Spanish La Liga Preview

The quest for top spot in the Spanish La Liga has hottened up with the top five teams now separated by just two points. Real Madrid were responsible for this by providing league leaders Barcelona with their first loss of the season in the El Clasico. Sevilla, Valencia and Atletico Madrid kept themselves within touching distance of Barca with victories over the weekend. 

Deportivo 21/20 draw 23/10 Getafe 27/10
Deportivo and Getafe will open this week’s fixtures on Friday night. Newly promoted Deportivo managed to hold Espanyol to a draw on the road last weekend that moved them three points clear of the relegation zone. They will host a Getafe side who have struggled on the road, losing three of their four matches. Getafe were beaten 1-0 at home to Atletico Madrid last weekend. Getafe’s main issue so far has been their inability to find the net, scoring only six goals in nine games this season. Deportivo aren’t as strong defensively but have plugged in 11 goals in their nine games. Deportivo comprehensively beat Valencia 3-0 in their last home match and they look a good bet to pick up another home win here.  

Granada 10/1 draw 49/10 Real Madrid 1/4
Granada ended their four match losing streak by earning a point away to Elche last weekend in a goalless draw. They won’t be expecting much this weekend as they host European champions Real Madrid who are coming off a 3-1 demolition of Barcelona in the El Clasico. Cristiano Ronaldo scored to spark Real Madrid's comeback win by scoring a penalty in the 35th minute to draw level. Pepe added a header to take the lead in the 50th, and Karim Benzema sealed the win in the 61st after having hit the woodwork twice. The win moves Madrid one point away from their rivals. Los Blancos have now scored an amazing 33 goals in nine matches and should add to that tally here against their opponents who have scored only six goals. 

Atletico Madrid 1/5 draw 51/10 Cordoba 15/1
Champions Atletico Madrid built on their 5-0 Champions League win over Malmo by beating Getafe 1-0 away from home. They will play host to newly promoted Cordoba who are struggling in the top tier. Cordoba managed to gain a point at home last weekend by drawing 1-1 with fellow strugglers Real Sociedad. The draw gives Cordoba five points in nine matches, as they have yet to win a game in La Liga. Atletico are unbeaten at home and should be up at halftime. Get on the halftime win at 13/20. 

Barcelona 3/20 draw 68/10 Celta Vigo 15/1
Barcelona's winning streak ended last Saturday as their visit to the Bernabeu ended in a 3-1 loss to archrivals Real Madrid. Barcelona had not even conceded a goal prior to the El Clasico but all that was ruined as Lionel Messi failed to spur his team to victory. Luis Suarez started for Barca after a four-month ban and his impact was immediate as he set up Neymar for the opener. However, he didn’t end up taking one shot at goal in his 69 minutes of play, and will want to get on the scoresheet when Barca host Luis Enrique’s ex-team to Camp Nou. Barcelona pummelled Celta Vigo 3-0 in both league meetings last season and should manage the halftime-fulltime win at 9/20. 

Real Sociedad 21/20 draw 5/2 Malaga 28/10
Real Sociedad are struggling this season and find themselves just one point above the relegation zone. They looked set for a win at Cordoba last weekend, only to concede an 87th minute equalizer. Malaga were hosting their annual Children’s Day on Sunday and gave their youngsters a great show, thumping Rayo Vallecano 4-0. Malaga are now in rampant form having won their last three matches. However, Sociedad have dominated head-to-head encounters against Malaga and are unbeaten in the last six meetings with them, winning four times. Sociedad are tipped for the win.  

Athletic Bilbao 27/20 draw 23/10 Sevilla 2/1
Athletic Bilbao won 1-0 at Almeria last weekend to end a winless streak in the league. Bilbao had gone winless in six matches and had only one victory in their eight games for the season. They are also winless in their three UEFA Champions League matches. Their opponents are tied at the top of the table with Barcelona after claiming a dramatic late win at home to Villarreal. Denis Suarez equalized in the 88th minute before Carlos Bacca buried a penalty deep into stoppage time to snatch the three points. Bilbao won this match 3-1 last season, but the draw looks most likely considering their poor form this campaign. 

Villarreal 21/20 draw 24/10 Valencia 26/10
Villarreal will tackle Valencia on Sunday night hoping to make home advantage count against their opponents who have impressed this season and lie four places above them in fourth. Valencia got back to winning ways after losing 3-0 at Deportivo by beating Elche 3-1 at home. Their away performances have been inconsistent and before losing to Deportivo their prior travel ended in a 1-1 draw with struggling Real Sociedad. Villarreal won this fixture 4-1 last season and they should do enough to claim the three points again.  

Levante 14/10 draw 22/10 Almeria 2/1
Levante slumped to their sixth loss of the season when going down 3-0 at Celta Vigo last weekend. They lie bottom of the table and will be desperate for three points when they host Almeria. Almeria are only three games without a win but have lost their last two encounters. After drawing 1-1 at home to Elche, they went down 2-0 at Villarreal and 1-0 at home to Athletic Bilbao last weekend. After losing four home matches, Levante are tipped to turn their form around with a rare win. 

Elche 7/4 draw 21/10 Espanyol 31/20
Elche have been dreadful so far and are yet to record a home victory. Luckily for them their opponents don’t travel well having scored only two goals from their four matches. Espanyol managed only a draw at home to Deportivo last Saturday. Elche managed a 2-1 victory here last season and should be backed for their first home win of the season.

Rayo Vallecano 11/10 draw 24/10 Eibar 26/10
Rayo Vallecano are coming off a 4-0 thumping at Malaga that spoilt a decent run of form that moved them into ninth spot. They started that good run off with a 2-1 home win over Athletic Bilbao before beating Levante 2-0 on the road. They then lost 2-0 to Barcelona but bounced back with a 1-0 away win at Granada. Eibar could only gain a point at home to Granada last weekend which stretched their winless run to five matches. Vallecano are good value for the home win.

Written by Wayde Dorkin
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Soccer Pro’s La Liga Picks
Deportivo WIN 21/20
Real Madrid WIN 1/4
Atletico HT WIN 13/20
Barcelona HT/FT WIN 9/20
Sociedad WIN 28/10
Bilbao DRAW 23/10
Villarreal WIN 21/20
Levante WIN 14/10
Elche WIN 7/4
Vallecano WIN 11/10