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Spanish La Liga: Gameweek 19 Preview

Karim Benzema

Christmas has come and gone and now we say Happy New Year hoping to kick it off with some good slips. What better way to feast than on La Liga’s offerings? Real Madrid are being priced up quite nicely and I’m tempted to empty out on them, while betting on Barcelona is not appealing in the least. Diego Simeone has an identity crisis on his hands, while Unai Emery must be buzzing to have some consistency in his camp.

Let’s jump straight into gameweek 19.

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Friday 31 December

Valencia 9/10
Draw 5/2
Espanyol 3/1
(17:15)

Valencia have been on a great run of form over the last two months. The Bats are undefeated this past November, including December (W3 D3 L0). They are favourites to win for a reason, but don’t write off Espanyol. A quick bounce back into La Liga for the Parakeets after being crowned La Liga 2 champions and they are flourishing. It’s the time of the season where clubs’ performances can be judged accordingly. Both these teams are performing higher than expected.  Don’t be fooled by the odds! This game will be tight and I’m backing the draw.

Sunday 2 January

Getafe 52/10
Draw 31/10
Real Madrid 5/10
(15:00)

Real Madrid played a fixture last midweek, so they are that much more out of touch with the rest of the table. At 5/10, this is an absolute gift! Madrid have conceded one goal in their last six league fixtures, making life seem comfortable in one of the world’s best leagues. Getafe languish down in 16th, a point adrift of the drop zone, but they are putting up a fight to stay afloat. The Azulones have also showed defensive prowess of recent, letting a single goal slip in their last five, winning two and drawing three. While the fight for survival is in full effect for the home team, Carlo Ancelotti’s men has the chemistry within the team on a different level. Confidently get behind the away team.

Elche 5/4
Draw 43/20
Granada 23/10
(17:15)

This fixture has value all over it, and the goals market is where the slips should be placed. Both teams have scored and conceded in each of their last four fixtures, and six of the combined eight games have ended with more than 2.5 goals. To be fair, Granada are playing better and are more likely to edge this fixture. They have found a way to save a draw and edge some games of late alongside a solid 4-1 win over Mallorca followed by 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid. It’s a difficult time of year for the players, and running out of steam often occurs, so for me I am backing the totals market both teams to score (Yes) and over 2.5 at 19/10.

Atletico Madrid 5/10
Draw 32/10
Rayo Vallecano 56/10
(17:15)

In my opinion, the only team that had legs to give Real Madrid a go at the top of the table has now dropped too many valuable points in ‘should-win’ fixtures. Four losses in their last five is not what we would ever expect from the defending La Liga champions. They have found the net in all but their loss to Real Madrid, and the defensive look that totally changed Atletico Madrid (thanks to Diego Simeone) is suffering an identity crisis! The away team sit +1 in goal difference and points to their opponents with the opposite form of four wins and a single loss in their last five in all competitions. Double chance draw or the away team at absolute value of 14/10.

Real Betis 17/20
Draw 26/10
Celta Vigo 31/10
(19:30)

Personally, I am so disappointed with Real Betis, I love what Manuel Pellegrini is doing with the club, and the players at the club are quality. Betis aren’t challenging for the title, but a Champions League spot is only there’s to lose, and that loss to Athletic Bilbao are fixtures that could be costly. Celta Vigo sit on the other end of the table and have a different fight on their hands. Brais Mendez has been the focal point for Celta’s attack down the right wing and Eduardo Coudet has managed to keep a consistent starting 11 through the course of the campaign, but one piece of criticism is that they sit off a little too much for my liking. Back on Real Betis to bounce back quick in this fixture.

Mallorca 37/10
Draw 26/10
Barcelona 15/20
(22:00)

I would have never thought I’d see thee Barcelona in this predicament. Outside the European places in seventh (yes, it’s just a point) and far from where you’d expect. Barcelona are not the Barcelona of old and I will sing this song until there is a definitive moment of revelation. The Catalan team are performing consistently inconsistent, just like a midtable side (their standings show). There have been goals in their fixtures, just like their opponents and if you must bet on their games, back those totals. Over 2.5 at 9/10 is a solid play.

Monday 3 January

Villarreal 9/20
Draw 36/10
Levante 54/10
(15:00)

Speaking of teams that are inconsistent, Unai Emery’s Villarreal have been the opposite of recent. In the league, they have registered three straight wins and in trademark Unai style, and in all competitions, their last seven have all been wins, scoring 15 in their last three games. After a well-deserved rest, kicking off the new year with a victory is imminent for the Yellow Submarines rather than a question. Put Villarreal in all multiples.

Osasuna 37/20
Draw 2/1
Athletic Bilbao 33/20
(15:00)

Both Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao are looking to start the year fresh after losing their last fixtures of 2021. This is bound to be a tight fixture; 10th faces 11th with Osasuna two points from hopping over Bilbao in the table. Osasuna are without centre-forwards Ante Budimir (two goals) and Kike Garcia (three goals) and are having to rely on third and fourth-choice strikers to partner with Chimy Avila (four goals). The lack of striking ability upfront is telling having scored just six goals in their last 10 league games winning one fixture. Athletic produced a stunning performance against Real Betis but were made to play a midweek game against Real Madrid, losing 2-1 to the title challengers which would knock some steam out of the sails. The draw is a big runner in this tie.

Cadiz 4/1
Draw 26/10
Sevilla 7/10
(22:15)

Cadiz have yet to win a home game this campaign when they see Sevilla enter the gates of Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla. The Pirates sit 19th but three points could put them into 16th if all goes their way in other matches. Sevilla are my value bet of this encounter; five points clear of third place, they’re in a comfortable situation. The Sevillistas have to just keep winning their fixtures and hope for Madrid to lose points. Bet on Sevilla to keep putting up quality performances and roll in the three points.

Cadiz 4/1
Draw 26/10
Sevilla 7/10
(22:15)

Cadiz have yet to win a home game this campaign when they see Sevilla enter the gates of Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla. The Pirates sit 19th but three points could put them into 16th if all goes their way in other matches. Sevilla are my value bet of this encounter; five points clear of third place, they’re in a comfortable situation. The Sevillistas have to just keep winning their fixtures and hope for Madrid to lose points. Bet on Sevilla to keep putting up quality performances and roll in the three points.

QUAD @ 6/1
Real Madrid Win 5/10
Villarreal Win 9/20
Sevilla Win 7/10
Real Betis Win 17/20

Written by Joshua Gaillard