Getafe vs Celta Vigo
Coliseum Alfonso Perez, Getafe
Saturday, 09-02-2019 @03:00pm
This Saturday’s early game sees Celta Vigo travel to Getafe and it’s a significant one for both sides. The hosts are hoping to get back to winning ways after a testing period in which results have suffered and they’ve lost their discipline at times. Celta meanwhile are in the midst of a relegation battle in La Liga and are looking to build on a much needed win last time out.
That victory is largely seen to have kept Miguel Cardoso in a job. Celta had suffered 5 straight defeat to plummet down the table before claiming a vital 1-0 home win against Sevilla last time out. The win saw them climb out of the drop-zone but they only have a one point advantage on 18th placed Rayo so there is clearly plenty of work to be done over the coming weeks if Celta are to avoid a tense finish to the campaign.
Getafe are in no danger of going down but their hopes of European qualification have been dented in recent weeks. They remain in 5th, which is outstanding for a club of their stature, but two of their last three matches in all competitions have seen them end with 9 men which leaves them with a few selection issues here and in the weeks to come due to some heavy punishments dished out following a post-match brawl in their feisty cup game at the Mestalla.
To some extent they did well to compose themselves and grind out a 0-0 draw last weekend at Levante, even with their first choice central defenders both banned. A week off will probably have helped them after a busy start to the year in the cup and they should be fresher here for this one.
Overall the hosts do look much the more likely winners. They’ve been impressive at both ends of the pitch in recent months. Getafe boast La Liga’s second best defensive record with only 0.82 goals per game conceded. They also have three forward players who have been finding the net with Jaime Mata, Angel and Jorge Molina all in good form.
Celta may have beaten a tired looking Sevilla last weekend but some of their recent showings, particularly away have been woeful. 5 of their last 6 away games in all competitions have ended in defeat. They’ve been badly missing Iago Aspas and while he is back in training this week, it’s doubtful he will be 100% fit here.
Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid
Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid
Saturday, 09-02-2019 @6:15pm
The big games are coming thick and fast for Real Madrid right now and they travel to city rivals Atletico Madrid this Saturday, just three days on from the clasico. The winners will take 2nd place at the end of the match and that would certainly represent a moral victory for Real, who have found some form in La Liga at last under Santi Solari.
Los Blancos have had a good few weeks overall with players returning to form and 4 straight league victories heading into the clasico. They picked up a decent draw in the 1st Leg of their Copa del Rey Semi-Final at Camp Nou and now face two more huge away games in the shape of this match and their trip to Ajax in the Champions League next week.
Atletico Madrid’s early cup exit has at least given them a week to prepare for this but they come into the match on a bit of a downer after they lost at Real Betis last weekend, only their second league defeat of the season. They are 6 points behind Barcelona but they really need all the points here if they are to sustain a realistic title challenge.
Overall, it’s hard to see too many goals in this one. The most recent clash between the two Madrid rivals finished 0-0 earlier this season while the only previous meeting at the Wanda Metropolitano did likewise last term. All in all, 6 of the last 7 league Madrid derbies have produced under 2.5 goals so the recent history suggests it could be tight.
Atletico Madrid’s defence is as solid as ever with a 73% home clean sheet ratio this term while 77% of their league games overall have produced under 2.5 goals. Real Madrid may be playing better football now but they are still bit wasteful at times in the final third with the likes of Vinicius not totally convincing in terms of his ability to take chances.
Despite some significant attacking recruits, the same could be said of Atleti who average only 1.45 goals per game in La Liga this term. All eyes will be on Alvaro Morata here as he lines up against his old club in his home debut for Atleti but it was an unconvincing display from him at Betis last weekend.
Espanyol vs Rayo Vallecano
RCDE Stadium, Barcelona
Saturday, 09-02-2019 @8:30pm
This is a really significant game at the bottom end of La Liga. A few months back it would have seemed impossible that these two sides could have ended up playing a genuine relegation six pointer but Espanyol have collapsed while Rayo Vallecano have found some form. The visitors would actually go above the Barcelona club if they can get all the points this Saturday.
They did suffer a setback on Monday night though. A 2-1 defeat in the Madrid derby against Leganes saw them slip back into the bottom three and ended a fine run of 4 wins out of 5 in La Liga. They face Barcelona and Atletico within their next four matches after this one so they will certainly be keen to at least get something from their trip to the RCDE.
Espanyol will feel as though they stopped the rot in their last league outing. They’d lost 9 out of 10 heading into their trip to Villarreal and looked to be on their way to another defeat. However 2 goals in the final 15 minutes salvaged a point from the game against fellow strugglers so Rubi’s men will at least carry a bit of belief into this match.
This is one of the tougher games to call this weekend. It’s hard to seriously fancy either side to pick up the win. Espanyol have certainly slipped out of the winning habit that they found at home in the opening stages of the season. Their only victory in the last 11 was a pretty unconvincing 1-0 victory over Leganes and defensively they’ve been much more vulnerable of late, conceding twice or more in each of their last 4 outings.
The hosts are the favourites here but Rayo have been playing some decent football of late and look capable of getting a point. They missed the suspended Santi Comesaña on Monday night but should be able to get more control in midfield here with him back. Their average of 1 point per away game is respectable for a side battling the drop and given the kind of form Espanyol are in.
Girona vs Huesca
Estadi Municipal de Montilivi, Girona
Saturday, 09-02-2019 @10:45pm
This Saturday’s game is one of a number of significant matches at the bottom of La Liga this weekend. It sees a Girona side that is struggling for results host rock bottom Huesca, who will take confidence into this having scored four in a convincing win over Valladolid last time out. They will be desperate to build on that here as they seek to start an unlikely escape act.
Huesca are still 9 points from safety so their chances of survival remain slim but victory here away to the side directly above the drop-zone would suddenly spark a real sense of belief that it is not an impossible task. They haven’t been as bad as some of their results this season suggest with their finishing letting them down badly until last weekend’s surprise avalanche of goals.
Girona have almost had the opposite problem with Cristhian Stuani clinical up front but much of their football this term hasn’t been that impressive. They impressed in the Copa del Rey but that run may just have left them jaded in some of their recent league outings and they are without a win in 12 matches heading into this one, which has to be a concern for Eusebio.
Overall there looks to be some value in backing the visitors to get a result here. They also got a result in their most recent away game, grinding out a draw at Real Sociedad and they don’t look out of their depth at this level despite what the league table may suggest. They average 1.12 Expected Goals per game this term, giving up 1.28 at the other end, figures that are considerably better than you’d expect from a team in their position.
Girona have inferior records in both departments so this has the potential to be an even game and if Huesca are as clinical as they were last week, they’ve every chance of getting a result. Girona have only won 2 of their last 16 home league games.
Leganes vs Real Betis
Estadio Municipal de Bertaque, Leganes
Sunday, 10-02-2019 @2:00pm
This Sunday’s clash in La Liga features Copa del Rey Semi-Finalists Real Betis and struggling Leganes. It’s a fixture that has always been won by the home team whenever the sides have met in the Primera Division and the Seville outfit will be hoping to buck that trend here as they head to the capital.
Betis were involved in a remarkable match on Thursday. In front of a record crowd at the Benito Villamarin, the Betis fans created an extraordinary atmosphere as their side initially seized control of the Copa del Rey Semi-Final with Valencia. Joaquin scored direct from a corner to make it 2-0 but Los Che fought back, scoring in Stoppage Time to seal a 2-2 draw and put themselves in pole position heading into the 2nd Leg. Betis are also in Europa League action this coming week so may need to make use of their squad here.
Leganes will be hoping this is a decent time to be catching them. They’ve been in decent form themselves having won a derby at Rayo last Monday to climb all the way up to 13th. Defeat in that game would have seen them fall into the drop-zone which is testament to how tight things are at the bottom so they’ll be hungry to try and put some more distance between themselves and the bottom three.
Overall, there’s plenty of reason to fancy the hosts here. This is a really quick turnaround for Betis, particularly with the midday kick-off so they’ve had little time to recover from the emotional and physical exertions of the cup game. They’ve had midweek fixtures for five straight weeks now too so there is bound to be a bit of fatigue creeping in particularly given Quique Setien has really targeted the cups, often resting key men in La Liga.
He may do that again here but he is a bit short on numbers particularly at the back. Wing-back Junior Firpo and centre-back Aissa Mandi are both suspended here while key defender Marc Bartra is still a doubt with injury. That will offer plenty of encouragement to Martin Braithwaite and Youssef En-Nesyri, who have impressed up front for Leganes in recent weeks.
Valencia vs Real Sociedad
Estadio Mestalla, Valencia
Sunday, 10-02-2019 @6:15pm
Valencia’s struggles was one of the great mysteries of the first half of the season in Spain. Marcelino was believed to be on the brink of the sack at one point but they appear to have found their feet again and are favourites here against in-form Real Sociedad, who themselves have picked up of late. The sides are level on points in La Liga and this Sunday’s match is a significant one in the race for European qualification.
That was the minimum expectation for Valencia this season having so comfortably reached the top four last term before spending pretty big in the summer. They aren’t where they’d like to be in La Liga but they now look good to reach the Copa del Rey Final after another fine comeback saw them salvage a 2-2 draw in their Semi-Final 1st Leg at Real Betis on Thursday.
Sociedad have a slight advantage in terms of freshness given they’ve long since been knocked out of the cup and they have been going well in La Liga of late, winning the Basque derby with Athletic last weekend. They remain unbeaten in 7 matches in all competitions under new coach Imanol so this won’t be easy for the hosts although they are the clear favourites.
This game certainly has the potential to serve up goals. Valencia matches have really started to open up of late with all of their last four seeing 4 goals scored in total with both teams on the scoresheet. 64% of their home league games this season have also produced goals at both ends.
55% of Sociedad matches have done likewise and that figure could increase with a more attack-minded coach at the helm now. 4 of their last 5 games have seen both teams score with the exception being the 0-0 draw with Huesca when the Aragonese minnows were very defensive. This should be far more open and backing Both Teams to Score appeals.
Going for Valencia to score over 1.5 Goals also looks good. It’s a bet you couldn’t have considered earlier in the season but their forwards have finally found some form with Rodrigo scoring 5 goals in 6 games while the much maligned Kevin Gameiro largely turned their Cup Semi-Final around in midweek with a fine display. They’ve been creating chances all season but with the finishing touch now present, they are well capable of scoring plenty of goals between now and May.
Sevilla vs Eibar
Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville
Sunday, 10-02-2019 @08:30pm
This Sunday’s game in La Liga sees Eibar travel to play Sevilla on a ground where they are still awaiting their first ever top flight goal. This will be their 5th visit and again they head there as major underdogs although they will be encouraged by a lacklustre Sevilla display last weekend, when they were beaten by struggling Celta.
Sevilla’s problem is a familiar one for them in truth. At home, in front of some of the best fans in Spain, they are a force to be reckoned with and they seem to back themselves to beat just about anybody in European football. On the road though, they all too often fall apart and we’ve seen fresh evidence of that already this year with a heavy 6-1 cup defeat at Camp Nou in the middle of 3 straight road defeats in La Liga. They still have a 4 point advantage on 5th placed Getafe heading into this round of fixtures but there is now some hope for the chasing pack in the battle for the 4th Champions League place.
Eibar would be only 4 points off Sevilla were they to win this but they have never been a club to get ahead of themselves. Another safe mid-table finish would still be a fine achievement and their chances of that were boosted by an impressive 3-0 win over Girona last time out. They’ve taken 7 points from their last 3 league games so they take decent form into this game.
Overall though you still have to fancy Sevilla to get the job done at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. They’ve enjoyed this fixture in recent years and their most recent away league win was actually against Eibar so they are hoping to complete the double here. A much-needed midweek off will help them prepare for this one better than recent games that have been sandwiched in between testing cup fixtures.
A record of 12 wins from 14 home games in all competitions also points to a Seville win here but we shouldn’t necessarily expect a huge number of goals. 90% of their home league games this term have produced under 3.5 goals in total with both their home matches and Eibar away games averaging 2.4 goals per game.
Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona
Estadio San Mames Barria, Bilboa
Sunday, 10-02-2019 @10:45pm
4 days on from the clasico in the Copa del Rey, Barcelona have a tough game against Athletic Bilbao in La Liga. They head to the Basque Country this Sunday hoping to further extend their advantage at the top of the Spanish top flight and it’s one of the biggest remaining obstacles to them winning another league crown.
Barca will be a bit disappointed to have only drawn their home 1st Leg against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey Semi-Finals in midweek. However with Leo Messi not fit enough to start the game, it could have been worse had Los Blancos taken some 1st Half chances and Barca will still fancy their chances of progressing to yet another Final.
Athletic Bilbao will provide a genuine test. They’ve really improved since appointing Gaizka Garitano and have become much more difficult to play and score against. However they did suffer their first league defeat in two months last time out, going down to a 2-1 defeat at Real Sociedad in the Basque derby, although they may consider themselves a bit unfortunate to have not picked up a result in the end.
There are reasons to think they could take points off Barcelona here. Even when he came on, Leo Messi did not look anywhere near his usual self in the clasico. If he’s not fully fit, Ernesto Valverde may consider resting him here with some huge games coming up over the next month as Barca resume their Champions League campaign whilst also travelling the Bernabeu twice as well as Sevilla in La Liga.
Even with Messi, they’ve not been quite at their best of late. They were held by Valencia at Camp Nou last weekend and rode their luck at times against Girona in their last away match with the hosts creating several chances. That should offer encouragement to Athletic, who are unbeaten in 6 home league matches and are always up for the big games at San Mames.
Deportivo Alaves vs Levante
Estadio de Mendizorroza, Gasteiz
Monday, 11-01-2010 @11:00pm
The Monday night game this week in La Liga comes from the Basque Country where two sides who started the season well but haven’t been quite as convincing of late meet. Alaves remain in the race for European football but may struggle to make it now having seen their squad weaken over the last month, largely due to the sale of Ibai Gomez.
They also let Rubén Sobrino leave for Valencia so their attacking options have weakened overall but loanee Takashi Inui is available now and could make a difference if he can fit into the side’s style of play. Alaves come into this game following 3 straight defeats to nil so there is pressure on them to at least stop the rot here.
Levante are a bit of a mixed bag in truth. They’ve been exceptional at times on the road this term, winning away to the likes of Betis and Real Madrid. However they’ve also conceded 11 goals against Sevilla this season, the most recent of which was a 5-0 loss in their last away outing in La Liga.
It’s difficult to know which Levante will show up here but right now it’s quite hard to fancy Alaves. Ibai Gomez was such an important player in terms of their set-piece threat, which was responsible for a number of their goals this term. Their strikers don’t convince and with less creativity now, it’s just very hard to see where their goals are going to come from which will add further strain on their defence, which has mostly been pretty solid.
They parked the bus at the Bernabeu last time out and although clearly they will be more positive here, they will be wary of a Levante side that is best on the break. That could lead to something of a chess match developing and with neither side looking too convincing in the final third right now, it’s hard to see many goals.
Levante have failed to score in 4 of their last 5 matches with forwards Roger Marti and Jose Luis Morales not getting much service.
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