Spanish La Liga Preview

The La Liga did not fail to entertain last weekend with Cristiano Ronaldo receiving a red card in Real Madrid’s 2-21 win over Cordoba while Barcelona smashed Elche for six. This weekend could see the title race spice up as Madrid will have to attempt revenge on Real Sociedad without their inspirational Portuguese star while Barca will host a fiery Villarreal side.

Rayo Vallecano 15/20 draw 5/2 Deportivo 38/10
Rayo Vallecano were looking to build on their win at Real Sociedad when they travelled to Atletico Madrid last weekend, but they were no match for the champions going down 3-1. This weekend they face much different opponents in newly promoted Deportivo. Deportivo were only able to draw at home to bottom of the log Granada on Sunday. Their away form has been poor and they have managed just one win on the road in nine travels, scoring a measly four goals. These sides drew the first round fixture 2-2 and with home advantage Vallecano should claim maximum points.

Real Madrid 1/5 draw 57/10 Real Sociedad 11/1
This is a fixture that the log leaders will be relishing as Real Sociedad beat Madrid 4-2 in the first round clash. Sociedad have been the giant killers this season, beating Atletico Madrid and Barcelona as well. However, those victories came at their home ground and not on the road where they are winless, drawing five times and losing four while scoring only five goals. Los Blancos overcame star man Cristiano Ronaldo’s sending off to edge Cordoba 2-1 away from home last weekend. At 1-1 Ronaldo was sent off for lashing out at a Cordoba player but Gareth Bale scored a late penalty to give Real Madrid all three points. Karim Benzema got the equalizer for Madrid. This fixture ended 5-1 to the hosts last season and looking at Sociedad’s away form, Madrid should manage the victory without their talisman. 

Eibar 5/1 draw 11/4 Atletico Madrid 6/10
Minnows Eibar will host La Liga champions Atletico Madrid at their humble 5000 capacity stadium. Atletico only managed a 2-1 victory over Eibar in the reverse fixture. However, Atletico have found their rhythm and look a bigger threat they did earlier in the season. Antoine Griezmann grabbed a brace as the champions beat Rayo Vallecano 3-1 at home last Saturday to stay in third place in La Liga. Griezmann has been shining for Atleti and playing alongside either Fernando Torres or Mario Mandzukic provides a lethal striking partnership for Diego Simeone’s team. Atletico should claim another three points to pull the double over Eibar. 

Granada 19/20 draw 22/10 Elche 33/10
Three points for either of these sides who find themselves in the relegation scrap will do them a world of good. Bottom of the log Granada can leapfrog 17th place Elche with a win here. Granada managed a 2-2 draw at Deportivo last weekend while Elche were thrashed 6-0 by Barcelona. However, Granada are without a win in 16 matches while Elche had won two matches in a row against Levante (home) and Athletic Bilbao (away) before playing Barca. In seven meetings between these sides the draw has occurred five times. That result is tipped to happen once again. 

Celta Vigo 9/20 draw 33/10 Cordoba 67/10
Cordoba did their best to lose 2-1 to Real Madrid at the weekend and will look to take points off a Celta Vigo team who are in crisis. Celta Vigo are winless in their last 10 league games, losing eight times. These sides have drawn the last four head-to-heads and that result looks a likely outcome once again. 

Levante 24/10 draw 21/10 Athletic Bilbao 5/4
Athletic Bilbao’s misery continued after failing to beat Malaga at home, drawing 1-1, which stretched their winless run to seven games, with five losses suffered. They will travel to a Levante side in similar form who are winless in eight matches. Bilbao have beaten Levante in the last three meetings, winning 3-0 at home earlier this season. They are tipped to end their poor run with an away win here.

Almeria 27/20 draw 21/10 Getafe 9/4
Almeria will be hopeful to turn their form around at home after losing three consecutive away games in all competitions. They host a Getafe side coming off a good 2-1 win over Celta Vigo, but have struggled in away matches. Almeria went down 1-0 away from home in the reverse fixture this season, however, they did manage a 1-0 victory at home against Getafe last season. Back the home win. 

Sevilla 6/10 draw 28/10 Espanyol 9/2
Sevilla will be rearing to go after losing fourth spot to Valencia last weekend. Sevilla were in a rich vein of form but faced a difficult task away to Valencia where they lost 3-1. This weekend they face an in-form Espanyol at home. Sevilla are unbeaten at home winning seven of their 10 matches, scoring 19 goals and conceding just five. Espanyol demolished Almeria 3-0 at home on Sunday, but looking at their away form they stand little chance here. They have lost six of their nine travels, winning just once. Sevilla won this match 4-1 last season and should be backed for another win. 

Barcelona 2/9 draw 11/2 Villarreal 10/1
Neymar and Lionel Messi both scored twice as Barcelona beat Elche 6-0 to keep pace with La Liga leaders Real Madrid. Pique opened the scoring while Pedro got the sixth goal. Barca will play host to a dangerous looking Villarreal outfit who are pursuing a Champions League place. Villarreal are unbeaten in their last nine matches and claimed their seventh win in that run by beating Levante 1-0 at home last weekend. Barca beat Villarreal just 1-0 in the reverse fixture, but looking at Barca’s home form this season – eight wins from nine matches with 32 goals scored and just four conceded - they have to be backed for the victory again. 

Malaga 16/10 draw 22/10 Valencia 7/4
Malaga are still searching for their first win this year and have been dealt no favours this weekend as they host a red hot Valencia. Valencia moved into fourth spot with an emphatic 3-1 victory over Sevilla last weekend that stretched their unbeaten run to seven games. However, Malaga have lost just twice at home this season from 10 games, winning five times. This fixture was drawn 0-0 last season and the draw is tipped once more.

Written by Wayde Dorkin
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Soccer Pro’s La Liga Picks
Vallecano WIN 15/20
Real Madrid WIN 1/5
Atletico WIN 6/10
Granada DRAW 22/10
Celta Vigo DRAW 33/10
Athletic Bilbao WIN 5/4
Sevilla WIN 6/10
Barcelona WIN 2/9
Malaga DRAW 22/10