednesday night with ex-Celta man Dani Abalo playing like a man possessed. In fact it was Abalo who said in a halftime interview, “If there is anything I can do to help Celta, I will since it’s my club since I was a boy.” Well, if Abalo sees the field on Sunday this game could go from being 11 versus 11 to 12 versus 10. Might be best if Nastic put Abalo on the bench just to avoid any controversey. Big question for Celta is whether Iago Aspas will play. He got roughed up in the midweek game versus Xerez and could very well miss this one. That would be a big loss considering the canterano has 22 goals. Nevertheless, Celta can smell the Primera. ROAD WIN.

You can be sure the radios will be blowing and going in suburban Madrid with the bombazo of the weekend as Valladolid visit Alcorcon. The Pucelete dominated Recre on Thursday but still won by just a single goal 1-0. Now they have their hands full playing agaianst an Alcorcon team that always plays well and wins alot at their home ground of Estadio Santo Domingo. Add to the fact that Alcorcon want to keep hold of fourth place for playoff seeding purposes and you can see why it will be a hyper-intense affair. Should Alcorcon win and Celta take care of business, then Celta are promoted…. But I don’t think that’ll happen. Javi Guerra, like last season, has put the Pucelete on his back and he simply won’t allow them to lose. This one shapes up to be a great one but I’ll take a gutsy Valladolid side. ROAD WIN.

In the battle for sixth place and the final playoff spot, Cordoba host Murcia at the Nuevo Arcangel. With a visit to Vigo looming in the final weekend, Cordoba have got to win on Sunday to continue to stave off Almeria. Pretty certain Paco Jemez will have his group ready to play much like they did midweek against Cartagena in their 2-0 victory. HOME WIN.

As for Almeria, they head to Guadalajara to play a team that is still celebrating their ‘permanencia.’ In all seriousness, a draw here wouldn’t surprise me because Guadalajara would love to win in their home finale. But, Almeria’s desperation will be enough to garner a ROAD WIN.

Hercules should be able to maintain their playoff position as they are at home in Alicante against a Xerez team with nothing to play for. I’ll go with a HOME WIN.

With the relegation race already decided, the rest of the slot in the Segunda is composed of games with no bearing on anything so we’ll go with some quick picks here.

I like a HOME WIN in the Girona-Recreativo game as Javi Salamero continues to build toward next season. As fellow Segunda nut James Gallagher of SpanishFootball.info put it earlier this week, Girona have become the Wigan of the Segunda. Love it!

Expect a DRAW in the Alcoyano-Elche match. Two clubs who haven’t exactly endeared themselves to their fans lately.

Kudos to Sabadell for a stellar first season back in the Segunda. A HOME WIN versus Numancia will be a proper send-off.

Lastly, Villarreal B are going down to the Segunda B but they are doing it with honor. They’ll grab the ROAD WIN at Cartagena.

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Arch Bell

A longtime lover of Spain's often-ignored Liga Adelante, Arch started writing about second division in 2008 on a blog called 'Bienvenido Al Infierno' which he ultimately brought to La Liga Weekly in 2009. He has since gone on to cover Segunda matches in Spain for LLW and has conducted interviews with Segunda Division players. You can find Arch's writing on ESPN.com as a contributor to Soccernet. Arch also hosts a bilingual soccer radio show in Austin, Texas called Futbol En Vivo which airs every Tuesday from 1-2pm CST and can be heard locally on 91.7 FM or online at www.koop.org.

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