Spanish La Liga Preview

Another matchday, another step closer to breaking up the Spanish duopoly for Atletico Madrid. Los Colchoneros are now just four matches away from doing the improbable. Atletico now hold a six-point lead over Real Madrid who have a game in hand and a four-point lead over Barcelona.

Elche 17/20 draw 24/10 Levante 33/10
Elche find themselves in the relegation scrap after away losses to Valencia and Atletico Madrid. The newcomers now lie three points off the relegation zone and will host a Levante side on Friday night who don’t have much to play for. Levante are winless in their last three matches after losing twice before drawing 0-0 at home against Getafe at the weekend. Amazingly Elche have the second best defensive record at home in the league after Atletico, having conceded just 13 goals in 17 matches. However, they have the worst scoring record at home with just 12 goals. The draw is on the cards. 

Granada 12/10 draw 9/4 Rayo Vallecano 9/4
With four games remaining, Granada need just three points to hit the 40 mark and secure another season in La Liga. 11th place Vallecano are already safe with 40 points after their 3-1 win against bottom side Betis. Granada were on the losing end of a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Sevilla. Granada have lost nine of their 17 home games while winning just seven. However, Vallecano have conceded 40 away goals in 17 matches – the second most after Betis. Granada clinched the reverse fixture 2-0 and are tipped for another victory over Vallecano.

Getafe 5/4 draw 22/10 Malaga 22/10
18th place Getafe will host Malaga desperate for three points to boost their relegation battle. They played at Levante last weekend, earning a point in a dull 0-0 draw. Malaga were in top form on Monday night, beating Villarreal 2-0 at home. It was an excellent display against a Villarreal side who could offer little resistance. The visitors struggled to contain the threats and simply couldn’t offer any of their own, as Los Boquerones secured three points that practically assures their safety in La Liga. Malaga are playing well but with Getafe fighting for survival the spoils could be shared here. 

Real Madrid 1/16 draw 11/1 Osasuna 23/1
There’s not much to say here. Osasuna have failed to win a game at the Bernabeu in 10 years. Real Madrid have won 14 of their 16 home matches this season, scoring 54 goals (3.3 goals per game). Osasuna have lost 10 of their 17 travels, winning just four. The home win is a banker bet and so is the Half-time win for Real at 3/10. 

Betis 19/10 draw 23/10 Real Sociedad 13/10
Relegation bound Betis suffered their fourth successive defeat when they went down 3-1 at Vallecano. Real Sociedad finally put three points on the board thanks to a late goal by Carlos Vela. The former Arsenal man drilled a shot in the box in the 91st minute, which was enough to give his side a 2-1 victory and move into sixth place on the table. Sociedad thrashed Betis 5-1 in the first round and should manage another victory. 

Espanyol 13/20 draw 27/10 Almeria 42/10
Espanyol are winless in their last four matches after losing 2-1 at Sociedad on Saturday. However, they will see this weekend’s match against relegation threatened Almeria as the perfect opportunity to pick up three points. Almeria were beaten 4-2 at home to Celta Vigo in what was their fourth loss in a row. The first round match was drawn 0-0 but with home advantage Espanyol should be fancied at a decent 13/20. 

Valencia 27/10 draw 24/10 Atletico Madrid 1/1
Miranda and Diego Costa were on target as Atletico Madrid beat Elche 2-0 which keeps them six points clear at the top of La Liga. Brazilian defender Miranda grabbed his second goal of the season in the Spanish top flight 18 minutes from time, after David Villa had failed to convert a second-half penalty. Costa, who missed a penalty at Getafe last weekend, then secured the points with his 35th goal of the season from the spot, after Cristian Sapunaru had brought him down - and received a second yellow card - in added time. Valencia were held to a 1-1 draw away to Osasuna at the weekend but will be happy to return to their home stadium where they have accumulated most of their points this season. This is a big match for the log leaders as previous matches at Valencia haven’t served them well. The last time Atletico won at Valencia in the league was in 2003. Valencia have scored 33 goals at home this season while Atletico have only managed 26 goals on the road. They drew 1-1 here last season and another draw is tipped.

Athletic Bilbao 19/20 draw 5/2 Sevilla 11/4
This is a huge match for these sides who are fighting for the elusive Champions League spot.  Bilbao let their 1-0 lead slip in the second half to lose 2-1 at Barcelona on Sunday. That defeat put Bilbao’s hold on fourth place in danger after Sevilla closed the gap to three points by thrashing Granada 4-0. Bilbao will be confident here as their home form has been good all season, winning 12 and losing just two of 17 matches. Sevilla have been inconsistent on the road, winning just seven of their 17 away games and losing five. Sevilla have a +1 goal difference on the road, scoring 28 goals and conceding 27. Bilbao have knocked in 38 goals while conceding only 16. Bilbao salvaged a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture but should claim maximum points in this vital clash.  

Villarreal 54/10 draw 7/2 Barcelona 9/20
Villarreal's chances of qualifying for next season's UEFA Europa League took a blow with a shock 2-0 loss at Malaga on Monday. They now sit two points behind sixth place Sociedad. Two goals in three second-half minutes saw Barcelona come from behind to end a run of three straight defeats and close the gap on the leaders Atl├ętico Madrid to four points. Barcelona nipped the revrse fixture 2-1 at Camp Nou. Villarreal have been inconsistent at home, winning just eight of 17 games. Barca are tipped for the win.

Celta Vigo 17/20 draw 5/2 Valladolid 32/10
Already safe from relegation, Celta Vigo will host a Valladolid side fighting for another season in the top flight. Celta outclassed relegation candidates Almeria 4-2 away from home on Sunday. Valladolid’s last match was a 0-0 draw away to Osasuna. The reverse fixture was also drawn 0-0 and with home advantage Celta should be backed for another victory.  

Written by Wayde Dorkin
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Soccer Pro’s La Liga Picks
Elche DRAW 24/10
Granada WIN 12/10
Getafe DRAW 22/10
Real Madrid HT-WIN 3/10
Sociedad WIN 13/10
Espanyol WIN 13/20
Valencia DRAW 24/10
Bilbao WIN 19/20
Barcelona WIN 9/20
Celta Vigo WIN 17/20