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Spanish La Liga Preview

The title race could take a heavy turn this weekend when Atletico Madrid host Barcelona.
The title race could take a heavy turn this weekend when Atletico Madrid host Barcelona.
It was another weekend of joy for the big guns in Spain as all the top four sides in La Liga claimed maximum points. This will be a another tough week for log-leaders, Real Madrid, who travel to Valencia in midweek – who they have not beaten in two seasons – and Villarreal on Sunday at the Estadio de la Ceramica. It may be a challenging next couple of days for Zinedine Zidane and his Galactico’s, but it couldn’t have come at a better time with rivals, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, locking horns in the tie of the round, while Sevilla also won’t have it easy when they face Real Betis in the Seville derby. It promises to be another exciting weekend with loads of thrilling action to look forward to. Let’s get to it then!

Friday 24 February

33/20 Las Palmas | Draw 23/10 | Real Sociedad 31/20 (21:45)

Las Palmas dropped down to 12th in the table with their third consecutive loss, going down 2-1 to Malaga on Monday night. The Yellows took the league as early as the 19th minute, but let two goals slip and couldn’t capitalise on Malaga’s sending off in the 70th minute. Real Sociedad failed to make it three wins in a row as they crumbled at home to Villarreal in a 1-0 defeat. On their travels, Sociedad have won six of their 11 matches, losing the other five times. The reverse tie ended in a 4-1 victory for Sociedad and I’m expecting more fireworks here. Back the Over 2.5 Goals market at 8/10.

Saturday 25 February

7/4 Alaves | 2/1 | Valencia 33/20 (14:00)

Alaves claimed a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Deportivo courtesy of a Manuel Garcia penalty in the second half. That win moved Mauricio Pellegrino’s side up to 11th in the table, two points off the top half. Valencia ended a run of three games without a win when they outclassed Athletic Bilbao by two goals to nil. First half goals from Nani and Simone Zaza were enough to see the Bats claim their sixth win of the campaign. Valencia have the task of taking on Real Madrid in midweek, but that shouldn’t slow them down for this clash. Both Teams to Score is the tip at 19/20.

28/10 Real Betis | 5/2 | Sevilla 9/10 (17:15)

Real Betis and Sevilla will lock horns in what promises to be a thrilling Seville derby. Sevilla have dominated this fixture in recent seasons with Betis failing to even score a goal against the Sevillistas in seven meetings. The hosts come off an embarrassing 4-1 defeat at relegation-threatened Granada last weekend, while Jorge Sampaoli’s side saw off Eibar by a 2-0 scoreline. Sevilla are undefeated in their last 10 away clashes at the Estadio Benito Villamarin. With all three of their title rivals coming up against tricky opposition, this is a must-win game for Sevilla. Back the away win at 9/10.

14/10 Leganes | 21/10 | Deportivo 2/1 (19:30)

Leganes were thwarted late on in their 2-1 defeat at Barcelona, with Lionel Messi finishing off a penalty in the 90th minute. Lega defended well but couldn’t hold on to manage what would have been the upset of the weekend. Deportivo’s season is going from bad to worse after their 1-0 defeat at home to Alaves. Depor are now winless in six matches, suffering three defeats on the trot. Leganes claimed an impressive 2-1 victory away from home in their last meeting and should come out on top once again. The home win is tipped at a valuable 14/10.

19/20 Eibar | 47/20 | Malaga 28/10 (21:45)

Eibar’s run of three wins in a row came to an end as they suffered a 2-0 loss at Sevilla last weekend. That defeat kept Eibar in eighth place, but if Celta Vigo were to win their game in hand, they could drop down to ninth. Malaga come off a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Las Palmas on Monday night to claim their first win in 12 matches across all competitions. Away from home, Malaga are yet to register a win, losing six of their 12 encounters. Eibar’s home form bodes well for their chances here. Jose Luis Mendilibar’s side have won seven of their 12 matches, losing just three times. Eibar lost against Malaga in September, but I’m expecting a different outcome this time around. Back the home win at just under even money.

Sunday 26 February

6/10 Espanyol | 29/10 | Osasuna 9/2 (13:00)

Espanyol have taken a slight downturn in form losing two consecutive matchups in La Liga. To be fair, both defeats came to Real Sociedad and Real Madrid. Before that, Espanyol had won three successive games in the league. Osasuna’s wretched run continued as they fell to a 3-0 defeat at Celta Vigo last weekend. That’s now 15 games without a win in the league for Osasuna as they lie rooted to the bottom with just one victory in 23 matches played so far. Espanyol beat the Reds 2-1 in the reverse tie and should pile further misery on their opponents. Back the hosts here at a decent price of 6/10 and include in all multiples.

21/10 Atletico Madrid | 9/4 | Barcelona 13/10 (17:15)

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9/20 Athletic Bilbao | 33/10 | Granada 6/1 (19:30)

Athletic Bilbao suffered a demoralising 2-0 defeat at Valencia last weekend as their seventh spot in the table looks to be in jeopardy with the teams below them closing in. Luckily for Bilbao, they now face some fancied opposition in Granada who have not won away from home this season. The Nazaries come off an emphatic 4-1 win over Real Betis, but their main concern has been on their travels. Bilbao won the reverse fixture 2-1 and should claim the double over their opponents – a must for all multiples.

19/10 Sporting Gijon | 9/4 | Celta Vigo 14/10 (19:30)

Sporting Gijon were thumped 4-1 at home by Atletico Madrid, courtesy of a late five-minute hat-trick by Kevin Gameiro. Gijon remain 18th in the table but could move out of the relegation zone with a win, depending on results around the foot of the table. Celta Vigo eased past Osasuna by a 3-0 scoreline last weekend. The Sky Blues moved up to ninth place and if they were to win their game in hand, Celta Vigo could go as high as seventh in the table. Eduardo Berizzo’s men have won on their last two visits to Gijon. At 14/10, the away win is well worth a punt!

36/10 Villarreal | 29/10 | Real Madrid 7/10 (21:45)

Gameweek 24 closes with an exciting matchup between sixth-placed Villarreal and league-leaders, Real Madrid. The Yellow Submarine come off a remarkable 1-0 victory away to Real Sociedad, who they now move within two points of. This will be a crucial week for Los Blancos. Real Madrid play against Valencia in midweek, where they could go four points clear at the top of the table. Zidane will also have the thought of title rivals, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, facing each other knowing that at least one of them – if not both sides – could drop points. The reverse tie ended in a 1-1 stalemate, but Villarreal did claim maximum points in this fixture last season. A tight affair is expected with these sides tipped to share the spoils at 29/10.

QUAD @ 10/1
Eibar Win 19/20
Espanyol Win 6/10
Athletic Bilbao Win 9/20
Celta Vigo Win 14/10

Written by Jesse Nagel