Getafe vs Real Valladolid
Coliseum Alfonso Perez, Getafe
Sunday, 15-12-2019 @2pm
Getafe head into this weekend’s fixture in 5th place with only goal difference separating them from the top four after six wins from nine. The hosts have only lost to champions Barcelona at Coliseum Alfonso Perez this term (0-2), notching four wins and three draws in their other seven matches. Valladolid are without a win and a goal in four La Liga games and have won just one of their last seven on the road, losing four.
It was always going to be a nervy occasion at Coliseum Alfonso Perez on Thursday evening as Getafe and Krasnodar locked horns for a place in the Last 32 of the Europa League, but Pepe Bordalas’ side eventually asserted themselves thanks to three goals in the final 15 minutes from Cabrera, Molina and Kenedy.
The 3-0 win sealed Getafe’s progress to the knockout stages and the Madrid based outfit can now put continental football to bed for the foreseeable future to focus solely on La Liga. That will be a worry for the majority of sides towards the top of the table, as Bordalas’ charges have been flying in recent weeks despite their Europa League commitments.
It took Getafe a few weeks to adapt to their regular Thursday / Sunday scheduling and they began the season slowly with just one win from their first seven league matches, but they have since won six from nine to move up to 5th where they are level on points with 4th placed Real Sociedad.
They demonstrated their usual tenacity to sneak a 0-1 success at Eibar last weekend courtesy of a winner midway through the second half from Angel and they will be difficult to overcome back on home soil this Sunday where they have lost only to Barcelona this term.
Valladolid lost just twice and conceded only nine goals in their first ten matches this season, but their solid start was soon undone as they went onto lose three of their next four outings including a 3-0 hammering at Alaves on Matchday 12.
It’s been up to boss Sergio to steady the ship over the last fortnight or so and the 43 year-old has certainly done that, prioritising defence to oversee consecutive 0-0 stalemates away to Celta Vigo and at home to Real Sociedad.
The latter result was enough to edge Valladolid back up to 14th in the standings and they go into this Sunday’s match with a healthy six point buffer over the relegation zone. Pucela will be hoping to build further here on recent results, but they face a stiff task considering they have won just one of their last seven away games, losing four.
Celta Vigo vs Real Mallorca
Abanca Balaidos, Vigo
All but one of Celta Vigo’s eight home games this season have produced fewer than 2.5 goals. Celestes have scored just four goals in total at Balaidos and have failed to net in their last three home outings. Mallorca have scored just five goals on their travels this season and have failed to score in four of their seven away matches.
With Mallorca losing 5-2 away to Barcelona last weekend, Celta Vigo had a decent opportunity to move out of the relegation zone at the expense of Los Bermellones when they faced second bottom Leganes at Butarque.
Celestes would have been fancying their chances after an impressive 1-3 success at Villarreal in their previous away game, but they came up woefully short in Madrid and found themselves 3-0 down 55 minutes in. Goals from Araujo and Aspas helped to mount a second half fightback, but Celta weren’t able to rescue anything and remain 18th heading into this Sunday’s crucial encounter against Mallorca at Balaidos.
Celta are odds-on favourites to land the spoils on Matchday 17 by virtue of Mallorca’s dismal away record this term, but we think Oscar Garcia’s side rate as poor value considering they have lost six of their last eight matches in La Liga and have failed to score in their last three outings at Balaidos, including in their 0-0 stalemate with Valladolid a fortnight ago.
Considering the gulf in class between the sides and Mallorca’s record of six defeats from six on the road this season, Vicente Moreno’s team were hardly expected to get anything against Barcelona at Camp Nou last weekend and the game panned out pretty much as anticipated.
The champions cantered to a fairly nonchalant 5-2 success spearheaded by a Lionel Messi hat-trick, leaving Mallorca still without an away point this term and hovering just one point above the drop zone in 17th.
Mallorca should probably be commended for managing to score twice as they could easily have suffered a real hiding, but there’s little to recommend Los Bermellones this weekend based on their travelling problems and the fact they have now lost four of their last five La Liga games.
Espanyol vs Real Betis
RCDE Stadium, Barcelona
Sunday, 15-12-2019 @6pm
Espanyol are bottom of La Liga and go into this Sunday’s fixture having drawn one and lost seven of their eight matches at RCDE Stadium this term. Last weekend’s 3-2 success over Athletic Bilbao made it three wins on the bounce for Real Betis, who are now up to 11th in the standings. Los Verdiblancos are unbeaten in their last five meetings against Espanyol, winning three and drawing two. Betis boss Rubi takes on his former club here having guided Espanyol to a 7th place finish last season.
Rubi’s tenure at Real Betis hardly got off to the best of starts with just two wins gained in his first ten matches in charge, but things have really clicked into place for Los Verdiblancos over the past few weeks.
Following a pair of 2-1 victories against Valencia and Mallorca, a brilliant hat-trick from club legend Joaquin proved enough to secure a 3-2 triumph over Athletic Bilbao at Benito Villamarin last weekend and Betis’ third La Liga success on the spin.
The result lifted Los Verdiblancos up to 11th in the table and they will be confident that they can break into the top half on Matchday 17 when they square off against an Espanyol side who can’t buy a win on their own turf this season. Betis will also be keen to put one over on Rubi’s old club who finished 7th under the watch of the 49 year-old last term.
Despite safely negotiating their way through the Europa League Group Phase, last season’s domestic success now feels a world away for Espanyol who remain bottom of La Liga and odds-on favourites for relegation heading into this Sunday’s fixture.
Last weekend’s 2-0 loss against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu was Periquitos’ 11th defeat of the campaign and they are now six games without a win (D1, L5) since edging out Levante 0-1 at the end of October.
All but one of Espanyol’s nine points this term have been on the road and Pablo Machin’s men have been truly woeful in front of their own supporters at RCDE Stadium. The Barcelona based outfit have lost seven from eight on their own patch conceding 18 goals in total, with a 1-1 draw against Getafe at the end of November marking their only decent display.
Periquitos are already five points adrift of safety and need something from this Matchday 17 clash to prevent that gap from growing, as 17th placed Mallorca and 18th placed Celta Vigo also face off against each other this weekend.
Sevilla vs Villareal
Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville
Sunday, 15-12-2019 @8:30pm
3rd placed Sevilla head into this Matchday 17 contest unbeaten in their last eight La Liga outings (W5, D3). The hosts have accrued 14 points from seven league games at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan this term, losing only to joint leaders Real Madrid (0-1) on Matchday 5. 13th placed Villarreal travel to Andalusia without a win in their last six La Liga matches (D3, L3). The visitors have struggled badly on the road this season, winning just two and losing six of their away games.
Sevilla’s 11 match unbeaten run in all competitions may have come to an end on Thursday night after they were beaten 1-0 by APOEL Nicosia in Cyprus, but the result won’t concern Julen Lopetegui and his side too much considering they had already qualified easily for the Last 16 of the Europa League as Group A winners.
Los Palanganas can now concentrate solely on La Liga until European competition resumes in February, and they are enjoying a massive season domestically after the disappointment of missing out on the Champions League places last term.
Sevilla have a stranglehold on 3rd place after a run of five wins and three draws from their last eight top flight matches, and they head into their penultimate La Liga fixture before Christmas just three points behind joint leaders Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The Andalusian giants will have been frustrated not to get the better of Osasuna at El Sadar last weekend after the hosts were reduced to ten men with half an hour to play, but the 1-1 draw nonetheless kept Sevilla’s unbeaten run in-tact and they will be hopeful of a six point haul over the next fortnight with an away game against strugglers Mallorca to come on Matchday 18.
Villarreal endured a nightmare 2018/19 domestically as they slumped to a poor 14th place finish, and it looks as though El Submarino Amarillo are booked for a similar berth again this time around despite a positive start to the campaign in the opening rounds.
Javier Calleja’s side are now without a win in six La Liga games following three draws and three defeats, and although last weekend’s 0-0 stalemate against Atletico Madrid at La Ceramica can be considered a fair result, they desperately need a victory soon to restore confidence and prevent being drawn into the relegation picture.
Things could look much worse for Villarreal over the Christmas period though, as they face a tough home fixture against 5th placed Getafe on Matchday 18 and they head to Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan this Sunday having lost six of their eight league matches on the road this season.
Valencia vs Real Madrid
Estadio Mestalla, Valencia
Sunday, 15-12-2019 @11pm
Valencia are unbeaten in eight home La Liga matches this season, winning four and drawing four. The hosts have won four of their last five La Liga games after a 2-4 derby victory away to Levante last weekend, and have won three straight matches in all competitions following their 0-1 Champions League success against Ajax on Tuesday. Real Madrid have lost just one of their last 16 games in all competitions, winning ten.
Rodrigo’s goal 24 minutes in was enough to seal a memorable 0-1 triumph for Valencia in Amsterdam during the week, as Los Che qualified for the Last 16 of the Champions League at the expense of the 2018/19 semi-finalists.
Considering the Dutch giants swept Valencia aside 0-3 at Mestalla earlier in the campaign, the result marked just how far Albert Celades’ side have progressed since his appointment in September and they will hope to sustain their fine recent form when Real Madrid come to town this weekend.
Aside from their Champions League exploits, Los Che have been ramping things up in La Liga too and go into Sunday’s contest having won four of their last five top flight matches, including a 2-4 victory over Levante in the derby last week.
Celades’ side remain 8th in the table but are now just one point behind the top four, so it’s vital for them to get something from this fixture to stay firmly in the hunt. The hosts will be mightily confident about doing just that though despite the high standard of opposition, based on their recent form and the fact they are unbeaten in eight league games at Mestalla this season (W4, D4).
It’s fair to say that Real Madrid haven’t been spectacular this season, but they have been extremely consistent unlike last term when they were beaten 12 times in total en route to finishing a distant 3rd in La Liga.
This time around, they are bang on the pace at the top of the table with Barcelona after winning ten and losing just one of their 15 games so far, and Zinedine Zidane’s side travel to Mestalla on the back of four consecutive league victories after last weekend’s efficient 2-0 success against Espanyol at Santiago Bernabeu.
Los Blancos will be equally optimistic about landing the spoils this Sunday night having accrued 14 points in their seven away league matches this season, and there will be no better tonic ahead of Wednesday’s rearranged El Clasico than getting the better of this in form Valencia side at Mestalla.
And with Barcelona facing a potentially tricky test away to Real Sociedad on Matchday 17, Madrid could well be travelling to Camp Nou with a slender advantage in the title race if they are able to claim all three points.