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Spanish La Liga: Gameweek 21 Preview

Atletico Madrid will look to continue their charge for the La Liga title

That’s another week of scintillating La Liga football done and dusted and not much has changed since the turn of the year with Atletico Madrid still well-clear at the top of the standings.

Sevilla is in the driving seat for top four contention, trailing Real Madrid and Barcelona, while Huesca seem destined for the drop after yet another draw - their 10th stalemate from 20 matches.

This weekend throws up more interesting ties with Villarreal playing host to Real Sociedad at El Madrigal on Saturday evening, as both sides aim to cement their current UEFA Europa League qualification positions and further improve to challenge the likes of Sevilla.

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Friday 29 January

Real Valladolid 13/10
Draw 43/20
Huesca 9/4
(22:00)

Real Valladolid will be hoping to return to winning ways on Friday night when they play host to rock bottom Huesca at Estadio Jose Zorrilla. The hosts have been blowing hot and cold this season but they’ve been on a decent run in their last five games winning once and drawing three times while losing the other tie to Valencia. This is a fantastic opportunity for the Albivioletas to change their fortunes for the better as they face a side that is yet to win in their last seven matches. Huesca have won just once from 20 matches while drawing 10 times. Real Valladolid will have too much quality for the newly-promoted visitors.

Saturday 30 January

Eibar 3/1
Draw 43/20
Sevilla 1/1
(15:00)

Sevilla have thoroughly improved and become a solid team with obvious strengths especially in defence under coach Julen Lopetegui. Los Palanganas are presently high on confidence as the wins keep coming which makes one believe they are in cruise control for top four contention. This weekend, Sevilla makes the trip to Eibar to lock horns with one of the weakest squads in the league at the moment. The hosts are on a three-match winless streak in La Liga with just one victory at home all season. Back in-form Sevilla to win this match.

Real Madrid 7/20
Draw 44/10
Levante 6/1
(17:15)

Real Madrid displayed their class last weekend by smashing Alaves 4-1 away from home. That result meant Madrid remain second on the log, seven points behind their neighbours Atletico Madrid who also have a game in hand. Los Blancos can’t afford to drop points in this encounter as they would find themselves even further behind the pace setters. Levante come into this match with two consecutive draws against Cadiz and Real Valladolid but are winless from the last eight games on the road which doesn’t bode well for the Granotas chances. Levante will put up a fight but Real Madrid will claim maximum points.

Valencia 13/20
Draw 11/4
Elche 42/10
(19:30)

Valencia is desperate to get back to winning ways and are enduring a horrid run of results. The Bats have won just once in 11 league games. Elche are winless in 13 La Liga matches, so it’s no surprise that the Green-striped ones are languishing at 19th on the standings. Back Valencia to edge this clash.

Villarreal 27/20
Draw 43/20
Real Sociedad 43/20
(22:00)

The blockbuster matchup this weekend sees Real Sociedad who were top of the standings for a large part of the season take on Villarreal who seem destined for a surge up the league table this campaign. Only three points separate these two sides between fifth and sixth with the hosts holding the advantage. Apart from their impressive showings this season, these sides have also been prolific upfront scoring 59 goals between them. I foresee a lot of goals here as both teams love attacking. Back Villareal Win & Both Teams to Score (Yes) at 4/1.

Sunday 31 January

Getafe 17/20
Draw 22/10
Alaves 37/10
(15:00)

We kick off action on Sunday with a low-key affair as mid-table Getafe and Alaves lock horns at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez. Getafe are nowhere near their best this season, Jose Bordalas’ men were in the hunt for UEFA Champions League and Europa League qualification during previous campaigns, but have now fallen off the pace they’ve set for themselves. Alaves just like their opponents are on a downward spiral, “Babazorros El Glorioso” or the glorious ones would rue playing football in the Segunda division, but it seems they’re heading that way with four straight losses in league competition. Back these sides to cancel each other out.

Cadiz 7/1
Draw 3/1
Atletico Madrid 9/20
(17:15)

Giant killers Cadiz will host red-hot, title-chasing Atletico Madrid on Sunday afternoon. The newcomers face an uphill task against Diego Simeone’s men, although one could never write them off after their impressive results against big teams earlier this season. Atletico demonstrated why they’ve been labelled as the champions-in-waiting by convincingly beating Valencia 3-1 last weekend to complete their seventh consecutive win. Simeone’s men should be too strong for Cadiz so back Atleti on the (-1) Handicap at 13/10.
 
Granada 17/10
Draw 23/10
Celta De Vigo 16/10
(19:30)

Granada are slowly but surely getting back to where they want to be on the log standings, challenging for a UEFA Europa qualification spot. The hosts are currently seventh and five points away from fifth-placed Villareal. Celta Vigo have done fairly well this campaign and they are nowhere near the relegation zone which is where they spent most of their time during the previous two seasons. Celta are ninth on the log trailing their opponents by four points, but are also winless in four games. I can’t separate these two sides so back a stalemate here.

Barcelona 9/20
Draw 38/10
Athletic Bilbao 54/10
(22:00)

This is a repeat of the Spanish Super Cup final which saw Athletic Bilbao reign supreme in a 3-2 victory and the Catalan’s talisman Lionel Messi receive his first ever red card in Barca colours. This will be a different ball game as the hosts have improved rapidly in the league. The hosts are unbeaten in their last nine league matches, winning seven times. Back Barcelona to continue their impressive run.

Monday 1 February

Real Betis 9/10
Draw 24/10
Osasuna 31/10
(22:00)

The first game of the new month sees Osasuna travel to Estadio Benito Villamarin where they will take on Real Betis who are unbeaten in six matches across all competitions, while Osasuna lie 17th on the log hoping to beat relegation. The betting suggest that this will be one-way traffic, but I disagree with that, however, Betis will have enough in the tank to seal the win. Take the hosts to edge out a victory in a tightly contested affair at 9/10 odds.

DOUBLE @ 10/1
Villareal Win & Both Teams to Score (Yes) 4/1
Atletico Madrid (-1) Handicap 13/10

Written by Banele Pikwa