Sevilla, Espanyol hope to chop Barca lead at the top of La Liga

Levante vs Real Sociedad

Estadio Ciudad de Valencia, Valencia

Friday, 09-11-2018 @11:00 pm

Referee: David Jimenez

By playing in the Friday game in this round of La Liga fixtures, Levante have a good chance to go back into the top six. They’ll be level on points with 3rd place Sevilla if they can see off Real Sociedad here but the Basques will also see this as a chance to make some serious headway in a congested table. La Real come into this one in 13th place and they’ve been struggling with a few injuries of late. They were able to name a stronger team last weekend though as they drew at home to Sevilla, their third draw in four outings in all competitions. Asier Garitano hasn’t had quite the impact he would have hoped but there is quality in this Sociedad side and they’ll be thinking of a European challenge, particularly with usual candidates likes Valencia and Villarreal currently struggling. Levante too may have Europe on their minds if this form continues for much longer. They’ve been a revelation since Paco Lopez took charge and came within a few minutes of a 5th straight league win last weekend with Villarreal scoring late to deny them all the points. It was still a good result and they will take confidence into this.

La Real are another side with a much superior away record. Like Levante, they’ve picked up 10 points on the road, the joint best return in La Liga and they’ve already won tough games at Athletic Bilbao and Villarreal. That will give them confidence heading into this one and they do have some genuine quality in their ranks. With Sociedad getting back to full strength and with both sides generally enjoying life more on the road, there is certainly reason to expect the visitors will get something here. Things aren’t quite clicking enough to suggest they might get the win though and going for the Draw could be the best move in the Full-Time Result market, particularly given 5 of the last 9 league meetings between this pair have ended up all square.

The two meetings last term both produced 3-0 home wins. Levante have only won 1 of the last 9 meetings overall.

Real Valladolid vs Eiber

Estadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla, Valladolid

Saturday, 10-11-2018 @03: 00 pm

Referee: Guillermo Fernandez

It has been a dream return to La Liga so far for Real Valladolid. They head into this Saturday’s game with Eibar in the top half and they’ve been easily the most impressive of the newly promoted sides. Victory here would move them onto 19 points and already they’d be halfway to a figure that would most likely see them beat the drop. It’s hard to know what Eibar would settle for this season. They remain certainly one of the smallest teams in this division but they also feel like part of the furniture now, in their fifth season at this level. They’ve bettered their previous season’s finish in each of their previous top flight campaigns but it would still be a surprise if they can better last year’s excellent 9th place.

That’s the position currently held by Valladolid. It could have been better than that had they not lost 2-0 at Real Madrid last time out, in a game they can genuinely feel aggrieved they didn’t at least draw or possibly win. The new boys rattled the Bernabeu crossbar twice and spurned a further couple of good chances before Los Blancos broke the deadlock in fortunate fashion late on. They should take great confidence from that showing and they look capable of winning this one. Valladolid had won 5 of their previous 6 heading into that one and they’ve looked very assured defensively. Only Leganes have picked up fewer away points than Eiber and overall they look slightly weaker this term but perhaps not quite by such a margin that they will end up in trouble.

This will be the first competitive meeting since the 2005-06 Segunda Division season. There was only one goal in the two meetings, scored by Valladolid at Eibar.

Getafe vs Valencia

Coliseum Alfonso Perez, Getafe

Saturday, 10-11-2018 @06: 15 pm

Referee: Ricardo Bengoetxea

There was a collective sigh of relief at the Mestalla on Wednesday night as Valencia finally won their first home game of the season. They’ll be looking to back that up on Saturday as they travel to Getafe looking for a much needed win in La Liga.

Getafe have made a pretty good start to the campaign and currently sit exactly where they ended up last term, in 8th place. They spent a fair amount by their standards over the summer and they are no longer the surprise package they were last term. Their style remains the same though and they are certainly the most physical team in the division so Valencia will be in for a battle here, as was the case in the meetings last term, neither of which ended 11-a-side.

Valencia can at least finally take some confidence into this one. They actually totally dominated their game with Girona last weekend but somehow managed to lose 1-0, largely due to some inspired goalkeeping. They got the result they were looking for in midweek though, beating Young Boys 3-1 to improve their hopes of Champions League progression although Manchester United’s late comeback in Turin was not good news for Los Che.

While it’s not been totally down to bad luck, they can perhaps feel aggrieved to be down in 15th in La Liga right now with an average of just a point per game. A lack of goals has been the main issue but finally, they have an in-form forward in the shape of Santi Mina. The Spaniard has bagged 4 goals in his last 3 games and is perhaps the first name on Marcelino’s team-sheet right now having started out as Valencia’s 4th choice forward.

Getafe did the double over Valencia last term with both meetings seeing the home team reduced to 10 men. The Madrid club are unbeaten in 4 games against Los Che overall.

Atletico Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao

Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid

Saturday, 10-11-2018 @08:30 pm

Referee: Jose Martinez

It has been an excellent week so far for Atletico Madrid following an important victory in Europe on Tuesday. They head into this Saturday’s clash with Athletic Bilbao certainly expecting to pick up another win to ensure they head into the international break on a positive note. The Basques don’t have a good record against Diego Simeone’s men and they’ll do well to change that here.

Atletico Madrid’s best and worst performances this season have both come against Borussia Dortmund. Battered 4-0 in Germany a fortnight ago, their dream of a Champions League win on home soil in the Madrid final next year seemed a distant one. However they bounced back with a much more assured display, seeing off the free-scoring Germans 2-0 at the Wanda on Tuesday and while their league form has been patchy, they are only 4 points off Barcelona. As for Athletic Bilbao, these are pretty worrying times. The general assumption was that this season couldn’t possibly be as poor as the last one when they finished 16th under José Ángel Ziganda. A change in coach has not brought a change in fortunes though and Athletic remain winless since the opening weekend heading into this game.

Bilbao right now they look to have problems at both ends of the pitch. They’ve kept just once clean sheet this term and there have been a couple of really poor defensive displays such as the recent 3-1 Basque derby defeat to Sociedad. At the other end, their strikers aren’t firing either. Inaki Williams has scored just twice this term and Aritz Aduriz is yet to score in La Liga so there is a lot pressure on the rest of the team to step up.

Atleti have a great recent record against Athletic. They’ve won 10 of the last 12 meetings, drawing the other 2. They’ve only conceded twice in their last 6 home games against the Basque club.

Girona vs Leganes

Estadio Camp Nou, Barcelona

Saturday, 10-11-2018 @10:45 pm

Referee: Jose Mel

Girona have gone under the radar a bit this season with their performances overall not quite as impressive as last term. However they could actually climb into the top eight here with victory and they are favourites to get it against a Leganes side who head into this Saturday’s game down in 18th place. Only two newly promoted teams sit beneath them and it’s not a great surprise to see Leganes struggling given they have finished 17th in each of the last two seasons. They clearly haven’t lost all of their defensive qualities, which were so impressive at times last term under Asier Garitano. Already this season they’ve beaten Barcelona and drawn with Valencia and Atletico Madrid but they’ve not been getting enough victories in games against the teams they are likely to be battling with for safety. Girona couldn’t quite be put in that category but they are still a team Leganes will think they can take points off. They won 1-0 at the Mestalla last weekend despite a host of injury problems. Their Moroccan goalkeeper Bono was in inspired form and it’s safe to say they did ride their luck a bit but they do come into this game in very decent form overall with 7 points from their last 3 league outings.

They are hoping to have a few players back in contention this weekend and overall they certainly look like much the more likely victors here. The main reason for that comes in the shape of Leganes’ miserable away record over the past 12 months or so. They’ve not won any of their last 21 away games in the Spanish top flight, the longest current winless streak on the road.

Leganes haven’t won any of the 6 meetings this century. Girona won this fixture 3-0 last term and the sides drew 0-0 in the reverse clash.

Deportivo Alaves vs Huesca

Estadio de Mendizorraza, Vitoria-Gasteiz

Sunday, 11-11-2018 @02:00 pm

Referee: Jose Montero

Alaves are winless in their last two games, with Abelardo’s side needing to get back to winning ways if they are to continue extending the gap between themselves and the relegation zone. The hosts are still unbeaten at Mendizorroza this season, posing Huesca with an extremely tough task on Sunday’s early kick-off. Huesca are still winless since the first day of their league campaign, but will take some heart from their 1-1 home draw against Getafe last time out.

Ruben Duarte straight red last weekend will force Abelardo to reshuffle things at the back. Adrian Marin is a doubt with a knee problem, which will probably see Martin deployed at left-back. Ximo Navarro should slot in at right-back, while Antonio Sivera will deputise for Fernando Pacheco if needed in goal.

Huesca are expected to continue with a back five this weekend. Xabier Etxeita is expected to start despite picking up a knock during the past week. Cucho Hernandez is expected to lead the line, while Gonzalo Melero misses out in midfield due to injury once again.

Deportivo Alaves are undefeated in their last 6 home matches (La Liga).

Barcelona vs Real Betis

Estadio Camp Nou, Barcelona

Sunday, 11-11-2018 @06:15 pm

Referee: Antonio Lahoz

Barcelona will look to continue their La Liga lead at the top of the standings and pick their fourth win a row this Sunday at Camp Nou when Real Betis come visiting. The Blaugrana are in impressive form and should pick up a win in this match that could see goals at both ends.

Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw at San Siro by Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League  match on Wednesday with Malcom and Mauro Icardi scoring the goals respectively. In La Liga it was a 3-2 win over Rayo Vallecano in the last round that made it three wins in a row. Barca lead the points tally with 24 points and three ahead of Espanyol. Barcelona’s home form has seen them land four wins out of six matches. Forward Lionel Messi is back in training, although manager Ernesto Valverde is extracting goals from forward Luis Suarez and midfielder Philippe Coutinho. Defence remains a worry, having conceded at least a goal in each of their last five La Liga home games.

Real Betis were held to a 1-1 home draw by AC Milan in a UEFA Europa League fixture on Thursday. Giovani Lo Celso’s early goal was canceled out by Suso. The visitors haven’t been doing well in La Liga, losing three of their last four games. A high-scoring 3-3 draw against Celta Vigo was their last La Liga appearance. Loren Moron, Junior Firpo and Sergio Canales scored the goals for Betis, who couldn’t hold on to a win despite taking the lead twice. Betis start this round just four points above the relegation zone and have the second-worst scoring record of the league. Los Verdiblancos have just one win in five trips this season and have scored just one away goal.

There have been 104 La Liga matches between these side with Barcelona leading 63-20 with 21 games ending up as drawn. The last meeting was won by Barcelona 5-0 with Messi and Suarez bagging two goals each, with Ivan Rakitic scoring once.

Rayo Vallecano vs Villareal

Estadio del Rayo Vallecano, Madrid

Sunday, 11-11-2018 @08:30 pm

Referee: Jose Gonzalez

Rayo Vallecano were on the verge of recording a historical win over Barcelona at the weekend, but the title holders eventually scored two late goals and picked up all three points from the Estadio del Rayo Vallecano clash. Los Vallecanos gave fans something to cheer about, but Rayo supporters are hungry for victories. The capital club take on Villarreal on Matchday 12 and we are positive that they are going to grab something from Sunday’s football match if they repeat such a fine performance.

The Yellow Submarine continue to struggle in the Spanish elite division and considering that they dropped two points in a 1-1 draw with Levante at the weekend, we are tempted to put our money on the hosts. In their last meeting in the suburbs of Madrid Rayo Vallecano recorded a 2-1 win over Villarreal and we believe that the history is going to repeat itself.

Vallecano will be without Alvaro Medran, Tito and Elustondo for the visit of Villareal while Javi Calleja’s side are missing Carlos Bacca, Mariano Barbosa, Javi Fuego and Bruno.

Vallecano have won both of their last two fixtures at home to Villareal.

Sevilla vs Espanyol

Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Sevilla

Sunday, 11-11-2018 @08:30 pm

Referee: Santiago Latre

Sevilla and Espanyol find themselves occupying third and second on the table going into the this weekend’s fixture. At the start of the season, it was virtually unimaginable that after 11 games, they would be the two teams chasing Barcelona. However, their scintillating form recently has seen them climb up the table.

Sevilla head into the games on the back of a 3-2 Europa League victory and will be hoping that momentum propels them to victory over inform Espanyol on Sunday.

Espanyol are not in second by coincidence, Rubi’s side have lost only two games this season and none in their last six. The fixture list may have been favourable to them going into Sunday’s game but they have clearly done their part.

Going into the game, Sevilla are expected to be without the injured trio of Andre Gomes, Gabriel marchado and Simone Kjaer while Espanyol will be without Hernan Gonzalez and Naldo.

Espanyol have not defeated Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan since January 2011.

Celta Vigo vs Real Madrid

Abanca Balaidos, Vigo

Sunday, 11-11-2018 @10:45 pm (Super Sport 7)

Referee: Alberto Mallenco

A week has shown itself to be a long time in football, and following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui, his successor Santiago Solari has achieved three wins in seven days at the helm of Real Madrid. Los Blancos’ most recent success came on Wednesday night as they recorded their biggest win of the season by beating Viktoria Plzen 5-0 in the Champions League. Solari was named an interim manager upon Lopetegui’s dismissal and the final match of his provisional period in charge is traditionally one of the toughest away trips of the season as the European champions visit Celta Vigo on Sunday night.

Madrid were missing three of their first choice back four on Wednesday evening, with Dani Carvajal, Marcelo and Raphael Varane all missing. The latter two are almost certainly ruled out for the trip to Vigo, although Carvajal is closing in on a return.

For Celta, Slovakian midfielder Stanislav Lobotka is missing.

They may be in 11th place in the table, but Celta are the third top scorers in La Liga so far this season with 20 goals scored in 11 matches. Between them, Iago Aspas and Maxi Gomez have netted 14 of those 20 goals and the Galicians boast one of the division’s most dangerous strike pairings.

Madrid have rediscovered their scoring touch after an inexplicably long drought earlier in the season and Los Blancos have netted 11 times in their last three matches, albeit against modest opposition.

This fixture has delivered plenty of goals over the last few years.




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