Valencia vs Eibar
Estadio Mestalla, Valencia
Saturday, 04-01-2020 @3pm
Valencia are unbeaten in nine home La Liga games this term, winning four and drawing five. The hosts have lost just one of their last 22 league matches at Mestalla – with Eibar being the only side to topple Los Che last April (0-1). Eibar have won just one of their nine away games in La Liga this season (D4, L4). Los Armeros are traditionally poor travellers and have won just two of their last 24 top-flight fixtures on the road.
A title challenge looks out of the question for Valencia this term, with 11 points to make up behind leaders Barcelona heading into the New Year, but Los Che can at least aim for another top-four finish following a series of good results in the run-up to Christmas.
After an indifferent start to the campaign on all fronts, Valencia secured their pass to the Last 16 of the Champions League via consecutive wins against Lille (4-1) and Ajax (1-0) – and those results undoubtedly buoyed Albert Celades’ side domestically. While they had to wait until stoppage time to snatch a 1-1 draw against Real Valladolid at Jose Zorrilla last time out, they previously held second-placed Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw at Mestalla and have now lost just one of their last eight top-flight matches.
And their home record reads extremely well in the context of this Saturday’s fixture against 16th-placed Eibar. Los Che are unbeaten in nine at Mestalla this season and have lost just one of their last 22 league matches on home turf – albeit that defeat came against Los Armeros at the end of last term (1-0).
Eibar signed off for Christmas with a much-needed 3-0 success over Granada at Ipurua, easing their relegation concerns, although Los Armeros are far from safe with just four points separating them from the bottom three ahead of this Saturday’s visit to Mestalla.
It’s a venue that will spark decent memories for Jose Luis Mendilibar’s side after a one-goal win last season, but Eibar’s triumphs on the road are extremely few and far between. A 2-1 win at 19th-placed Leganes in early November is Eibar’s only victory on their travels to date this season from nine attempts (D4, L4); they have now won just two of their last 24 La Liga matches on their travels.
Such a record hardly bodes well here against a Valencia outfit so tough to beat on home soil, even despite Los Armeros’ surprise success at Mestalla last April.
Getafe vs Real Madrid
Colusium Alfonso Perez, Getafe
Saturday, 04-01-2020 @6pm
Getafe have been in tremendous form at home, winning four and drawing one of their last five matches at Coliseum Alfonso Perez. Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last 13 games in all competitions. However, their last three La Liga fixtures have finished all square. Los Blancos have lost just one of their nine away matches in La Liga this season, winning four and drawing four.
December’s 0-0 El Clasico stalemate at Camp Nou was a decent result for Real Madrid, however, further draws against Valencia (1-1) and Athletic Bilbao (0-0) on the run up to Christmas mean Los Blancos are now playing catch-up with arch-rivals Barcelona in the La Liga title race.
Real are two points behind the champions heading into Matchday 19, where they face an extremely difficult assignment away to fellow Madrilenians Getafe who have been in superb form throughout the last two months.
Zinedine Zidane’s side could only manage a 0-0 draw here in last season’s corresponding fixture and a repeat may be the best they can hope for this time around, with the hosts enjoying a fine run of four wins and a draw from their last five outings at Coliseum Alfonso Perez.
Real will be supremely confident, though, that they can take a positive result from this fixture as they are now unbeaten in their last 13 matches in all competitions, whilst they have lost just one of their nine away La Liga games this term.
Getafe suffered their first La Liga defeat in eight away to Villarreal last time out, but the narrow 1-0 loss is unlikely to halt momentum too much for Pepe Bordalas’ talented side.
Prior to their unsuccessful visit to La Ceramica, Getafe won three La Liga matches on the spin without conceding against Levante (4-0), Eibar (0-1) and Valladolid (2-0), and they have amassed 13 points from their last five outings at Coliseum Alfonso Perez, keeping four clean sheets and netting 11 goals in total.
Bordalas’ charges sit just two points outside of the Champions League places as a result of their recent results, and any kind of positive result from this weekend’s derby will keep the hosts firmly in contention to challenge for the top four this season.
Atletico Madrid vs Levante
Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid
Saturday, 04-01-2020 @8:30pm
Last season’s 1-0 victory was Atletico Madrid’s tenth straight home win against Levante in La Liga. December’s 0-1 loss against Barcelona at Wanda Metropolitano was one of just two defeats for Atleti in their last 29 La Liga home matches (W20, D7, and L2).
Levante have lost six of their nine away games in La Liga this season. However, Granotas have scored in six of those matches and in all but one of their last eight top flight fixtures.
After picking up just two points from their fixtures against Granada (1-1), Barcelona (0-1) and Villarreal (0-0), it was vital that Atletico Madrid finished 2019 strongly to at least stay in contention for a top four finish.
They did just that courtesy of a 2-0 victory against Osasuna at Wanda Metropolitano on Matchday 17, before signing off for Christmas with a 1-2 win over Real Betis at Benito Villamarin – a game that was more clear-cut than the scoreline suggests after Atleti’s two goal lead was halved deep into stoppage time.
Consecutive wins have lifted Los Rojiblancos up to 4th in the table following a concerning slip down to 7th in mid-December, and Diego Simeone’s side will now aim to solidify their spot in the top four and also reel in leaders Barca, who are currently seven points clear of them at the head of affairs.
That may well prove too much of an ask, especially as Atleti still have away days against Barca and Real Madrid to come, but they should at least kick-off 2020 in the right way this Saturday against Levante, considering they have won their last ten La Liga home games against Granotas and 20 of their last 29 La Liga matches overall in front of their own supporters.
Like Atleti, Levante signed off for 2019 with back to back wins against Granada (1-2) and Celta Vigo (3-1), results which have edged Granotas up into the top half of the table.
This Saturday’s fixture represents an altogether different task though for Paco Lopez’ side, who will hardly be relishing their trip to the capital following so many unsuccessful visits to face Los Rojiblancos in the past.
Add into the mix that Levante have lost six of their nine away matches in La Liga this term, and it’s easy to see why they have been chalked up at around 10/1 to claim all three points from this Matchday 19 contest.
Nonetheless, Levante’s recent form should make them competitive, and they are likely to give Atleti’s traditionally firm backline something to ponder. Granotas have scored in all but one of their last eight league matches, netting 15 in total, whilst they have also managed to score in six of their nine away outings this season.
Espanyol vs Barcelona
RCDE Stadium, Barcelona
Saturday, 04-01-2020 @11pm
29 points separate the teams going into Saturday’s clash. Leaders Barcelona have won 12 of their 18 league matches so far this season, whilst Espanyol have lost 12 of their 18 outings. The hosts have the worst home record in La Liga by some distance, having drawn two and lost seven of their nine fixtures at RCDE Stadium so far this term. Whilst Barca have lost three from nine on the road this season, they have accrued seven points from their last three away games.
The current Barcelona side may not be as feared or admired as some of their teams in the recent past, but they have proven themselves to still be an extremely formidable outfit so far this season.
Valverde’s Barca are built more around consistency and efficiency as opposed to outright flair and their record over the past few months speaks for itself. The Catalan giants have won 15 of their last 18 matches in all competitions, including ten from their last 13 in La Liga.
They have been matched throughout this season by El Clasico rivals Real Madrid in what is developing into one of the closest title races in years, but Barca kick-off 2020 with a two point advantage at the top of the table, following Los Blancos’ 0-0 stalemate against Bilbao at the Bernabeu on Matchday 18.
Barca comfortably dispatched Alaves 4-1 last time out at Camp Nou and we expect another one-sided affair here. Whilst Valverde’s men have lost three of their nine away games in La Liga this season, they have claimed seven points from their last three outings on the road and are slowly starting to find their A game on their travels.
After eight La Liga games without a win (D3, L5) and nine home matches without a win this season (D2, L7), it’s no surprise that Pablo Machin was given his marching orders at RCDE Stadium over the Christmas period.
Espanyol’s second managerial change of the campaign sees former Alaves boss Abelardo step into the hotseat, and the 49 year-old must begin his quest to keep Periquitos afloat against the side he turned out for as a player nearly 200 times during the 90’s and 00’s.
Espanyol are long-odds on to bite the dust this term, and Abelardo must arrest their dismal home form if they are to have any chance of staying up.
Periquitos’ first win of the season at RCDE Stadium may only be a matter of time now with a new manager likely to freshen things up around the club, but this could be a chastening experience for Abelardo, who won’t have had much time to work with his squad since his appointment on December 27.
The upcoming La Liga fixtures
-Granada vs Mallorca @2pm
-Real Sociedad vs Villarreal @4pm
-Deportivo Alaves vs Real Betis @6pm
-Celta Vigo vs Osasuna @11pm
-Real Valladolid 2-2 Leganes
-Sevilla 1-1 Athletic Bilbao