Real Sociedad vs Levante
Reale Arena, San Sebastien
Wednesday, 30-10-2019 @9pm
Newly promoted Granada’s table topping exploits are understandably grabbing all of the headlines around La Liga at the moment, meaning Real Sociedad’s rapid progress under Imanol Alguacil has somewhat slipped under the radar.
It’s been a tremendous start to the campaign for Txuri-urdinak who moved up to 3rd at the weekend with 0-1 win against Celta Vigo at Balaidos – the three points sealed late in the piece through a tidy finish from substitute Alexander Isak after Celestes had been reduced to ten men midway through the second half.
The victory marked Sociedad’s sixth win of the season already, and they are firmly in the mix at the business end of the table amongst a clutch of big teams on 19 points, just one point shy of the surprise league leaders who they face at Los Carmenes next weekend.
Sociedad will be desperate to build further momentum going into that key clash where they could conceivably pinch top spot from Nazaries’ grasp, and a win over Levante this Wednesday is an absolute must for Alguacil’s side if they are to remain in the thick of things.
Txuri-urdinak are around the 4/9 mark to prevail, and it’s easy to see why. They have won three from four at Anoeta this season and five from their last six at home, whilst visitors Levante have lost four from five on the road this term and 11 out of their last 15 away La Liga games.
Levante had been compensating for their travelling woes with some solid form as home, but even that has gone awry in recent weeks. A 0-1 defeat to Espanyol at the weekend means Granotas are now without a win in three on their own turf and have just one victory from their last seven La Liga outings overall.
With results/form worsening, confidence low and matches against Sociedad, Barcelona and Bilbao coming up over the next fortnight, it’s easy to envisage Levante heading further south from their current 13th place and Paco Lopez’ charges may well find themselves in the relegation places by the time they leave San Mames a week on Sunday.
Granotas did manage to earn a point on their last trip to Anoeta in March but have won just one of their last 11 games against Txuri-urdinak, a record they’re unlikely to improve upon here based on their current woes and Sociedad’s excellent opening to the campaign.
Valencia vs Sevilla
Estadio de Mestalla, Valencia
Wednesday, 30-10-2019 @9pm
Hopes were extremely high for Valencia this season after their Copa Del Rey success and 4th place finish in 2018/19, but it’s been a bang average start to the new campaign so far for Los Che on all fronts.
Four points from a possible nine has left their potential qualification for the UEFA Champions League knockout stages in the balance, whilst domestically they sit a modest 12th ten games in following three wins, four draws and three defeats – the latest of those losses coming at the weekend as Segunda champions Osasuna ran out 3-1 winners at El Sadar.
With half a dozen sides including Wednesday’s opponents Sevilla all making strong starts to the season, Los Che are currently six points adrift of the top four – a gap which would worsen significantly were Sevilla able to bag all three points at Mestalla here on Matchday 11.
So there’s definitely an element of ‘must win’ to this contest for Valencia and boss Albert Celades, and they will at least be encouraged by the fact that they’re unbeaten at Mestalla in La Liga this term (W3, D2) and haven’t lost to Sevilla in their last eight encounters with the Andalusians at home.
This definitely feels like the right opportunity for Sevilla to break that mini hoodoo, after they moved up to 5th and level on points with 2nd placed Barcelona after an excellent 2-0 home victory against Getafe at the weekend, thanks to second half goals from Javier Hernandez and Lucas Ocampos.
It’s been a cracking few weeks overall for Los Palanganas who have won five from their last six in all competitions, keeping clean sheets in four of those games. A 100% record in three matches into the Europa League means the club are firmly on course to progress to the knockout stages and should consequently be able to take their foot off the gas on that front over the next few weeks.
Nonetheless, there are still a few question marks hanging over Julen Lopetegui’s side in terms of their away form in La Liga. They have lost their last two on the road against Eibar (3-2) and Barcelona (4-0) and that tempers enthusiasm for backing them this Wednesday night at the odds on offer – especially considering Valencia have yet to lose in the league at home this term.
Two of the last three meetings between the sides at Mestalla have ended all square, and our tentative vote goes with another draw being played out here on Matchday 11.
Athletic Bilbao vs Espanyol
Estadio San Mames Barria, Bilbao
Wednesday, 30-10-2019 @10pm
Athletic Bilbao were sitting pretty on 11 points from five games just a few weeks ago, but their fine start to the campaign has evaporated over the past month, with just two points gained from their last five La Liga outings. Los Leones desperately need to regain the winning thread at San Mames this Wednesday, but face no easy task against Espanyol who they have beaten just once in the last seven meetings between the teams.
Athletic Bilbao were celebrating top spot in La Liga after beating Alaves 2-0 on 22nd September, but things have rapidly gone south for Gaizka Garitano’s side. They are now 10th in the table following a 2-0 defeat away to Atletico Madrid at the weekend, having only managed 1-1 draws against Valladolid and bottom club Leganes in their last five outings.
Los Leones have now scored just one goal from open play in their last 450 minutes of La Liga football, and it’s becoming clearer by the week that this Bilbao side are clearly lacking in the creativity department. Save for veteran Raul Garcia’s four goals this term, Garitano’s men could be severely struggling at the wrong end of the table.
That’s undoubtedly where Bilbao will end up if they don’t get their act together soon, and fans will be baying for three points at home to 19th placed Espanyol this Wednesday to stop the rot.
On paper, this looks the ideal opportunity for Athletic to start turning the corner, as despite their woeful run they have still lost just one of their last 19 matches at San Mames whilst Espanyol have lost six of their ten La Liga fixtures this season.
The hosts look too short in the betting though here at odds-on based on their current problems, the aforementioned recent meetings between the teams and the fact that seven of Bilbao’s last 19 home fixtures have been drawn.
It’s perhaps too early to say that Espanyol have turned things around under new boss Pablo Machin, but Periquitos will head to the Basque Country in good spirits after back to back 0-1 away wins against Ludogorets Razgrad in the Europa League on Thursday and Levante in La Liga on Sunday.
And Espanyol’s away form hasn’t really been the problem for them overall this term – they have gained all of their eight points in La Liga on the road and won four of their five away assignments in Europe.
Real Betis vs Celta Vigo
Estadio Benito Villamarin, Seville
Wednesday, 30-10-2019 @11pm
The early La Liga table makes for pretty bleak reading for both Real Betis and Celta Vigo, who have each lost five of their opening ten matches. The clubs currently sit level on just nine points in 18th and 17th respectively heading into this Wednesday evening’s encounter at Benito Villamarin, which offers the sides a huge chance to clinch a potentially season changing victory and move clear of the bottom three.
La Liga fans certainly didn’t expect Real Betis to be toiling so badly this season after a busy summer in the transfer market and the capture of manager Rubi, who guided Espanyol to an impressive 7th place finish last term.
But things just haven’t been working out thus far for the 49 year-old and Los Verdiblancos, who have been shipping goals left, right and centre. With 20 goals conceded at a rate of two per game, Betis possess by some distance the worst defensive stats in La Liga and look extremely vulnerable every time the opposition moves into the final third.
Betis’ problems have largely been on the road though, which offers some cause for optimism ahead of this Wednesday’s fixture in Andalusia. Betis have lost four of their five away matches, conceding 14 goals in total, wheras they have registered two wins and two draws from five outings at Benito Villamarin, conceding just six times.
Whilst an eight point haul from five home games is nothing more than average for a club of Betis’ size, results at least demonstrate that Rubi’s squad feel more comfortable in front of their own fans and we can anticipate a better showing from Los Verdiblancos on Wednesday following consecutive away defeats since the international break against Real Sociedad (3-1) and Granada (1-0).
Betis’ status as favourites for this Matchday 11 clash is clearly justified by their promising home results to date, but also by Celta’s dismal results on the road – both this season and last.
Fran Escriba’s side have picked up just two points on their travels so far this term and have lost their last two away matches 2-0 against Eibar and Alaves.
Celestes are now incredibly without an away La Liga victory in 17 matches since beating Villarreal 2-3 last December, one of only two success in their last 31 outings outside of Galicia.
Real Madrid vs Leganes
Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Wednesday, 30-10-2019 @11:15pm
Friday’s El Clasico postponement means Real Madrid arrive fresh for this Wednesday’s home clash against Leganes and they will have a point to prove after losing their first La Liga game of the season away to Mallorca (1-0) ten days ago.
Los Blancos were woeful at Son Moix and fully deserved to come away with nothing from a game which was made worse for them by Alvaro Odriozola’s dismissal 15 minutes from time.
The 23 year-old is subsequently banned for this midweek clash, adding to a number of potential selection issues for boss Zinedine Zidane , with the likes of Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and Lucas Vazquez all nursing injuries.
It’s certainly feasible to suggest that Real will have been glad to swerve a clash with Barcelona based on their current form, as they were average at best despite pinching a 0-1 success away to Galatasaray in the Champions League last week.
A home fixture against bottom side and fellow Madrilenians Leganes is far more palatable for Zidane’s charges as they seek to regain some momentum and potentially record the kind of resounding victory that has so far eluded them this term.
Whilst Real have been far from convincing throughout the campaign, the stats and difference in quality between these sides still suggests that it’s likely to be a difficult night for Lega on Wednesday.
Real have won three and drawn one of their four home games in La Liga, scoring ten goals in the process, including four against current leaders Granada last time (4-2). Leganes make the short trip across the city to the Bernabeu having picked up just one draw from their four away outings this term, and they have lost seven of their ten La Liga matches so far in total.
Lega do at least head into this contest on the back of their first league win of the campaign, after beating Real’s recent conquerors Mallorca 1-0 at Butarque on Saturday, thanks to a goal 30 minutes in from Danish forward Martin Braithwaite.