Spanish La Liga Preview

Barcelona makes a statement ahead of El Clasico

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid both escaped their respective matches with hard fought 1-0 wins, leaving Los Blancos in first with Atletico three points behind in second.

Barcelona remain four points back in third but with El Clasico next weekend, the Blaugrana sent a shot across Madrid's bow with a 7-0 demolition of Osasuna.

Gerardo Martino's side had been under some heavy pressure after some poor league results, but they looked like their old selves for the first time in awhile on Sunday.

It wasn’t a bad weekend for me either, tipping seven out of the 10 La Liga fixtures, including Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao’s draw at 24/10.

Celta Vigo 21/20 draw 24/10 Malaga 26/10
Celta Vigo are coming off an excellent result earning a 1-0 away win against Levante. They will host Malaga in the opening La Liga fixture on Friday night whom they thrashed 5-0 in the first round. Malaga gave a good account of themselves at home to Real Madrid, going down by just one goal to nil. However, after the first round thrashing away, Celta Vigo should claim maximum points at home. 

Granada 1/1 draw 23/10 Elche 29/10
Granada fought hard to earn a 3-3 draw at Getafe last Friday. Elche played at home to bottom of the log side Betis and couldn’t break the deadlock despite plenty of good attacking moves. Elche may feel hard done by though, with a valid penalty claim rejected right at the death. Granada are unbeaten against Elche in their five encounters but four of those matches have ended in draws. The draw is on the cards at 23/10. 

Espanyol 7/10 draw 26/10 Levante 43/10
Espanyol gave Atletico Madrid a run for their money in Madrid, going down 1-0. Levante fell to another loss this time against Celta Vigo at home, 1-0. Espanyol won their last home match 3-1 against Elche. Levante find goals hard to come by on the road and the home win is tipped.  

Valladolid 27/20 draw 23/10 Vallecano 2/1 
Valladolid return to their home ground where last time out they were 1-0 victors over the mighty Barcelona. They are unbeaten in their last six home games. Vallecano are in good form and are coming off a 3-1 home win over Almeria. The reverse fixture ended 3-1 to Vallecano but the two winning goals were scored after Valladolid were reduced to 10 men. A useful statistic is that Valladolid have conceded just 14 goals at home while Vallecano have conceded 32 on the road. The home win is tipped at a decent 27/20.

Athletic Bilbao 7/20 draw 36/10 Getafe 78/10
Fourth place Athletic Bilbao are keeping up the momentum and are six points clear of their nearest rivals for a Champions League spot. They have been superb at home losing just once and will host Getafe this weekend who have a poor away record with nine losses from 13 travels. With 10 wins in 14 home matches and a win in the reverse fixture, Bilbao are a banker bet against their relegation threatened opponents. 

Osasuna 23/10 draw 24/10 Sevilla 12/10
Osasuna have lost three matches in a row and come up against a firing Sevilla side who are on a four game winning streak. Osasuna are coming off a 7-0 thrashing from Barcelona while Sevilla whipped Valladolid 4-1 at home. In the last 14 head-to-heads Sevilla have won eight to Osasuna’s two victories. The hosts have only managed five wins at home in 13 matches, losing six times. Sevilla are tipped to record a fifth straight victory. 

Betis 44/10 draw 27/10 Atletico Madrid 13/20
Atletico Madrid stayed hot on Real Madrid's heels after Diego Costa netted in a 1-0 victory over Espanyol at the weekend. Costa has been in a rich vein of form that has seen him score 22 goals in the league so far, just three less than Cristiano Ronaldo. Atletico will look to rack up more points on Sunday when they travel to bottom placed Betis. They are priced up at a decent 13/20 for the win and are tipped to do so after winning the reverse fixture 5-0. 

Valencia 21/20 draw 24/10 Villarreal 27/10
Valencia have dropped down to ninth place after failing to win in their last three matches with two losses and one draw. However, both losses came away from home and they are unbeaten in their last five home games. Villarreal are coming off a home draw against Athletic Bilbao and lost their last away game 2-0 to Granada. The home win is tipped. 

Real Madrid 13/10 draw 24/10 Barcelona 2/1 
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Almeria 23/10 draw 24/10 Real Sociedad 12/10
Almeria lost their third consecutive game and fifth in seven going down 3-1 away to Vallecano. Real Sociedad moved into fifth place after a good 1-0 home win against Valencia. Almeria have the third worst defensive record in the league and lost the reverse fixture 3-0. Back Sociedad at 12/10.

Written by Wayde Dorkin
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Soccer Pro’s La Liga Picks
Celta Vigo WIN 21/20
Granada DRAW 23/10
Espanyol WIN 7/10
Valladolid WIN 27/20
Bilbao WIN 7/20
Sevilla WIN 12/10
Atletico WIN 13/20
Valencia WIN 21/20
Real Madrid WIN 13/10
Sociedad WIN 12/10