Granada vs Osasuna
Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes, Granada
Friday, 18-10-2019 @10pm
Matchday 9 in La Liga kicks off in Andalusia this Friday evening, as last season’s automatically promoted teams Granada and Osasuna face off at Los Carmenes.
Both sides have enjoyed decent starts to life back in the Spanish top tier thus far, but it is 4th placed Granada who edge favouritism going into this one after winning their last two games at Los Carmenes, where they have never been beaten by Los Rojillos in seven previous encounters.
Granada may have signed off for the international break with a defeat; however their 4-2 loss to leaders Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu was no disgrace.
Diego Martinez’ side were outclassed in the capital and found themselves 3-0 down with 30 minutes to play, but almost fought back for a point following goals from Darwin Machis and Domingos Duarte.
James Rodriguez put paid to the comeback in stoppage time, but Granada will nonetheless have been pleased with how they coped with such adversity after enjoying plenty of success in previous weeks.
Nazaries won four and drew one of their five previous La Liga outings, including a tremendous 2-0 victory at home to champions Barcelona on Matchday 5. Last term’s Segunda runners-up have now won their last two at Los Carmenes without conceding following a 1-0 triumph over Leganes on Matchday 7, and they fully deserve to be riding high in 4th at this early stage of the campaign.
Granada have undoubtedly made a more impressive start than their opponents this Friday despite finishing eight points behind them in 2018/19, however Osasuna have been solid and are just three points behind despite being seven places worse off in 11th.
Jagoba Arrasate’s side played out a goalless stalemate at home to Real Sociedad a fortnight ago to tally their fifth draw of the season, and their only reversal back in the top flight so far came away to Real Madrid (2-0) on Matchday 6.
Consequently, Los Rojillos will be confident of at least avoiding defeat in this one, and they have earned four draws in seven previous away trips to face Granada.
Eibar vs Barcelona
Estadio Municipal de Ipurua, Eibar
Saturday, 19-10-2019 @2pm
Saturday lunchtime’s La Liga instalment comes from Iperua Municipal Stadium, as Jose Luis Mendilibar’s Eibar side entertain Barcelona. Los Armeros held the reigning champions to a 2-2 draw in last season’s corresponding fixture – their first point ever registered against the Catalan giants following nine previous defeats.
After winning their last two league games at home, Eibar will be hopeful they can achieve another positive result here, but they’ll be up against it if Barca can pick up from where they left off before the international break.
Ernesto Valverde’s men endured a sticky opening to the campaign with the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on the treatment table, losing twice on the road in a matter of weeks to Athletic Bilbao (1-0) and Granada (2-0).
Considering Barca had lost just four games in the league over the past two seasons, alarm bells were starting to ring at Camp Nou; however Valverde’s side now appear to have turned the corner.
They signed off for the international break by hammering Sevilla 4-0 at home, marking a third consecutive La Liga victory which has helped them quickly surge up the league table to 2nd heading into Matchday 9.
On the European front, Barca have been workmanlike rather than emphatic, but a four point haul from matches away to Borussia Dortmund (0-0) and at home to Internazionale (2-1) represents a healthy return nonetheless.
With their big offensive guns now back firing and marquee summer signing Antoine Griezmann settling in well, Barca are ramping things up nicely and should have too much ammunition for an Eibar side who they have dominated in the past.
Prior to last term’s 2-2 draw at Iperua, Barca beat Los Armeros nine times on the spin, racking up an enormous 31 goals for the concession of just four. Eibar have notoriously been a well organised, difficult team to overcome in La Liga over recent seasons which makes that record all the more impressive.
Eibar do go into this fixture in good nick though, after claiming eight points from their last four La Liga matches. They have beaten Sevilla (3-2) and Celta Vigo (2-0) in their last two outings at Iperua and recent form has inched the Basque outfit up to 14th in the standings after a woeful start which brought just one point from their first four games.
Atletico Madrid vs Valencia
Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid
Saturday, 19-10-2019 @5pm
October 2014 was the last time that Valencia got the better of Atleti, so Los Che won’t exactly be relishing their trip to Wanda Metropolitano this weekend. It’s been six victories for Atleti and three draws over that period, and Diego Simeone’s men have an even bigger stranglehold over their opponents at home.
Atleti are unbeaten in ten matches against Valencia in Madrid, winning seven including four of their last five. Last term’s 3-2 success was a highly entertaining affair, but early season form this time around suggests that the hosts will be looking to control a much tighter game this Saturday.
Atleti have been exceptional defensively of late keeping clean sheets in their last five matches in all competitions, whilst they have conceded just four goals in total from their eight league outings to date. The likes of Kieron Trippier and Renan Lodi have settled into life at Wanda like ducks to water, and Atleti’s reputation for being the hardest team to beat in Spain is only getting stronger.
That’s the reason why Valencia have been installed at around 5/1 to come out on top this weekend, and there’s enough to suggest that a win is probably beyond the visitors who are still adapting to life under manager Albert Celades.
It’s been a fairly mixed start for Los Che under Celades so far, with three wins, two draws and two defeats posted from seven games in all competitions.
The clear highlights of Celades’ embryonic reign have been 0-1 away victories against Chelsea in the Champions League and Athletic Bilbao in La Liga, but a comprehensive 0-3 home defeat to Ajax a fortnight ago indicates that Valencia are perhaps some way off the heights which they hit last season when finishing fourth and lifting the Copa Del Rey.
Nonetheless, they will probably feel that they don’t have much to lose coming into a fixture that has been so unkind to them in the past.
Getafe vs Leganes
Coliseum Alfonso Perez, Getafe
Saturday, 19-10-2019 @7:30pm
Last season’s 5th placed side Getafe currently find themselves 12th in the La Liga standings eight games into the campaign, however the Madrid based outfit will be feeling positive as they prepare to return from the international break.
Pepe Bordalas’ men signed off with a brilliant 1-2 success against 5th placed Real Sociedad at Anoeta two weeks ago, whilst they have also made a 100% start to their Europa League campaign, beating Trabzonspor (1-0) and Krasnodar (1-2).
And whilst two wins, four draws and two losses represents just a fair return from their eight league games so far, Getafe have had to face Atletico Madrid and Barcelona already and were far from disgraced in defeat to last season’s top two (1-0 and 0-2 respectively).
A victory over fellow Madrilenians Leganes this weekend should see Getafe climb into the top half and Bordalas’ side will have few excuses if they can’t see off Mauricio Pellegrino’s charges who have mustered just two draws from their eight league fixtures this term.
Ironically, those draws were very good results against Valencia and Athletic Bilbao, but aside from that Los Pepineros have been largely hopeless and are now the bookies’ favourites for relegation this season.
A 1-2 home defeat to Levante last time out ensured that Pellegrino’s men remained rock bottom of the pile heading into the international break and they are already six points adrift of the safety line.
A home encounter against fellow strugglers Mallorca next week already looks like a potential six-pointer and Lega will be desperate to go into that fixture with some kind of momentum.
They will draw upon their excellent 0-2 triumph here at Coliseum Alfonso Perez in 2018/19, but a repeat of that result looks highly unlikely based on the majority of what we’ve seen this term from Los Pepineros who have scored just four goals in eight matches and conceded 12.
Getafe have been in fine goal scoring form of late with 11 netted in their last five outings and Pepe Bordalas’ men should be too strong as they seek to continue on their upward curve.
Mallorca vs Real Madrid
Iberoster Estadi, Palma de Mallorca
Saturday, 19-10-2019 @10pm
It’s been a strange season thus far for Real Madrid to say the least. It’s difficult to criticise a team who are top of the league and unbeaten domestically, but Zinedine Zidane’s side have been underwhelming and unconvincing more often than not.
On the European front, Los Blancos are in danger of being dumped out of the Champions League at the Group Stage, after picking up just a single point from matches against PSG (3-0) and Club Brugge (2-2) – the first time ever that Real have failed to win either of their first two games in the competition.
Real appeared to have cleared that Brugge result from their system as they raced into a 3-0 lead at home to Granada before the international break, but nerves and uncertainty set in again as Nazaries pulled things back to 3-2 and threatened to complete an extraordinary comeback at the Bernabeu.
As it turned out, Real finally put the contest to bed through James Rodriguez in stoppage time to post a 4-2 win, but the result still left many question marks hanging over this current Madrid side and whether they are truly capable of replicating the success that boss Zidane enjoyed in his first stint at the club.
Real face an unfamiliar challenge this weekend in the shape of Mallorca – a team who they haven’t come up against since the 2012/13 campaign when they smashed in ten goals across both league fixtures.
Madrid would dearly love to record a resounding win similar to the 0-5 hammering they dished out when last in Palma seven years ago, although early season form suggests that Mallorca will put up a decent fight at Son Moix this Saturday.
Los Bermellones are 18th in the table having registered two wins, one draw and five defeats overall so far, but all of their points have been earned in Palma where they have been extremely competitive in front of their own supporters.
Vicente Moreno’s side signed off for the international break with a fully deserved 2-0 success over Espanyol at Son Moix, where they have also beaten Eibar (2-1) and drawn with Athletic Bilbao (0-0) this term.
Defeats to Real Sociedad (0-1) and Atletico Madrid (0-2) undoubtedly signal that Mallorca are going to come up short against the biggest teams in Spain, but travelling sides will need to graft at Son Moix and are unlikely to be handed three points on a plate.
Whilst Real have notched two points less on the road than they have at home so far, they have arguably been more impressive on their travels, beating Celta Vigo (1-3) and Sevilla (0-1) to complement decent draws against Villarreal (2-2) and cross-city rivals Atletico (0-0).
Deportivo Alaves vs Celta Vigo
Estadio de Mendizorroza, Vitoria-Gasteiz
Sunday, 20-10-2019 @1pm
Sunday’s early La Liga clash in the Basque Country pits together two sides who have endured difficult starts to the 2019/20 campaign. Both Alaves and Celta Vigo sit in the bottom six heading into Matchday 9, with the hosts having won just one of their last seven matches and the visitors victorious just once in their last six outings.
Crucially though, Celta Vigo managed to sign off for the international break with three points at home to Athletic Bilbao, courtesy of Iago Aspas’ first goal of the season 15 minutes from time. That hard fought success will have given Fran Escriba and his side a platform to build upon, and Celestes have been installed as narrow favourites to follow-up at Mendizorroza this weekend.
Whilst Celta are still in search of their first away win of the campaign following two draws and a defeat thus far, the two points which they have earned on their travels came against Sevilla (1-1) and Atletico Madrid (0-0) – results which would be marked down as positive for the majority of teams in La Liga.
They failed to replicate those performances against Eibar (2-0) when last on the road at the end of September, but a better showing can be expected from Escriba’s charges here against an Alaves side who have lost four of their last five league games.
Alaves are two places below Celta and just outside the relegation zone in 17th following their poor run which has included comprehensive away losses to fellow Basque sides Athletic Bilbao (2-0) and Real Sociedad (3-0).
A 2-1 defeat away to Valencia before the international break looks closer on paper than it actually was (Alaves netted a consolation two minutes from time through Lucas Perez), though Asier Garitano’s men will take some confidence from their overall home form this term going into Sunday’s encounter against Celestes.
Alaves have picked up seven points from a possible 12 at Mendizorroza, notching wins without concession against Levante (1-0) on the opening weekend and Mallorca (2-0) three weeks ago.
Babazorros also boast a strong recent record against Celta with four wins and a draw accrued in the last seven meetings between the sides, and the visitors have not won at Mendizorroza since Alaves returned to the top fight in 2016/17.
Real Sociedad vs Real Betis
Reale Arena, San Sebastian
Sunday, 20-10-2019 @3pm
The international break certainly came at the right time for Real Sociedad, after their strong start to the campaign took a downward turn with consecutive defeats against Sevilla (3-2) and Getafe (1-2). Imanol Alguacil’s team still hold 5th position in the table though heading into Matchday 9, where they will be confident of bouncing back against a Real Betis side who they haven’t lost to at Anoeta since the 2003/04 season.
Sociedad’s unbeaten run at home to Los Verdiblancos stands at 12 games, and they have won six of those contests including a 2-1 victory in last season’s corresponding fixture.
Whilst their aforementioned loss to Getafe last time out was a huge disappointment after they took the lead just five minutes in, Alguacil’s side had previously recorded comprehensive wins without conceding against Alaves (3-0) and Atletico Madrid (2-0) at Anoeta, so it’s easy to see why Txuri-urdinak are odds-on for this Sunday’s game based on the strength of that form, their impressive record against Betis in front of their own fans and the visitors’ poor start to the campaign.
After several seasons of mid-table obscurity, bigger and better things were expected for Betis this term; however the Andalusians have largely struggled to date since Rubi replaced the outgoing Quique Setien in May.
Los Verdiblancos are 16th in the standings heading into the weekend and have picked up just a solitary point from their three games on the road. That came against via a drab 0-0 stalemate against Osasuna on 20th September, a result sandwiched in between heavy defeats to Real Madrid (5-2) and Villarreal (5-1).
With 16 goals conceded in total across their eight league outings, Betis have by far the worst defensive record in La Liga at present, and their porous rear-guard could be there for the taking this Sunday against a Sociedad side who have scored at a rate of two goals per game at Anoeta.
Espanyol vs Villareal
RCDE Stadium, Barcelona
Sunday, 20-10-2019 @5pm
After a fine 7th place finish last term, it’s hard to argue that Espanyol’s start to the new La Liga campaign has been anything short of unacceptable, and David Gallego unsurprisingly bit the dust just before the international break following a 2-0 defeat against Mallorca at Son Moix.
The result marked Espanyol’s fifth defeat of the season after just eight games and Periquitos return to action this weekend languishing second from bottom on just five points. In steps former Girona and Sevilla boss Pablo Machin to try and turn things around, and the 44 year-old will be desperate to kick off on a positive note at RCDE Stadium against Villarreal in this Matchday 9 clash.
And it’s the home faithful in particular who need getting on side, as Espanyol have lost all four of their league games at RCDE Stadium this term for an aggregate score of 1-10.
The switch of managers could well have an immediate impact this weekend, but the 2/1 on offer for the hosts is nowhere near big enough to tempt – even despite the fact that Villarreal have lost three of their four away league matches thus far.
El Submarino Amarillo’s poor showings on the road have cancelled out their unbeaten start to the season at Estadio de la Ceramica (W2, D2) and Javier Calleja’s side simply must improve on their travels if they are to challenge for Europe this term following a distant 14th place finish in 2018/19.
Villarreal head into this Sunday’s game in 9th, but a win could lift them into the top six depending on how other results go. RCDE Stadium hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for them in recent times though and they are without a victory here in their last six visits, including 3-1 reversals in league and cup last term.
That record and recent away failures in general also make Villarreal difficult to support here, so best advice is to give the match betting a wide berth in this one.
It’s notable that these sides faced each other four times in league and cup last season and each meeting produced four goals with both teams scoring.
Whilst Espanyol have been fairly woeful in front of goal so far this term, a return to this fixture and the arrival of Machin should spark enough life into them to contribute towards another high scoring encounter. Villarreal have also conceded twice in three of their four away games, so this represents a decent chance for Periquitos to get a grip of themselves in the final third of the pitch.
Athletic Bilbao vs Real Valladolid
San Mames Barria, Bilbao
Sunday, 20-10-2019 @7:30pm
Athletic Bilbao’s tidy start to the campaign was somewhat ruined by a pair of 1-0 defeats to Valencia and Celta Vigo before the international break, and Los Leones find themselves outside of the European places heading into this weekend’s clash against 12th placed Valladolid at San Mames.
Bilbao have been rock solid defensively so far this term with just four goals conceded in their eight games, but a distinct lack of cutting edge in attack has left them with just 12 points to show for their hard efforts.
Los Leones have netted just seven goals in total and their problems in front of goal are somewhat typified by the fact that the evergreen Raul Garcia has been responsible for four of them.
Bilbao have enjoyed a ton of possession in most of their matches and have looked quite pleasing on the eye, but striker Inaki Williams still flatters to deceive and is failing to assert himself as the talisman Athletic need with 38 year-old Aritz Aduriz now understandably only playing a bit part role.
The visit of Valladolid to San Mames this Sunday presents Athletic with a decent chance to get back on track, and a win should bump Gaizka Garitano’s side up the table from their current 7th spot.
But any success is likely to be hard fought based on what we’ve seen from the hosts thus far, and we can also expect nothing less than a dogged and determined display from their opponents.
Valladolid remain amongst the bookies’ favourites for relegation but they have been extremely solid so far this term, showing definite improvement from 2018/19 when they only narrowly evaded the drop.
Pucela are 13th in the table following two wins, four draws and two defeats, and their respectable tally of 10 points can be marked up a little as they have had to play five of their eight games away from home.
With Bilbao unbeaten in 17 home La Liga matches prior to their aforementioned 0-1 reversal against Valencia, Sunday’s trip to San Mames unquestionably represents one of the toughest away assignments that Valladolid will face this season and boss Sergio will be delighted if his side can come away from Bilbao with a point as they did last term (1-1).
Sevilla vs Levante
Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville
Sunday, 20-10-2019 @10pm
Sevilla briefly held sway at the top of La Liga in the opening weeks of the season, but a run of three defeats in four has seen Julen Lopetegui’s side drop down to 6th and five points off the pace being set by leaders Real Madrid. After a 4-0 stuffing against Barcelona last time out, Sevillistas need to hit back here against a Levante side which they dominated in 2018/19.
Few probably expected such a fast start from Sevilla who accrued 13 points from their first five matches, and momentarily it looked as though the appointment of Julen Lopetegui and a mass summer recruitment overhaul may have worked the oracle at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
But Sevilla’s limitations were somewhat exposed on Matchday 6 with a 0-1 defeat at home to Real Madrid and their bubble was definitely burst a week later as they tossed away a two goal advantage at Eibar to lose 3-2.
To Sevilla’s credit, they recovered from that result and a quick turnaround to beat Real Sociedad 3-2 at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan just three days later, but their final game before the international break was a disaster as Barcelona outclassed them 4-0 at Camp Nou.
So on balance of their first eight league games, it appears as though Sevilla will again come up short against the top teams this season; but they can probably be relied upon to do the business consistently against sides below the European places.
They certainly took care of Levante in 2018/19 with a 5-0 win here and a 2-6 victory at Ciutat de Valencia, so it’s unlikely that Granotas will be relishing their trip to Andalusia this Sunday.
Paco Lopez’ side are traditionally poor travellers as typified by their 10 away defeats last term, and they have already been beaten three times from four outings on the road this season.
Granotas did manage to nick a 1-2 victory away to Leganes before the international break, but a slender win against La Liga’s bottom side is hardly strong enough form to give them a serious shout in this one.