Getafe vs Deportivo Alves
Coliseum Alfonso Perez, Getafe
Friday, 18-01-2019 @11:00 pm
Referee: Jose Munuera
This Friday’s clash in La Liga sees two sides meet who perhaps still don’t get the credit they deserve. Halfway through the season, both Alaves and Getafe find themselves in the top six and within touching distance of the Champions League places. It would be truly extraordinary were either to make the top four come May but Alaves would jump all the way up to 3rd were they to win this.
They are clear underdogs to do that despite heading into this match unbeaten in 4. An early exit from the Copa del Rey should offer them an advantage this month when many of the other teams in the top half will have an extra four games to manage. They picked up another decent result last weekend, drawing 1-1 at Girona but this will be a tougher game.
Getafe rode their luck at times last weekend to secure a 2-1 win at Villarreal. They’ve since secured Copa del Rey progress into the Quarter-Finals and this has the potential to be the most successful season in the South Madrid side’s history. They’ve added a bit more firepower to solid defensive foundations this term and will fancy they can secure the points here. Overall they do look the more likely victors. Although Alaves performed reasonably well last weekend, the departure of Ibai Gomez to Athletic Bilbao, followed almost immediately by an injury to their other star winger Jony, will hurt them in the long run. They don’t have players of a comparable quality to bring in and without their two most creative players, it’s hard to see them creating many opportunities in this one.
Getafe’s defence is well equipped to deal with Alaves’ aerial threat up top and will fancy they can improve on an impressive 56% clean sheet ratio at home. This match features two of La Liga’s best four defences in terms of goals conceded this term. Alaves are likely to come with a cautious approach and it could be something of a chess match here between two of the division’s most organised sides.
Real Madrid vs Sevilla
Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Saturday, 19-01-2019 @6: 15 pm
Referee: Antonio Mateu
This is the standout fixture this Saturday and indeed this weekend in La Liga. It sees 4th placed Real Madrid host 3rd placed Sevilla. The teams are currently level on points but Sevilla have the superior goal difference largely thanks to their 3-0 win over Los Blancos earlier in the season. Real will have a different man at the helm this time around and will be gunning for revenge.
January was always going to be a key month for Real Madrid and particularly Santi Solari. It’s already widely believed that he will be replaced this summer and with just 2 wins from 5 games so far in 2019, he may not even get that far. Los Blancos were victorious in Seville last weekend, winning 2-1 against Real Betis but that didn’t stop the criticism flying their way with Solari seen to have parked the bus with a genuine back five. Real posted their lowest possession figures since the 2011-12 season in that game and they are likely to face a battle for the ball here against a strong Sevilla side. The visitors have though also made a disappointing start to the year and come into this game following back-to-back defeats in league and cup against Athletic Bilbao.
The fear with Sevilla all along has been that they would eventually run out of steam having started way back in July in the Europa League. They’ve certainly gone off the boil a bit with just 1 win in their last 5 matches in all competitions. Their away record is also a concern and makes it hard to fancy them here. They’ve only won 2 of their last 11 on the road in all competitions and you have to go all the way back to September for their last away league success.
Real Madrid may be having a poor season but there were encouraging signs to come from their win at Betis with a host of youngsters performing well. Vinicius Junior has also broken into the side over the past month and has quickly developed into a key player for Santiago Solari, whose spat with Isco sees no sign of ending.
Huesca vs Atletico Madrid
Estadio El Alcoraz, Huesca
Saturday, 19-01-2019 @8: 30 pm
Referee: Guillermo Cuadra
This Saturday’s game in La Liga sees rock bottom Huesca face 2nd placed Atletico Madrid. Despite the plight of the hosts and the quality of the opposition, this is not an absolute foregone conclusion which is perhaps testament to the improving depth of the Spanish Primera Division.
Huesca will take confidence having beaten high-flying opposition in their last home game. They beat Real Betis 2-1 to record their first ever top flight home victory and just their second of the season in La Liga. However narrow defeat in a six-pointer at Leganes last weekend effectively undid any good they managed to do there and with only 11 points on the board at the halfway mark, their cause looks a fairly hopeless one.
As for Atletico Madrid this is the kind of game they simply have to start winning. Too often this season, they’ve dropped points on the road against bottom half sides. They could fall as much as 8 points behind Barca were they to drop points this weekend and having seen their Copa del Rey hopes surprisingly ended in midweek, they need to put a winning streak together in order to stay in the fight for domestic silverware.
Atleti only have the 10th best away record in La Liga with only 2 road wins this term so there’s perhaps too much risk to back them to win this outright even though they clearly should have enough quality to take the points. There is strong reason to fancy a low-scoring game though.
Celta Vigo vs Valencia
Abanca Balaidos, Vigo
Saturday, 19-01-2019 @10:45 pm
Referee: Jose Gonzalez
This Saturday sees two sides who have had poor seasons meet in La Liga. The match is a significant one for Valencia boss Marcelino who has had to fend off speculation about his future in recent weeks. There is plenty riding on it for Celta Vigo too though with the Galicians having slipped down to 17th following a downturn in form.
Remarkably though, Celta would actually climb into the top half were they to win this such is the congestion in the middle and lower sections of the Primera Division right now. They will need to improve on recent performances to do that though. Celta have suffered three straight defeats heading into this match, the most recent of which saw them put in a fairly shambolic defensive performance in a 4-2 defeat at Rayo last Friday.
The way Valencia have been finishing, it’s not a given that they will fully capitalise on that though. Los Che have taken just 1 point from their opening 2 league games in 2019. They could desperately do with putting some kind of run together to drag themselves back into European contention. They do at least come into this following something of a confidence boost after they saw off Sporting Gijon 3-0 in the Copa del Rey in midweek, largely thanks to a Second Half brace from Santi Mina.
He could get another start here after Rodrigo’s woeful season continued with a hopeless penalty miss last weekend, made worse by the fact he wasn’t the team’s designated penalty taker. This is a fixture that invariably produces goals though with 10 of the last 11 meetings seeing goals at each end is most likely.
Real Betis vs Girona
EstadioBenito Villamarin, Seville
Sunday, 20-01-2019 @2:00 pm
Referee: Adrian Cordero
The early game this Sunday in La Liga comes from Seville where Real Betis play host to Girona. Neither side has won yet in 2019 and both have played 4 times in all competitions. However despite that both secured Copa del Rey progress on the road this week with away goals victories securing a place in the Quarter-Finals.
Girona stunned Atletico Madrid by drawing 3-3 at the Wanda Metropolitano to eliminate one of the favourites. The Catalans will see the cup as a chance to create some more history. They are 9th in La Liga but with only five points separating them and the drop-zone, they can’t afford to take their foot off the gas. Transfer rumours linking top scorer Cristhian Stuani with a move to Barcelona are untimely at best but they will be without their Uruguayan striker due to suspension here in any case.
Betis secured Copa del Rey progress with a 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad on Thursday night. They picked strong teams for both legs of that tie and some may question how wise that was with Europa League football also to come in February. It presents Betis with a heavy schedule over the next couple of months and it will test the depth of their squad.
Overall, there’s reason to expect goals here. The contrast of styles between Betis’ possession-heavy approach and Girona’s crossing game will be interesting and both sides could be effective. The loss of Stuani is clearly a blow for Girona but they do have other goal threats and 8 of their last 10 goals have been scored by other players. Heading into this match, all of their last 5 games have produced goals at each end.
Betis have also shown defensive vulnerabilities at times. 5 of their last 6 in all competitions have seen both teams score and while things haven’t quite got to the goalfest levels of last season, that’s largely due to teams setting up in a much more defensive fashion. Even Real Madrid parked the bus to some extent at the Benito Villamarin last weekend but Betis have maintained their naturally forward-thinking approach.
Villareal vs Athletic Bilbao
Estadio da la Ceramica, Villareal
Sunday, 20-01-2019 @6:15 pm
Referee: Alberto Undiano
This Sunday’s clash at the Ceramica in La Liga is a huge one for two sides that have surprisingly looked in relegation trouble over the first half of the season. Villarreal come into this game 4 points from safety and just one place off the bottom so there is real pressure on them to get the right result here. Athletic are only 3 points and 3 places outside the relegation zone themselves but that is a significant improvement on where they were when Gaizka Garitano took over.
The new boss has inspired a huge turnaround in their fortunes. Under Garitano, Athletic have won 5 out of 8 in all competitions and are yet to taste defeat in 5 outings in La Liga. The most impressive win came last weekend with two brilliant strikes from Inaki Williams sealing a 2-0 home win over high-flying Sevilla. They beat the same opposition in midweek too but still exited the Copa del Rey, which should allow them to focus on climbing La Liga.
Villarreal’s cup exit was also almost certainly a blessing in disguise and was no great surprise given the team selected by the Yellow Submarine at Espanyol. A shock home defeat last weekend to Getafe has made their relegation battle suddenly seem very real and even victory here wouldn’t haul them out of the bottom three.
In fairness, Villarreal have been a bit unlucky at times this season. They managed to miss a penalty and hit the woodwork on several occasions in Stoppage Time alone last weekend in defeat to Getafe. However it’s still hard to see any value in them getting the win here with just a 10% home win ratio in La Liga this term.
They now have the worst home record in the division and with Athletic having found some form at last, there looks to be value in backing Athletic Bilbao Double Chance here.
Going for Inaki Williams to score anytime could also be worth a punt. He is a bit of a confidence player and while more of a natural winger than a number 9, he will be feeling full of belief after netting a brilliant brace last weekend. Remarkably his previous 15 league goals all came away from home and he’s sure to be a threat on the break in this one.
Levante vs Valladolid
Estadio Cuidad de Valencia, Valencia
Sunday, 20-01-2019 @08:30 pm
Referee: Santiago Jaime
This Sunday’s clash in La Liga features two sides who were knocked out of the Copa del Rey this week. Both Levante and Real Valladolid were tipped to struggle this term but have largely outperformed their pre-season expectations. However both need to be a bit careful in a season that is shaping up to see teams potentially need in excess of 40 points to beat the drop.
Despite some excellent results, both sides come into this game within 4 points of the relegation places. Levante haven’t won in La Liga since early December and a convincing victory over Athletic Bilbao. They’ve had two tough games this week but ultimately suffered defeats to nil at both Atletico Madrid in La Liga and then Barcelona in the Copa del Rey as their 1st Leg advantage was overturned.
Valladolid were knocked out of the cup after a 1-1 home draw against Getafe. The result leaves them without a win in 6 in all competitions and Sergio’s men will be starting to get a bit edgy as they slip into a genuine relegation scrap. In truth though they will be delighted to have amassed 22 points over the first half of the season, the most of the newly promoted teams and it gives them a platform to push for survival.
Overall the value here looks to lie with the visitors. That is largely down to their impressive away record this season. They’ve only been beaten in 2 of their 10 road games so far in La Liga, an outstanding return for a newly promoted team. In fact only 3 teams in the division can better their return of 14 points away from home and it has been their form on their own patch which has seen them slip down the table.
Rayo Vallecano vs Real Sociedad
Estadio de Vallecas, Madrdi
Sunday, 20-01-2019 @8:30 pm
Referee: David Medie
This Sunday’s clash in La Liga sees two of La Liga’s form teams meet. Both Rayo Vallecano and Real Sociedad have won their opening two league games in 2019 and will be bidding to make it a hat-trick here in Vallecas. It has the makings of an entertaining game as almost all Rayo home fixtures have been this term.
You have to give the board and supporters credit for keeping faith with Michel when it might have been easier to sack him earlier in the season. He has stuck to his guns and continued to play attacking football, especially at home. That is now bringing results and Rayo caused huge problems for Celta in their 4-2 victory in their last league outing. Having already been knocked out of the cup, they’ve had 9 days to prepare for this one and should be ready to go again.
Sociedad are decent travellers though. Only Barcelona have collected more points on the road in La Liga this term so La Real will certainly fancy this. They did opt to change their coach in December and it is working out pretty well for them so far. Imanol has returned and is unbeaten in 4 games since taking over. However Sociedad were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Real Betis on away goals in midweek, a blow given they did field strong elevens in both legs of the tie.
This certainly has the makings of an open game. Rayo have certainly started to fire in the final third but defensively there are still problems. Only two teams have conceded more than them in La Liga this term and their home defensive record is inferior to their away one with 2.2 goals per game on average conceded in Vallecas. They are yet to fail to score at home though in La Liga this term with a huge 90% of their home league games seeing goals at each end.
Sociedad certainly will come targeting the victory so another open game does look to be likely. Under the new boss, they are likely to be a bit more adventurous overall as the regime of the more defensively-minded Asier Garitano didn’t really play to their strengths. We’ve already seen evidence of how the change may impact on La Real with their last two games producing 2-2 and 3-2 scorelines.
Barcelona vs Leganes
Estadio Camp Nou, Barcelona
Sunday, 20-01-2010 @10:45 pm
Referee: Ricardo De Burgos
This Sunday’s clash at Camp Nou in La Liga sees Barcelona seeking to further extend their advantage at the top of the division. They host a Leganes side who have already beaten them this season. The Catalans though will be expected to get their revenge this weekend and extend what is now a 6 game winning streak in the Primera Division.
It has been a good week on the face of it for Barcelona. They’ve picked up back-to-back 3-0 wins at Camp Nou, seeing off Eibar in La Liga before turning around their Copa del Rey tie against Levante with a dominant midweek display. However suggestions Barca fielded an ineligible player in the 1st Leg has led to an appeal from Levante which could yet see Ernesto Valverde’s men kicked out of a competition they have won in each of the last 4 seasons.
Leganes were also Copa del Rey 2nd Leg winners, deservedly beating a weakened Real Madrid side 1-0 at Butarque. It wasn’t enough to turn around a three goal deficit but still serves as a timely confidence boost heading into this one. To some extent this is a free shot for Leganes with nobody expecting them to get a result and it was more important that they beat fellow strugglers Huesca last weekend, which they did 1-0.
It almost goes without saying that Barca should win this match and they have hit a real hot streak in terms of results in La Liga. They’ve only conceded once in their last 6 league outings too, which will particularly please Valverde and with Leganes likely to park the bus, it’s hard to see the visitors having many chances in this game.
Eibar vs Espanyol
Estadio, Municipal de Ipurua, Eibar
Monday, 21-01-2019 @11pm
Referee: Juan Martinez
The Monday night game this week in La Liga comes from the Basque Country. It features two sides who have been struggling for results of late meet. If either side was to lose this, they’d suddenly have genuine reason to start fearing a relegation scrap but on the contrary three points for either Eibar or Espanyol would see them gain a number of places in the congested middle and lower parts of the table.
Eibar’s last victory in any competition was that remarkable 3-0 win over Real Madrid in late November. They were truly outstanding that day and any kind of relegation fears looked so distant given the ease with which they beat the European champions. Their performances haven’t been terrible since in truth and they have drawn 5 of their subsequent 7 games. Even their 3-0 defeat at Barcelona last week wasn’t a fair reflection on the game with Eibar actually creating more expected goals than their opponents.
Espanyol’s form and in many cases performances has been more cause for concern. They’ve lost 7 of their last 8 in La Liga heading into this one. They did come through a Copa del Rey last 16 tie against Villarreal on Thursday night but benefited from their relegation-threatened opponents effectively throwing the towel in with a much weakened team.
In terms of the outcome here, the hosts to look the more likely winners but they will need to deal with Borja Iglesias. The Espanyol striker is having a fine debut season with the Catalan club, scoring 9 times already in La Liga. He also bagged a brace in the cup on Thursday and should be full of confidence heading into this so backing Iglesias to score anytime could be worth considering.
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