Spanish La Liga: Gameweek 21 Preview

Spanish La Liga: Gameweek 21 Preview

Log leaders Barcelona continued with their winning streak when beating Leganes 3-1 at the Camp Nou. Ousmane Dembele put in an outstanding performance against Leganes in what was arguably his best performance since joining Barcelona. The Frenchman completed 11 dribbles against Leganes (15 dribbles attempted), the most by a player in a La Liga game this season. Atletico Madrid cruised past minnows Huesca, while Real Madrid got their revenge over Sevilla. Though the table looks straight forward in terms of who will win the league and who will be relegated, a lot can still change in this league. Let’s see what gameweek 21 has in store for us.

Standings provided by Sofascore LiveScore

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Saturday 26 January

Sevilla 5/10 
Draw 7/2 
Levante 5/1 
(14:00)

Sevilla and Levante will drop the curtain on gameweek 21 with an early kick-off on Saturday when they are set to take on each other in Seville. The hosts are desperate to return to winning ways after claiming just one win in the last six matches, including three straight defeats. The opposition team are in no better shape themselves as their 2-0 win over Valladolid last Sunday was their first league win in seven attempts. The last time these sides met in September, Sevilla smashed Levante 6-2. This won’t be an eight-goal thriller but you can back Sevilla to win their first league game in 2019.

Atletico Madrid 11/20 
Draw 26/10 
Getafe 57/10 
(17:15)

Atletico Madrid had a bumper of a week after being knocked out by Girona in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday. But their 3-0 win over Huesca last weekend means that they remain in second place on the log, five points behind leaders Barcelona. Atletico need to keep on winning in order to push Barca till the end. Getafe made it back-to-back league wins when thrashing Alaves 4-0 last Friday. The Azulones are in fine form, losing just once in their last 11 matches and that defeat came against Barcelona. This fixture is not as easy as the betting suggest, but take Atletico Madrid because of home advantage.

Leganes 15/10 
Draw 39/20 
Eibar 2/1 
(19:30)

Bottom half rivals Leganes and Eibar will battle it out at the Estadio Butarque. The hosts come into the game as slight favourites following their impressive home form that saw them claim wins over Barcelona and Real Madrid. Mauricio Pellegrino’s men have lost once at home this season from nine matches, including back-to-back home wins over Huesca and Real Madrid in the Cup. The visitors won their last fixture which was their first win in eight matches and will be desperate to maintain that consistency. As the form suggests, back Leganes to win at home.

Valencia 9/10 
Draw 51/20 
Villarreal 3/1 
(21:45)

The recovery for Valencia has begun. First it was to bring back confidence when beating Segunda outfit Sporting Gijon, then last Sunday they made it back-to-back victories when winning at Celta Vigo. A win here would most probably not take Valencia back into the Europa qualification spot but would be a massive boost for their under-fire coach.  Talking about underperforming teams, Villarreal are facing their worst season in over a decade with Luis Garcia & Javi Calleja at the helm. The Yellow Submarine are second to last on the log standings, seven points better than the worst team, Huesca. This should be a comfortable win for Los Che at 9/10.

Sunday 27 January

Real Valladolid 14/10 
Draw 43/20 
Celta Vigo 2/1 
(13:00)

Real Valladolid host Celta Vigo in a low-profile relegation six-pointer in Sunday’s early fixture at Estadio Jose Zorrilla. The match has a massive importance for both teams, who are struggling badly for consistency. Both these teams started the season brightly, but their recent results has seen them drop down the bottom of the log. Celta Vigo have lost seven of their last nine league matches, including four consecutive defeats, while Valladolid last won on the ninth of December which is their only win from their last 11 matches. Neither team can be trusted on current form, so back Under 2.5 Goals at 6/10.

Girona 7/1 
Draw 17/4 
Barcelona 7/20 
(17:15)

Barcelona regained their five-point lead at the top of La Liga after a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Leganes last Sunday. The Blaugrana rested Lionel Messi, with Ousmane Dembele trusted to do the job and the Frenchman wasted no time as he scored the opener after 32 minutes and the usual suspects Luis Suarez and Messi came on and finished the job in the second half. Girona were left with a bitter taste in their mouth after Real Betis scored in added time to win 3-2 in last Sunday’s early kick-off. Despite knocking Atletico Madrid out of the Copa del Rey on the away goal rule last week, Girona are still winless in eight matches. A win here would somewhat be asking too much from the hosts though they will fancy their chances after they drew 2-2 at the Nou Camp. There’s no stopping Messi and Suarez at the moment, so back Barcelona to win Half-time at 15/20.

Athletic Bilbao 12/10 
Draw 23/10 
Real Betis 23/10 
(19:30)

Gaizka Garitano managed to make an impact for Athletic Bilbao. The Lions are unbeaten in the league since the change of management, picking up 12 points in six matches. The impressive run has has moved Bilbao to 13th place on the log and the team is now playing with confidence. Real Betis needed a stoppage-time penalty to win their first match in 2019, edging past Girona 3-2 at home. A win here will see the Beticos move back into the Europa League qualification zone, while a win for the hosts could ensure safety and move them into the top half. Garitano’s men have had the edge over Betis in recent fixtures with five wins and a draw on their last seven meetings. There’s no reason to back against this Bilbao side, therefore get on the valuable 12/10 win.

Real Sociedad 6/10 
Draw 28/10 
Huesca 9/2 
(19:30)

The famed Anoeta welcomes one of the worst teams in Europe right now for the second leg of the 2018/2019 season. The 2-0 win over Real Madrid seemed to have lifted the hosts after they went on a five-match unbeaten run and this is a perfect opportunity to extend that run. The visitors started 2019 in a promising fashion when beating Real Betis, but they quickly began to feel the strength of a higher division football. Huesca have been the whipping boys this season and I’m expecting this fixture to be one-sided. Get on Real Sociedad and include them in all bets.

Espanyol 29/10 
Draw 11/4 
Real Madrid 17/20 
(19:30)

Santiago Solari passed his first serious test on the Real Madrid bench as Los Blancos cruised past Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu. Casemiro’s long lange effort gave Real Madrid the lead and Luka Modric scored his first league goal since being crowned Ballon d’Or winner. Top two finish is now just five points away, although winning the league seems as an illusion due to the dreadful start of the campaign under Julen Lopetegui. Espanyol started the season brightly and the Catalan side looked on course to their best ever La Liga finish but things took a turn for the worst and they now find themselves four points above the red zone. Rubi’s men surprised Real Madrid last season, beating them 1-0 in this fixture and they gave a good account of themselves in the reverse fixture this season, going down 1-0. Despite their recent performances against Real Madrid, I give them very little chance in this encounter, so back the visitors to claim maximum points. 

Monday 28 January

Deportivo Alaves 11/10 
Draw 23/10 
Rayo Vallecano 5/2 
(22:00)

Alaves will look to bounce back from their embarrassing 4-0 defeat at Getafe in round 20. The defeat ended their four-match unbeaten run, though they remain fifth on the table with only a point behind fourth-placed Sevilla. Talking about an unbeaten run, Rayo Vallecano come into this game with their record of three wins and a draw in their last four La Liga fixtures. Alaves crushed Vallecano 5-1 in the first leg and they will be looking to collect six points from the newcomers. Despite last week’s embarrassing defeat, Alaves are still a good team and should be backed at home, especially at 11/10 against a relegation-threatened side.

TREBLE @ 5/1
Alaves Win 11/10
Real Sociedad Win 6/10
Valencia Win 9/10

Written by Banele Pikwa