Spanish La Liga Preview

Gameweek 23 of the Spanish La Liga sees Barcelona three points clear at the summit of the table – having played a game less – following their hard-fought 2-1 victory over Atletico Madrid. Diego Simeone’s men will face a stern test against a fearless Eibar side on Saturday and will be without the influential pair of Filipe Luis and Diego Godin, who were both sent off against Barca. The Catalans will face bottom-placed Levante on Sunday, while free-scoring Real Madrid will take on relegation-threatened Granada in what can only be described as a blood bath waiting to happen.

Friday 5 February

7/10 Malaga | Draw 5/2 | Getafe 42/10 (21:30)

Malaga secured a hard-fought 2-1 win over Eibar last weekend with Juanpi and Roque Santa Cruz scoring the goals for the Andalucians. Javi Gracia was delighted with his side’s overall performance as the result that moved Malaga into the top half of the Primera Division. Ghana winger Christian Atsu has joined the club on loan from Chelsea, which will boost the attack. Getafe are coming off consecutive losses against Granada and Athletic Bilbao. They are yet to beat Malaga in nine attempts, losing seven times. Take the home win at 7/10. 

Saturday 6 February

4/10 Atletico Madrid | 32/10 | Eibar 7/1 (17:00)

Atletico Madrid suffered a 2-1 defeat to Barcelona last weekend in a game that saw Simeone’s side being reduced to nine men. It’s no wins in four for Atleti, including a Copa del Rey exit. The loss of Luis and Godin will be a huge blow, especially with Guilherme Siqueira completing his loan move to Valencia. Atletico host Eibar on Saturday, a side with two impressive strikers in Sergi Enrich and Borja Baston. The latter Atletico know all about given he is on loan from them at the Basque Country side, though he is allowed to play against his parent club. Eibar have scored more goals than Atletico in the league this season. Both Teams To Score is tipped at 27/20. 

9/10 Rayo Vallecano | 5/2 | Las Palmas 28/10 (19:15)

Rayo Vallecano remain in La Liga's relegation zone, but put in a spirited showing in a 2-2 draw at Deportivo La Coruna. Rayo, who would have moved out of the bottom three with victory, led twice in the first half through goals from Miku and Jozabed, but Lucas and Faycal Fajr each struck equalisers and Rayo were unlucky not to take the lead themselves when Luis Alberto hit the post. Paco Jemez will be pleased that his side are unbeaten in three matches and will be hopeful of taking maximum points here. Las Palmas ended their dreadful run with a 2-1 victory over Celta Vigo last Sunday. However, they are yet to win an away game this season, losing seven of their 10 matches played. The home win is tipped at 9/10. 

8/10 Athletic Bilbao | 24/10 | Villarreal 33/10 (21:30)

Athletic Bilbao moved up to sixth in La Liga with a narrow 1-0 win at Getafe last Saturday thanks to Inaki Williams' goal. The Lions will welcome the return to San Mam├ęs where they are unbeaten in seven La Liga matches with five wins. However, they’ll face a stern test against a Villarreal side who are unbeaten in nine games with seven wins. The Yellow Submarine strengthened their grip on fourth position in the table with a 1-0 win over Granada at El Madrigal. They are now level on points with Real Madrid and have won 13 of their 22 league games this season, losing just four times. Take Both Teams To Score at 9/10. 

14/10 Sporting Gijon | 21/10 | Deportivo La Coruna 19/10 (23:05)

Sporting Gijon recorded a 1-0 win over Valencia, thanks to Antonio Sanabria’s penalty, to pile further misery on under-fire boss Gary Neville. That was their first away win since October which also saw them win successive matches for the first time this season. Their opponents, Deportivo La Coruna, played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at home to La Liga strugglers Rayo Vallecano on Monday. Deportivo are now winless in eight matches in all competitions with three defeats. The home win is tipped at 14/10. 

Sunday 7 February

11/1 Levante | 52/10 | Barcelona 2/11 (13:00)

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez scored as Barcelona came from behind to beat nine-man Atletico Madrid and go three points clear at the top of La Liga. That result is a massive jump towards the title, as Barca will now have a six point lead if they win their game in hand against Sporting Gijon on the 17th of this month. The Catalans are unbeaten in 14 matches in La Liga with 11 wins, including four on the spin. Their opponents, Levante, suffered a 3-1 defeat away to Sevilla last weekend. The only positive for Rubi’s side was the fact that new signing Giuseppe Rossi settled in fast, scoring on his debut. Levante are bottom of the table with the most defeats (13) in the league and have conceded 41 goals. With the lethal trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar in attack, take Barcelona to Win By Three Or More Goals at 27/20. 

27/20 Real Betis | 21/10 | Valencia 2/1 (17:00)

Real Betis are winless in 12 matches in all competitions with seven defeats following their 2-1 loss at Real Sociedad last weekend. Juan Merino has attempted to strengthen his side with the highly-rated Charly Musonda joining on loan from Chelsea. Betis did well to hold Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw in their last home game and Merino will be hopeful of picking up his first win. Gary Neville ‘the new David Moyes’ must wait even longer for his first league win after Valencia lost at home to second from bottom Sporting. A 1-0 defeat, courtesy of a 50th-minute penalty, would become Valencia's 11th straight league game without a win, a stretch going back to November. Neville has been in need of more attacking prowess in his team and will hope the loan signing of Real Madrid winger Denis Cheryshev will be decisive. The 40-year-old has taken charge of nine of those and if results don’t change soon, he could get the sack. The draw looks likely at 21/10. 

18/10 Celta Vigo | 9/4 | Sevilla 14/10 (19:15)

Celta Vigo have lost five of their last six games in La Liga with their most recent coming in a 2-1 defeat away to Las Palmas. Celta will be without the services of Chilean winger Fabian Orellana who was sent off in that game. Sevilla climbed to fifth in La Liga with a 3-1 victory over Levante thanks to goals from Kevin Gameiro, Vicente Iborria and Yevhen Konoplyanka. Sevilla remain unbeaten since early January with seven wins from eight matches. Los Rojiblancos are in good form and I’m tipping them to oust their opponents at 14/10. 

15/2 Granada | 9/2 | Real Madrid 3/10 (21:30)

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid thrashed Espanyol 6-0 to cut the gap between themselves and La Liga leaders Barcelona to four points. Zinedine Zidane's appointment as head coach earlier this year has been followed by three wins and a draw. Sixteen goals have been scored in those games, and this side are playing with a lot more freedom. It’s worth noting that Los Blancos have scored 11 first-half goals under Zidane. They strike hard and they strike early, leaving their opposition chasing the game or simply to give up. Real Madrid will visit relegation-threatened Granada who have lost five of their last six games. Take Real Madrid to Win on the Half-time/Full-time Double at 15/20.

Monday 8 February

31/20 Espanyol | 2/1 | Real Sociedad 17/10 (21:30)

Espanyol were hammered 6-0 by a rampant Real Madrid last weekend, courtesy of a hat-trick from Ronaldo. Constantin Galca’s side remain winless in eight matches with six defeats, scoring five goals while conceding 21 times. Their opponents, Real Sociedad moved into 13th position in the La Liga table, thanks to a 2-1 win over Real Betis. That was only their second victory in nine games and Eusebio Sacristan will be hoping to build on that result. Espanyol won the reverse tie 3-2 at the Anoeta Stadium, but Real Sociedad are tipped to earn a point at 2/1. 

La Liga Picks
Malaga WIN 7/10
Atletico Madrid BTTS 27/20
Rayo Vallecano WIN 9/10
Athletic Bilbao BTTS 9/10
Sporting Gijon WIN 14/10
Real Betis DRAW 21/10
Sevilla WIN 14/10
Real Madrid HT-FT WIN 15/20
Espanyol DRAW 2/1

Written by Chadley Nagel