Leganes vs Real Sociedad
Estadio Municipal de Barteque, Leganes
Sunday, 02-02-2020 @2pm
Leganes have scored in seven of their last eight home matches, but have conceded at least twice on five occasions. Real Sociedad’s last five La Liga matches have all produced over 2.5 goals. Sociedad have scored in six of their last eight league matches on the road, but have shipped three goals in all but one of their last four away games. Following last weekend’s 0-0 stalemate against Atletico Madrid, Leganes have lost just one of their last six La Liga matches (W2, D3 and L1).
League positions and a 0-3 hammering at home to Getafe on Matchday 19 indicated Leganes had little chance against Atletico Madrid at Wanda Metropolitano last weekend, but Javier Aguirre’s side produced one of their best displays of the campaign to earn a highly credible 0-0 draw. It’s fair to say Atleti turned in a pretty inept display in that contest but there was more than enough from Los Pepineros to suggest they’re far from a lost cause this season.
A tinkered starting XI couldn’t back that effort up in midweek as Lega were steamrollered 5-0 by Barcelona in the Last 16 of the Copa Del Rey at Camp Nou. But a cup exit may well prove to be a blessing in disguise for Aguirre’s men, who can now fully concentrate on trying to preserve their La Liga status.
And aside from that aforementioned mauling at the hands of Getafe, Lega have been in their best league form of the season so far, with just one defeat suffered now in six outings. They will take plenty of confidence from recent results into this Sunday’s clash against Real Sociedad, and they will be further encouraged by the 1-1 draw they gained at Reale Arena in November’s reverse fixture.
Real Sociedad’s top-four aspirations took a real hit earlier in January after consecutive defeats against Villarreal (1-2) and Real Betis (3-0), but Txuri-urdinak made the most of a decent opportunity to get back on track at home to Mallorca last weekend. Anything but a win for Imanol Alguacil’s side at Reale Arena would’ve been classed as a real disaster, considering Mallorca travelled to San Sebastian with just one point on the board from nine away outings this term; but Sociedad held their nerve well after a tricky first half to get the job done.
Second-half goals from Isak, Barrenetxea and Portu sealed what turned out to be a comfortable 3-0 success for Txuri-urdinak at the end of the 90 minutes. The result keeps Sociedad sixth in the table and just two points behind the Champions League qualification places.
On paper, this Sunday’s encounter offers Sociedad a great chance to follow up and build some further momentum after their 3-1 midweek victory over Osasuna in the Copa Del Rey. But their inconsistent league form over the past couple of months means they are no shoe-ins at Butarque, against a Leganes outfit who are gradually beginning to turn their fortunes around.
Eibar vs Real Betis
Estadio Municipal de Ipurua, Eibar
Sunday, 02-02-2020 @4pm
Eibar have kept four clean sheets in their last five La Liga matches, including shut-outs in back to back home wins against Granada (3-0) and Atletico Madrid (2-0). All but one of the host’s last six La Liga matches have produced fewer than 2.5 goals. Four of Real Betis’ last six away La Liga games have also generated fewer than 2.5 goals. October’s 1-1 draw between the sides at Benito Villamarin was the fourth straight La Liga clash between the teams to produce fewer than 2.5 goals.
Eibar were being rapidly drawn into the relegation picture on the run up to Christmas, but Los Armeros now appear to have resolved the defensive issues that have plagued them for most of the campaign so far.
Jose Luis Mendilibar’s men shipped 28 goals in their first 16 league matches, but they have now conceded just once in their last five league games following last weekend’s 0-0 draw at Celta Vigo, which marked their fourth clean sheet in that run.
It’s no surprise that Eibar’s apparent defensive transformation has led to better results, and Los Armeros have notched eight points from their last five outings, including back to back home wins against Granada (3-0) and Atletico Madrid (2-0).
Mendilibar’s side head into this Sunday’s clash 15th in the table, and a relatively comfortable six points clear of the bottom three. They will be hoping to extend that gap against a Betis side which has won just one of their ten away fixtures in La Liga this term.
Real Betis have indeed struggled throughout the season on their travels, but last weekend’s game at Getafe was definitely one which they didn’t deserve to lose.
Los Verdiblancos were by far the better side at Coliseum Alfonso Perez and looked a potent force going forward, but they were undone late in the day via the penalty spot after a controversial handball decision was given after a VAR review.
In terms of attractive football, confidence and pace, Betis picked up from where they left off on Matchday 19 when beating Real Sociedad 3-0 at Benito Villamarin, but their failure to put chances away on their travels is really hurting them.
Betis have now scored just nine goals from their ten away outings compared to 20 goals netted in 11 at home, and that stat doesn’t bode well for them here, considering how defensively solid Eibar have been in recent weeks.
Athletic Bilbao vs Getafe
Estadio San Mames, Bilbao
Sunday, 02-02-2020 @6pm
Athletic Bilbao have amassed 21 points from their ten home games in La Liga this season (W6, D3 and L1). Their 0-1 reverse against Valencia at San Mames on Matchday 7 is Bilbao’s only defeat in their last 24 La Liga home matches (W14, D9 and L1). Bilbao have lost just one of their last 15 games in all competitions. Los Leones are unbeaten in their last five home encounters against Getafe (W3, D2).
After earning decent draws against leaders Real Madrid (0-0) and 3rd placed Sevilla (1-1) either side of the Christmas break, Athletic Club looked primed to step up their chase for European football throughout the rest of January, with a six point haul in the offing against bottom three sides Celta Vigo and Espanyol.
But it’s been a highly frustrating fortnight or so for Los Leones, who have been held to 1-1 draws by both of those struggling teams. Bilbao’s last five La Liga games have now ended all square, with their problems in front of goal evidently resurfacing. They have netted just three times in their last 450 minutes of top flight football, after scoring two goals in each of their previous four La Liga games.
Bilbao go into this weekend’s fixture 9th in the table, however they are only five points behind opponents Getafe who currently occupy 4th spot. So a win for Garitano’s side here will keep them firmly in the race for Champions League qualification, and their overall record at San Mames this term (W6, D3 and L1) gives them an obvious chance – providing they can improve their efficiency in front of goal against a Getafe outfit who seldom concede too many opportunities.
It looked distinctly possible that Getafe could drop out of top four contention after back to back defeats against Villarreal (1-0) and Real Madrid (0-3), but Pepe Bordalas’ side have responded extremely well to those setbacks over the past couple of weeks.
A resounding 0-3 success at Leganes was followed up by a hard fought 1-0 home win against Real Betis last weekend, a result which propelled Getafe back into the top four after Atletico Madrid failed to beat Leganes at Wanda Metropolitano.
Nonetheless, this Sunday’s clash at San Mames kicks-off a brutal run of fixtures for the Madrilenians, who also face Valencia, Barcelona and Sevilla in the coming weeks. Throw in Getafe’s daunting Europa League Last 32 tie against Ajax, and it’s easy to see how Bordalas’ men could be derailed in their quest to better last season’s superb 5th place finish.
Getafe travel to San Mames with three wins on the board from their last five away league matches; however all of those victories have been against teams in the bottom six. Sunday’s game clearly represents a much tougher test based on Bilbao’s fine home record, and San Mames has hardly been a happy hunting ground for Getafe in recent seasons, with just two draws picked up in their last five visits.
Sevilla vs Deportivo Alaves
Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville
Sunday, 02-02-2020 @8:30pm
After last weekend’s 2-0 victory over Granada, Sevilla are 3rd in the table going into this weekend’s fixture, 15 points ahead of 14th placed Alaves. Alaves have lost seven of their ten away La Liga matches this season, conceding twice or more in all of those defeats. Sevilla have accrued 17 points from their last eight La Liga outings at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan (W5, D2 and L1).
After an indifferent spell that yielded just one win in five La Liga games, Sevilla got themselves back on track with a fair degree of ease last weekend, as first half goals from Luuk De Jong and Nolito wrapped up a 2-0 success against Granada.
Three points was a must for Los Palanganas against a side that had lost their last six top flight matches on the road, and the result lifted Julen Lopetegui’s men back up to 3rd in the table. Whilst Sevilla’s inconsistent form throughout December and January has all but put paid to their title aspirations, they have at least maintained a solid position in the top four, with no teams in the chasing pack able to sustain a winning run.
Sevilla are heavy odds-on to secure a return to Champions League football this term, and their credentials should only strengthen here on Matchday 22, against an Alaves side who they have beaten in the last three meetings between the teams in Andalusia.
Alaves were impressive on Matchday 20 as they ousted Levante 0- 1 at Ciutat de Valencia to record just their second away win of the season, but Asier Garitano’s men were unable to follow-up at home to Villarreal last weekend.
Babazorros appeared to have rescued a point after Joselu cancelled out Carlos Bacca’s early strike with just ten minutes to play, but El Submarino Amarillo stole all three points at Mendizorroza thanks to Fernando Nino’s 89th minute goal.
The result keeps Alaves 14th in the table, and their campaign looks set to fizzle out without too much change, as they have just being doing enough all season to stay clear of the relegation fight.
The six point advantage they hold over the bottom three could well reduce this weekend depending on how other results go, but Alaves will feel they can take points from their fixtures against Eibar and Mallorca over the next couple of weeks, should they again leave Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan empty handed.
Villarreal vs Osasuna
Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal
Sunday, 02-02-2020 @8:30pm
Villarreal have won four out of their last five La Liga matches, and eight of their last nine games in all competitions. El Submarino Amarillo have a solid record at home overall this term, with four wins, four draws and just two defeats from their ten outings at La Ceramica. Osasuna have won just one of their last nine league matches on the road (W1, D5 and L3).
Excluding a shock 1-2 home defeat against bottom side Espanyol on Matchday 20, it’s been a tremendous few weeks for Javier Calleja’s Villarreal, who have moved up to 8th and within five points of the Champions League places after four wins from five.
El Submarino Amarillo left it late to claim all three points in a 1-2 victory against Alaves at Mendizorroza last weekend, but Fernando Nino’s goal two minutes from time proved enough to ensure Villarreal bounced straight back from their reverse against Periquitos.
With fixtures against Valladolid and Levante upcoming, Villarreal have a real chance to get seriously involved in the race for the top four during the next month, and they will be confident here that they can avenge their 2-1 October defeat to Osasuna at El Sadar.
Wednesday’s 0-2 Copa Del Rey success over Valladolid made it eight wins from nine in all competitions for Calleja’s side, and it’s no surprise that they’re rated odds-on favourites for this Sunday’s, clash considering Osasuna’s poor record on the road.
Osasuna’s have won just one of their last nine La Liga matches on their travels, and that success was a modest one on Matchday 15 against an Espanyol side who are without a win at RCDE Stadium this season.
Los Rojillos were without a win in six La Liga games prior to last weekend’s clash against Levante at El Sadar, but they managed to stop the rot late in the day thanks to goals from Ruben Garcia and Inigo Perez in the final ten minutes.
The victory inched Jagoba Arrasate’s charges back up into the top half of the table, and they sit just three points behind Villarreal going into this Sunday’s game. But we’re expecting a bigger gap between the teams on the pitch here on Matchday 22, with the host’s on a steep upward curve and the visitors struggling to produce their best football outside of Pamplona.
Barcelona vs Levante
Estadio Camp Nou, Barcelona
Sunday, 02-02-2020 @11pm
Barcelona have won their last 14 meetings against Levante at Camp Nou. The Catalan giants boast a near flawless record at home in La Liga this term, winning nine and drawing one of their ten outings at Camp Nou. Levante have lost their last three La Liga matches, and four of their last five league games on the road.
Barcelona are not used to being out of pole position in La Liga, but they are now chasing El Clasico rivals Real Madrid after a 2-0 defeat at Valencia last weekend. While plenty of credit has to go to Los Che who fully deserved the win at Mestalla, it was an extremely off-colour performance from the champions, who are clearly still adapting to life under new boss Quique Setien.
Barca responded with intent against Leganes in the Copa Del Rey on Wednesday as a brace from Lionel Messi rounded out a thumping 5-0 success over Los Pepineros, but they need to produce a similar effort in La Liga this Sunday to avoid another slip-up.
The hosts lost just four games throughout the last two La Liga campaigns but have suffered the same amount of defeats already this term, including a 3-1 beating against this Sunday’s opponents Levante in November’s reverse fixture.
A different result is anticipated here though, with Barca boasting a record of nine wins and a draw from ten league games at Camp Nou this term, while Levante have lost eight of their 11 away matches, including four of their last five.
Levante’s latest disappointment on their travels came on Matchday 22, as Granotas succumbed 2-0 to an Osasuna side who were without a win in six La Liga matches.
It’s now three defeats on the spin for Paco Lopez’ charges, and they have dropped to 13th in the La Liga standings as a result. Granotas are eight points clear of the bottom three and shouldn’t harbour too many relegation concerns due to their generally decent form at Ciutat de Valencia, but their abysmal away form is likely to hamper any further progress this season.
As is the case for so many La Liga sides, this Sunday’s clash rates as the toughest fixture of the campaign for Granotas, and they have endured nothing but misery at Camp Nou over the years, with 14 defeats suffered in their last 14 visits.