Spanish La Liga Preview

Cristiano Ronaldo salvaged a 2-2 draw for La Liga leaders Real Madrid away to Atletico, as Barcelona beat Almeria 4-1.

Ronaldo's strike eight minutes from time ensured Real claimed a point against Atletico at Estadio Vicente Calderon to remain narrowly clear at the summit of the Primera Division.

Atletico, trailing Real by three points at kick-off, looked on course for the derby bragging rights after first-half strikes from Koke and Gabi had put them ahead following Karim Benzema's early opener for Real. But Ronaldo lashed home in the 82nd minute to the relief of boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Valladolid 11/1 draw 52/10 Barcelona 2/9
Barcelona closed to within a point of Real after a 4-1 victory at Camp Nou. Alexis Sanchez set the hosts on their way in the 10th minute before a superb Lionel Messi free-kick made it 2-0 inside 25 minutes. Almeria pulled one back and at 2-1 Barca endured more than one or two nervy moments as the visitors probed for a leveller. It took until the 83rd minute for Barcelona to finally put the contest to bed, Carles Puyol following up with a smart finish after Messi's header had come back off the bar, while there was still time for Xavi to inflate the scoreline further with a sumptuous fourth as Barca went above Atletico into second place. Valladolid come off a good point earned in a 1-1 away draw with Malaga but still find themselves in the relegation zone. Barca won the reverse fixture 4-1 back in October and have won the last 9 encounters against Valladolid scoring 27 goals. They should collect another three points here. 

Betis 19/20 draw 5/2 Getafe 29/10
Bottom of the log Betis made the most of Villarreal been reduced to 10 men by scoring an equaliser shortly after to end the game 1-1. They will fancy their chances as they host a Getafe side who have lost right of their 12 away matches. Getafe have scored just eight goals on the road while Betis have scored four more and are tipped for a rare win.

Celta Vigo 36/10 draw 5/2 Atletico Madrid 8/10
Celta Vigo failed to go a sixth game unbeaten away to Elche, going down 1-0. They have been far from prolific at home and face a daunting task this weekend as they host third place Atletico Madrid who have not won in their last two league matches, losing to Osasuna and drawing admirably with Real Madrid. However, Atletico only won the first round meeting 2-1 and have lost three times on the road this season and drawn once in 12 travels. The draw is tipped. 

Granada 22/10 draw 9/4 Villarreal 13/10
Both teams will be looking to redeem themselves after disappointing results. Granada were whipped 4-0 at Athletic Bilbao last Friday night while Villarreal drew at home to relegation threatened Betis. Granada have lost eight of their 12 home matches while Villarreal have travelled decently winning half of their 12 travels. Villarreal have scored more than double the amount of goals Granada have managed this season, 47 to 22. Villarreal won the reverse fixture 3-0 and are tipped for the away win at 13/10.

Espanyol 15/20 draw 26/10 Elche 38/10
Espanyol will be aiming some revenge this weekend as they host La Liga newcomers Elche who beat them 2-1 in the reverse fixture. Espanyolb earned a point away to Getafe last weekend while Elche beat Celta Vigo at home. Elche have won just two away matches out of 12 and home advantage is tipped to get Espanyol the win.

Almeria 5/2 draw 24/10 Sevilla 11/10  
Almeria are looking a much better team compared to the start of the season and gave Barcelona some scares before eventually been outclassed with two late goals which ended the score 4-1. On Saturday they host 7th place Sevilla who lie 10 places above them but only 12 points ahead. Sevilla edged the first round encounter 2-1 but the draw is tipped for the outcome this time.

Real Madrid 1/12 draw 95/10 Levante 28/1
Real Madrid will hope to return to winning ways after only drawing at Atletico Madrid last weekend. They host a Levante side who are on an excellent run of 8 matches unbeaten and coming off a 2-0 home win against an Osasuna team who beat Atletico Madrid 3-0 two weeks back. However, Los Blancos are unbeaten in 19 matches and have beaten Levante in the last four matches scoring 14 goals. The home win is a sure bet but offers no value, a half-time win is priced up higher at 7/20 and should be included in your multiples.

Valencia 11/10 draw 5/2 Athletic Bilbao 9/4
Athletic Bilbao boosted their chances of claiming a Champions League spot by thrashing Granada 4-0 at home and are now six points clear of fifth place Villarreal. Valencia travelled to 19th place Vallecano on Sunday and lost 1-0. They return home this weekend where they have done better winning seven out of 13 matches, losing four times. However, having scored six goals without return in their last two matches, Bilbao are tipped to snatch the away win here.

Osasuna 5/4 draw 9/4 Malaga 9/4
Osasuna failed to build on their 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid last weekend when they went down 2-0 at Levante. They will play host to Malaga who lie three points below them and just two places above the relegation zone. Malaga managed only a home draw with Valladolid at the weekend and have been dreadful away only scraping up one win. They have however drawn six of their 13 travels and are tipped to earn a point against an unpredictable Osasuna team. 

Real Sociedad 5/10 draw 34/10 Vallecano 5/1
Just like Osasuna, Real Sociedad also failed to build on their superb win the weekend before. After beating Barcelona 3-1 at home they travelled to Seville and were pipped 1-0. However, they are a different team at home where they have lost just once all season in 12 games, managing eight wins. They have scored 30 goals at home and have conceded the least, 8. Vallecano occupy 19th spot and have travelled dreadfully, losing eight out of 13 and scoring just nine goals while conceding 30. The home win is a banker bet. 

Written by Wayde Dorkin
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Soccer Pro’s La Liga Picks
Barcelona WIN 2/9
Betis WIN 19/20
Celta DRAW 5/2
Villarreal WIN 13/10
Espanyol WIN 15/20
Almeria DRAW 24/10
Real Madrid WIN 1/12
Bilbao WIN 9/4
Osasuna DRAW 9/4
Sociedad WIN 5/10