Granada vs Espanyol
Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes, Granada
Saturday, 01-02-2020 @3pm
Granada have lost eight of their last 11 La Liga matches following last weekend’s 2-0 defeat away to Sevilla. Espanyol are unbeaten in three La Liga games since the appointment of new manager Abelardo on December 27, claiming five points from those fixtures which have all been against top half opposition.
Granada claimed two wins and two draws from their first four away games in La Liga this season, but it’s now four months since Nazaries earned a point on the road, following last weekend’s 2-0 defeat against Sevilla at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
A run of seven straight away defeats has completely derailed last season’s Segunda runners-up, who were in nosebleed territory at the top of the table ten games in; and although five of those losses have been suffered against sides currently placed in the top seven, it’s an alarming sequence that needs addressing quickly.
In terms of relegation worries, Granada still look relatively comfortable in 11th place, where they hold a ten point advantage over the bottom three, but worsening travel sickness is placing maximum pressure on the Andalusian’s to pick up results at home.
Despite losing eight from their last 11 in La Liga, Diego Martinez’ men have won two from their last three at Los Carmenes, and they will hope to do the business once more against Espanyol this Saturday, after swatting Periquitos aside 0-3 in September’s reverse fixture.
It’s of course early days for Espanyol under new boss Abelardo, but they already look a much improved outfit from the side that succumbed so easily to Nazaries on Matchday 3 – just one of 12 league defeats suffered by Periquitos in the opening half of the campaign.
Espanyol have yet to be bested in La Liga since Abelardo’s arrival at RCDE Stadium, toughing out home draws against Barcelona (2-2) and Athletic Bilbao (1-1) either side of a superb 1-2 success against Villarreal at La Ceramica.
Whilst last weekend’s result against Bilbao means that Periquitos are still without a home win in the league this season, it marked another step in the right direction for a team who appeared destined to be cut adrift at the foot of the table just a few weeks ago.
Espanyol’s Copa exit to Real Sociedad a week last Wednesday will likely do them no harm as they primarily focus on beating the drop, and the visitors’ tails should be up ahead of their trip to Los Carmenes on Matchday 22.
Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid
Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Saturday, 01-02-2020 @6pm
Six of the last seven competitive fixtures between these sides have produced fewer than 2.5 goals. 17 of Atletico Madrid’s 21 La Liga matches this season have also generated fewer than 2.5 goals. Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last 20 games in all competitions, winning 15. Los Blancos are unbeaten in their last 15 outings at Santiago Bernabeu, winning ten. Atletico Madrid have won just two of their last 12 away games in all competitions (W2, D5 and L5), including just one win from seven on the road in La Liga (W1, D5 and L1).
It’s been a flawless start to 2020 for Real Madrid after seven wins from seven in all competitions, and Los Blancos look firmly on course for more silverware this season to add to their Supercopa De Espana triumph in Saudi Arabia earlier this month.
Victories against Getafe (0-3), Sevilla (2-1) and Valladolid (0-1) since the turn of the year have seen Los Blancos forge three points clear of nearest challengers Barcelona at the top of Liga, while they have also made smooth headway in the Copa Del Rey Quarter-Finals thanks to facile successes at Unionistas de Salamanca (1-3) and Real Zaragoza (0-4).
Zinedine Zidane fielded a strong side in midweek for that latter contest; an indication that the Frenchman is intent on hunting down every accolade this term, following a trophy-less 2018/19 campaign.
Real come up against their big Madrilenian rivals Atleti once again this weekend after lifting the Supercopa at their expense via penalties just a fortnight ago, and we should be set for another tight affair at the Bernabeu, following the sides’ 0-0 stalemate in Jeddah.
Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo gave public backing to long term boss Diego Simeone in midweek, but this is undoubtedly the most challenging period of the Argentine’s tenure at the club.
Within a matter of weeks, Los Colchoneros have suffered Supercopa disappointment, a Copa Del Rey exit at the hands of Cultural Leonesa, and perhaps most importantly, they have fallen ten points behind in the La Liga title race.
It’s unlikely that Simeone will be conceding defeat domestically considering there’s still 17 matches to play, but a woeful 2-0 defeat at Eibar, followed by a frustrating 0-0 draw at home to basement dwellers Leganes, has left his side ten points behind leaders Real.
If there’s any chance that Atleti can mount a fightback for the title, they simply have to beat Los Blancos in their own backyard this Saturday afternoon.
However, it seems highly unlikely that Los Colchoneros will pull off such a feat, considering they have won just one from their last seven on the road in La Liga, whilst Real are unbeaten in their last 15 outings at the Bernabeu, winning ten.
Real Mallorca vs Real Valladolid
Iberoster Estadi, Palma de Mallorca
All but one of Mallorca’s 18 points this season have been gained at Son Moix. Los Bermellones beat Valencia 4-1 on Matchday 20 to bag their fifth home win of the campaign. Valladolid are now without a win in nine La Liga matches (D5, L4) following last weekend’s 0-1 home defeat against Real Madrid. Pucela travel to Palma this Saturday having won just one of their last ten La Liga outings on the road (W1, D4 and L5).
Despite a lively and spirited display in opening 45 minutes at Reale Arena last weekend, Mallorca were ultimately bowled over by Real Sociedad in the second half, and the 3-0 scoreline at full time marked a ninth defeat from ten outings on the road this season for Vicente Moreno’s side.
But followers of La Liga will have become accustomed to Mallorca’s hapless away form by now, and more importantly, the fact that their regular (and often comprehensive) beatings outside of Palma have little effect on their results and performances at home.
Mallorca have been a match for most sides at Son Moix this season, never more so than when slamming Valencia 4-1 last time out on Matchday 20, so punters shouldn’t be deterred from the hosts this Saturday despite their submission in San Sebastian last weekend.
Los Bermellones have claimed all but one of their 18 points in La Liga this term at home, and they will be confident that they can register their sixth win of the season at Son Moix against struggling Valladolid.
A well worked set piece was all that separated Valladolid and Real Madrid at Jose Zorrilla last weekend as Los Blancos ran out narrow 0-1 winners, but the result extended Pucela’s winless streak in La Liga to nine matches.
From a stable mid-table position, Sergio’s charges have now dropped to 16th after picking up just five points from a possible 27, and they head to Palma this Saturday just five points clear of the bottom three.
As such, this fixture has become a real six-pointer, and one which Valladolid desperately need to get something from. They readily dispatched Los Bermellones 3-0 at Jose Zorrilla in November’s reverse fixture, which will give them a fair amount of belief as they travel to Palma.
But a similar outcome here looks unlikely based on Mallorca’s relative strength at home and the fact that the visitors have won just one of their last ten La Liga matches on the road (W1, D4 and L5).
Valencia vs Celta Vigo
Estadio Mestalla, Valencia
Saturday, 01-02-2020 @11pm
Valencia’s 2-0 victory over Barcelona last weekend extended their unbeaten home league record this season to 11 matches (W6, D5). Celta Vigo are without a victory in seven La Liga games (D5, L2) and have won just one of their last 13 league outings (W1, D5 and L7). Celestes also travel to Mestalla having won just one of their ten away fixtures in La Liga this season (W1, D3 and L6).
A goal from Uruguayan forward Gabriel Fernandez was enough to earn Celta Vigo the victory when these sides met at Balaidos back on Matchday 2, but it would be a fair shock were Celestes to repeat that success at Mestalla this weekend.
Currently sitting 7th in the La Liga table, it’s certainly been an inconsistent campaign overall so far for Los Che, who only just qualified for the Champions League knockout stages by a hair’s breadth before a toothless defeat against Real Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana.
But one thing that has remained constant is Valencia’s strong form at Mestalla in the league. Albert Celades’ men bounced back from a difficult spell to beat champions Barcelona 2-0 in their own backyard last weekend, extending their unbeaten domestic run at Mestalla this term to 11 matches (W6, D5).
Valencia turn out at home once again here on Matchday 22, and anything less than a win will do against a Celta side who have won just one from ten on the road this season (W1, D3, L6). Los Che are now just two points behind 4th placed Getafe, so success against Celestes this Saturday will put them bang into contention to achieve a Champions League place for the third consecutive season.
After three draws on the spin, it could be argued that Oscar Garcia is steadying the ship somewhat at Celta, although last week’s 0-0 draw at Balaidos against traditionally poor travellers Eibar was a real disappointment.
The Galician’s are now without a La Liga win in seven (D5, L2) and have won just one of their last 13 top flight matches (W1, D5 and L7), form which again marks Celta as genuine relegation candidates this term after a 17th place finish 2018/19.
Fortunately for Celestes, they remain just one point shy of safety with Mallorca unable to break the shackles in 17th, although that gap could feasibly grow this weekend with Los Bermellones fancied to take care of a toiling Valladolid side at Son Moix.
It means that Celta probably need something from this game to stay immediately within reach, but even a performance similar to what they produced when drawing 1-1 against Athletic Bilbao at San Mames a fortnight ago may not be enough if put their best foot forward again.
-Leganes vs Real Sociedad @2pm
-Eibar vs Real Betis @4pm
-Athletic Bilbao vs Getafe @6pm
-Sevilla vs Deportivo Alaves @8:30pm
-Villarreal vs Osasuna @8:30pm
-Barcelona vs Levante @11pm