Aside from failing to get a red card in the Sevilla vs Real Madrid game, along with losing half of my stake in Osasuna vs Mallorca, I had an excellent week in round four of the 2012/13 La Liga season. Fingers crossed that my luck continues into round five!
Real Zaragoza v Osasuna
Postiga spurned a few half chances, but otherwise Zaragoza offered very little in their 2-0 defeat away to Real Sociedad last weekend. Osasuna, who, like their opponents Mallorca, played most of the game with ten men, took the lead through a marvellous Kike Sola header but ended up drawing 1-1 with the Islanders.
Quite honestly, today’s matchup comes under the avoid category for my money, but under 2.5 goals seems to be the natural choice as each team has scored only two goals in their four respective games.
Celta Vigo vs Getafe
Despite losing 2-1 away to Valencia, Celta played well and created enough chances to suggest that they’ll survive this season. Getafe, though eventually overrun by Barcelona last weekend, did at least (luckily) score and that was all I wanted for my both teams to score bet.
In picking a winner in today’s game, you’d expect Celta to win given their home advantage, but Getafe have scored in every LiGA BBVA game they’ve played this season, so why not in Vigo?
Recommendation: Both teams to score (10/11)
Real Betis vs Espanyol
In a game bereft of clear cut chances, Betis, through Ruben Castro’s late winner, defeated Valladolid 1-0 in the Jose Zorrilla stadium last Monday night. The goal and result were somewhat fortuitous, but Pepe Mel and his charges have collected three valuable away points that could be very useful come the end of the season.
Espanyol, for the third game in a row, couldn’t hold onto their lead and eventually drew 3-3 with Athletic Bilbao. For a team whose manger is defence oriented the amount of goals that the Catalans are conceding is truly shocking.
At least Espanyol are scoring goals, though, and for the purposes of today’s bet, goals are all I ask for. After all, in three games, Betis have scored seven and conceded two, while Espanyol, in four games, have scored seven and conceded ten.
Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals (10/11)
Barcelona vs Granada
Tito’s Barca comfortably defeated Getafe at the Alfonso Perez last weekend, with Messi coming off the bench to score a brace. Midweek, against Spartak Moscow in the UEFA Champions League, the Catalans had to come from behind to eventually beat Unai Emery’s charges 3-2. No prizes for guessing who scored the goals that sealed the points! Like it or lump it, Barca are, to some extent, dependant on Messi’s ability to score.
Granada, as you would expect, struggled in front of goal during their home match with Deportivo last time out. But loan singing Floro Flores did eventually earn his temporary employers a point when he converted one of his many chances from close range.
With regards to tonight’s game, you can’t rule out a Champions League, and not FIFA, virus, but surely Granada will be put to the sword with Messi bagging a couple or more if he starts. This is a big if, though – seems wisest to wait for the line-ups before deciding on first half goals, match goals and anything to do do with the world’s best player.
However, and despite the fact that Granada have scored only two goals in four games, I’ve had a small nibble of both teams to score at 19/10. That price has now gone, but the 7/4 available now is also worth a small, chancer’s nibble with the midweek game and Puyol’s absence in mind…I hope!
Anyone really ambitious could try their luck with the pre-mentioned Floro Flores anytime scorer at 7/1.
Worth a small punt: Both teams to score (7/4)
Mallorca vs Valencia
With red-hot Israeli forward Tomer Hemed scoring his fourth goal in four games, Mallorca salvaged a point away to Osasuna last Sunday. It was a game that saw both teams down to ten men after Osasuna’s Llorente and the Islanders Nunes both saw red – perhaps harshly so in the case of Nunes who appeared to take a heavier, more intentional blow from his opponent.
Anyway, Valencia made hard work of defeating Celta Vigo at the Mestalla, with Celta enjoying more shots on target than you’d expect them to be allowed. Feghouli and Cissokho were the Che scorers, with the latter netting an impressive header.
Away to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions league on Wednesday, Valencia were flattered by their 2-1 defeat. Indeed, it really should have been four or five nil. Sadly, Valencia striker Soldado got no service at all, but perhaps he will today?
We’ll see as the action unfolds, but what seems clear to me is that it’s worth opposing Valencia given their midweek excursions and Mallorca’s superb home record and great start to the season.
Recommendation: Mallorca + 0.25 Asian handicap (4/5)
Worth a punt: Tomer Hemed to score at anytime (2/1)
Levante vs Real Sociedad
Michel scored but Levante lost 3-1 away to Malaga last weekend. A few hours after I write this they’ll have hosted Helsingsborg in the 2012/13 Europa League. Real Sociedad, who easily defeated Zaragoza at home last weekend, will therefore have had a few days extra rest when Levante play them.
Now it’s fair to say the Real Sociedad are not great on the road, but they probably should have scored away to Mallorca in their last away game and their manager is desperate to improve on last years’s away record, so I think it’s worth giving them a handicap start against their tired hosts.
Recommendation: Real Sociedad + 0.25 Asian handicap (66/67)
Atletico Madrid vs Valladolid
Diego Simeone’s Los Colchoneros produced some swashbuckling football to take a four goal lead at home to Rayo last Sunday evening, but went to sleep defensively when allowing their opponents to net three goals in the last eight minutes. Indeed, though the important thing was getting all three points, I hope the Argentina delivers a few smacked bottoms to his defenders for such lapses in concentration!
Anyway, silliness aside, Valladolid entertained Betis in the Monday night La Liga clash and should have won or at least drawn. But as it happened, they looked for an offside flag that never came, allowing Ruben Castro to score a later winner for Betis. Comedy stuff, really.
I’ve yet to decide on a bet for this game, but am encouraged in the knowledge that Falcao and Arda have not travelled to Israel for Atleti’s match against Hapoel. Decision nearer the time via twitter: https://twitter.com/JCLaLiga
Athletic Bilbao vs Malaga
Through a virtuoso performance from newcomer Saviola – who scored one goal and made another – Malaga swept Levante aside by a three to one score last weekend. Midweek, in the UEFA Champions League, the Anchovies put Zenit to the sword with local boy Isco the two goal hero.
Athletic, with Llorente coming off the bench to score, participated in a thrilling six goal draw away to Espanyol last weekend. The star man was, however, former Valencia striker Aduriz, who netted a brace. Hours after I write this preview, Athletic will host Apoel (a different one to the team Atletico face, obviously).in the Europa League.
As for today’s game, well, both teams playing midweek could lead to some sloppy play and a few goals, but it could also mean that we get to see two tired teams and a low goal count. Despite being unsure as to which which will happen, I cast my mind back to last season’s clash in which Malaga should have led comfortably led at half time, but eventually lost three nil.
I backed over 2.5 goals and both teams to score that day, with the latter, obviously, failing me. This time, however, with Athletic leaking goals I expect it to please me.
Recommendation: Both teams to score (3/4)
Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid
Put simply, Jose’s Real Madrid have been in terrible form! Two defeats and a draw in their opening four games of the 2012/13 La Liga season is somewhat unexpected and the players confidence looks very thin as a result.
Now, I’m writing this preview prior to both Los Blancos UEFA Champions League tie with Manchester City and Rayo’s derby with Atletico, but my bet and opinion on this derby will not change.
Last season, I opted for both teams to score in this fixture and was extremely unlucky not to get it, with Rayo spurning a plethora of chances, including missing an open goal from one yard out!
I must point out that Rayo have a very different forward line to that of last season, but I think that the circumstances are right this time and opt to repeat last season’s punt.
Recommendation: Both teams to score (10/11)
Deportivo vs Sevilla
Although a 1-1 draw is a credible result for Depor in a road game, they really should have won at Granada given the chances they had. Nelson Oliveira, who came on for the injured Riki, took his goal well and was unlucky not be credited with a second after his shot cannoned off the crossbar and appeared to cross the line before play resumed.
Through an early Trochowski goal, Sevilla, of course, defeated Real Madrid 1-0 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan last weekend. Indeed, with the game well managed by Michel – Sevilla ran the clock down in the second half and allowed an off- form Real onto them – it was a fair result and the Rojiblancos will travel to A Coruna with increased confidence.
Of course, there’s always a chance that, like so many clubs will do in any league, Sevilla will beat a superpower one week and lose to a relative minnow the next, but I’m not betting on the match result in today’s game and needn’t worry about that (or at least I hope!).
Instead, with both teams scoring in Deportivo’s last three games and my fancy of the visitors to net one today, I’m going for both teams to score.
Recommendation: Both teams to score (4/5)