Spanish La Liga Preview

Atletico ended a superb week on a high by posting a 2-0 success at Getafe to surge three points clear at the top of the Liga standings. As for Real Madrid, they climbed into second spot 24 hours earlier with a 4-0 triumph over Almería, the win lifting them a point above Barcelona, who slumped to a 1-0 loss at Granada.

Atletico Madrid 1/4 draw 41/10 Elche 11/1
The deep gash to Diego Costa's shin suffered in Atletico Madrid's 2-0 win at Getafe on Sunday was more evidence that the leaders are putting everything on the line, including their own bodies, in pursuit of the La Liga title. Costa had a penalty saved at Getafe's Coliseum stadium in the Madrid suburbs shortly before Adrian sent a low cross trundling towards the far post in the 84th minute. It looked like the Brazil-born forward would not reach the ball before it rolled out of play, but he flung himself full stretch to divert it over the line, colliding heavily with a post and opening a deep cut just below his left knee. With Costa carried off on a stretcher in apparent agony, there were fears the forward could miss significant playing time but Atletico have revealed he sustained nothing more serious than a cut. Costa's goal made it 2-0 and killed off any hopes Getafe. Next up for the log leaders are Elche who have lost nine of their 16 travels, winning just twice. Atletico won the first round encounter 2-0 and are a banker bet to pull the double over the newcomers. 

Osasuna 17/10 draw 22/10 Valencia 16/10
Both teams have picked up some good form of late, going unbeaten in their last three matches. Home advantage has been key in picking up points and goals for Valencia and they could struggle here. They have won just three away games in 16, scoring a mere 13 goals and conceding 24. Osasuna were held to draws by Sociedad and Valladolid in their last two home matches and are tipped to break those stalemates with a win. 

Levante 14/10 draw 21/10 Getafe 2/1
Levante were unlucky not to earn a point at Villarreal last weekend after a last gasp winner by the home side. Their home form has been shocking, suffering three consecutive losses. However, they have the perfect chance to change that form when they host a Getafe side who are weak on the road. They have lost 11 of their 16 travels, scoring just 11 goals. Getafe nipped the reverse fixture 1-0 but home advantage should swing the three points to Levante this time.

Almeria 15/10 draw 9/4 Celta Vigo 7/4
Almeria slumped to their third loss in a row with a 4-0 thrashing at Real Madrid last weekend. Almeria are now second from bottom with five games remaining. However, one single league win could change their fortunes as they lie just two points from safety.  Looking at Celta Vigo’s last away match, there is hope for Almeria. After losing 3-0 at Barcelona their following away game ended in another 3-0 loss, this time to Rayo Vallecano. Back the home win.

Rayo Vallecano 1/1 draw 24/10 Betis 26/10
Rayo Vallecano manager, Paco Jemez feels that his side deserved more than their 2-2 draw away to Espanyol on Sunday evening and that their performance warranted three points. “We deserved to win; we played an outstanding match with chances to leave the final score a bit more one-sided.” This weekend should see them secure their place in the league next season as they host bottom of the log Betis. The relegation bound side were beaten 2-0 at home by Sevilla on Sunday. They have the worst away record in the league with just one win in 16 matches, and 11 losses. Vallecano have won five of the last six matches against Betis, drawing once. Back the home win. 

Sevilla 4/10 draw 34/10 Granada 66/10
French forward Kevin Gameiro scored twice to help Sevilla win a bad-tempered derby at 10-man Real Betis 2-0 and stay in the hunt for Spain's final Champions League berth on Sunday. Sevilla's victory keeps them six points off fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao. Granada are coming of their biggest win of the season after beating the mighty Barcelona 1-20 at home. The plucky hosts defended well, were fortunate to have a keeper in splendid form and efficiently took their chance to secure a valuable 1-0 win as they look to secure their status in the top flight for another season. However, Sevilla are tipped to bring them down to earth. The hosts won the reverse fixture and won this fixture last season. Sevilla have scored almost three times more goals at home than Granada have managed away, 33-12. Go for the home win. 

Barcelona 2/9 draw 48/10 Athletic Bilbao 10/1
Barcelona's nightmare week hit a new low when they followed up their Champions League exit with a 1-0 defeat at Granada on Saturday that left their bid for a fifth title in six years in serious jeopardy. After Atletico Madrid dumped them out of Europe's elite club competition on Wednesday, Barca were looking for a morale-boosting win that would have put them two points clear of Atletico, who were to play at Getafe on Sunday. Atletico’s win means they are now four points clear Barca. Barcelona again looked lethargic and short of ideas against a club with a fraction of their resources and were undone when Alex Song surrendered possession in midfield in the 16th minute and Yacine Brahimi raced clear and fired past Jose Manuel Pinto. Barcelona dominated the rest of the match but Granada, who are fighting to avoid relegation, held firm against waves of attacks and the Catalan giants suffered a second consecutive defeat that will increase the pressure on coach Gerardo Martino. Athletic Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz scored goals at the start of each half to help the Basque club beat Malaga 3-0 on Monday, strengthening its hold on Spain's final Champions League berth. It was Bilbao who got the better of Barcelona in the reverse fixture with a 1-0 win. However, Barcelona have always struggled when playing Bilbao away and this match should be much different. Barca won this fixture 5-1 last season and should bounce back here to stay in the title race. 

Real Sociedad 15/20 draw 26/10 Espanyol 36/10
Real Sociedad threw away their lead to 10-man Celta Vigo to draw their match 2-2. They host an unpredictable Espanyol side who netted an 88th-minute equaliser in their 2-2 draw with Rayo Vallecano. Sociedad managed a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture but have been in poor form of late with just two wins in their last eight matches. The draw is on the cards. 

Malaga 18/10 draw 22/10 Villarreal 29/20
Malaga were helpless in their 3-0 loss at Athletic Bilbao on Monday. Villarreal hosted Levante on Saturday looking to keep pace in their fight for Europe and were able to take all three points thanks to a last second header by Jeremy Perbet in stoppage time. The Yellow Submarines have performed better on the road than Malaga have at home, accumulating two points more and a slightly better goal difference. Malaga have failed to win 10 of their 16 home games and Villarreal look good value for the win here. 

Written by Wayde Dorkin
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Soccer Pro’s La Liga Picks
Atletico WIN 1/4
Osasuna WIN 17/10
Levante WIN 14/10
Almeria WIN 15/10
Vallecano WIN 1/1
Sevilla WIN 4/10
Barcelona WIN 2/9
Sociedad DRAW 26/10
Villarreal WIN 29/20