Forza Futbol

A Better Lens at Spanish Football




Valladolid v Athletic Bilbao

Javier Baraja gave Djukic’s boys the lead with a well struck volley away to Levante in round 21, but ultimately – through a great free kick and comedy own goal – Valladolid lost 2-1. All in all, they were very unlucky not have gained at least a point.


On a rainy night in Bilbao, Athletic put a cup occupied Atletico Madrid to the sword with the kind of performance you’d expect from Los Leones at home. Indeed, it seems as though Bielsa’s voice is once again well received within the changing rooms of San Mames, but we’d be better served judging this again in a couple of weeks.


For once, Aduriz wasn’t amongst the scorers, but he did provide an assist for De Marcos – who added to Susaeta and San Jose’s second half strikes.


In conclusion, Valladolid have only lost three games at home this season – to Betis, Barca and Real Madrid – so it’s hard to back against them. Instead, with Athletic having scored in their last seven away games, I’m going for both teams to score.


The price isn’t great, Valladolid will miss their best striker and have a had a few wins to nil, but Djukic’s boys conceded at home to Mallorca a few weeks ago and should be able to construct something through Oscar to hold up their end of the bargain.


If you prefer a handicap bet, Athletic defeated Valladolid at San Mames and haven’t lost to them for several years. Athletic + 0.25 is 1.87.


Recommendation: Both teams to score (1.8)



Osasuna v Celta de Vigo

They did manage to score a well worked goal through Loe, but Osasuna later saw Arribas sent off and eventually lost 5-1 away to a Messi inspired Barcelona last weekend. All in all, it was as expected – ten or eleven men.


Celta, via Krohn Delhi’s first half strike, took the lead at home to Real Sociedad in round 21 but eventually drew 1-1; forced to play with ten men for a large portion of the game after Augusto Fernandez was given his marching orders early in the second half. Given their numerical handicap, Celta did well to hold on for a point.


In conclusion, Celta managed a draw away to Malaga in their last away game, but they’ve lost 9 out of 11 away games in 2012/13 and will be without the attacking tandem of Krohn – Delhi and Augusto Fernandez.


All in all, the above reasoning is enough to temp me into backing an Osasuna side that has beaten Deportivo and drawn with Real Madrid in her last two home games. Should be a closely fought match, though, as both teams struggle to score goals but don’t concede many.


Recommendation: Osasuna – 0.25 Asian handicap (1.88)



Getafe v Deportivo La Coruna

Lafita had a shot cleared of the line and the Azulones held Real to a scoreless first half, but otherwise Getafe’s short journey across Madrid played out as expected in round 21, with 4-0 the final score.


Deportivo fell behind to a first minute goal during their clash with Valencia at the Riazor last weekend, but through two great Riki goals led 2-1 at half time. However, Valencia had been the better team until that point and once Depor were reduced to ten men it became clear that Valencia would win – and that they did.


In conclusion, Getafe have drawn their last 4 games, and I’d like to give Depor a half goal start as a consequence. However, Depor’s Assuncao, Silvio and Marchena will all miss today’s game – with Valeron listed as doubtful – and we have to assume that Domingos honeymoon period is over after two straight defeats.


Getafe’s best player, Barrada, returns from African Nations duty and this, coupled with home advantage and Depor’s injury woes, tilts the balance towards an Azulones victory today.


I’ve decided not to bet on this game pre-match, though.



Espanyol v Levante

In a sleep inducing game bereft of clear cut chances, Espanyol drew 0-0 away to Zaragoza in round 21. The Catalans now occupy 15th position in the 2012/13 Liga BBVA standings.


Although they were extremely fortunate to win through a comedy own goal, Levante improved their excellent home record to 7 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses after 2-1 defeat of Valladolid. After this victory, Levante sit in 8th place.


In conclusion, be it in Valencia or Barcelona, Levante have won their last four head to clashes with Espanyol. Also, the last 3 matches between these two have seen both teams score and at least three goals in each of them.


Espanyol to win is the obvious choice if you’re looking purely at home and away stats, but given past history I’m going for the over goals.
Worth a punt: Over 2.5 goals (2.25)



Granada v Real Madrid

Meekly submitting to Andalusian rivals Sevilla last Monday evening, Granada eventually lost 3-0. In truth, it could have been a lot more had it not been for the excellent goalkeeping of Granada keeper Roberto. All in all, it was a bitterly disappointing result for Granada considering their recent form, and ultimately it cost the coach his job.


Besides the midweek 1-1 Copa del Rey Clasico draw at home to Barcelona, Real defeated Getafe 4-0 at the Bernabeu last Sunday lunchtime. The first half was poor viewing with few chances, but Real found their scoring touch in the second half after Ronaldo netted a hat-trick in this eventual 4-0 win for Los Blancos.


In conclusion, due to short prices about both to score and over 2.5 goals, I’m going for Real to score both in halves at 1.83. I am tempted by Real HT/FT and – 1 AH, but I don’t oppose new managers in their first game as a principle.


Recommendation: Real to score in both halves (1.83)



Malaga v Real Zaragoza

Impressively, Malaga took a two goal lead within twenty minutes away to Mallorca last Sunday. Saviola and Isco were their scorers. Anchovies left back Monreal added a third goal after Mallorca had pulled one back, but Pellegrini’s ten remaining players had to work hard to protect what had now become a 3-2 lead after Demichelis was sent off in the 72nd minute.


Zaragoza rested most of their starters for the cup defeat to Sevilla last midweek, but gained only a point in the resulting La Liga clash with Espanyol at La Rosaleda a few days later. With nothing of note to report, the game ended 0-0.


In conclusion, as Malaga look in good form offensively, their home games usually go over 2.5 goals, Zara have a decent road record – scoring in each of their last two visits to La Rosaleda – and Demichelis is suspended, I fancy a few goals!


Finally, after it failed in their last game, Malaga should cover a -1 Asian handicap tonight if that’s you kind of bet.


Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals (1.92)



Sevilla v Rayo Vallecano

Emery’s Rojiblancos swept Granada aside and avenged last year’s defeat to their Andalusian rivals with a dominant 3-0 victory at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in round 21. Kondogbia, Negredo and Medel were the scorers in this Monday night game.


Rayo, for the fourth time in a row, defeated Real Betis 3-0 in Madrid last Sunday. Piti, Delibasic and Carlos each scored for Paco Jemez’s side.


In conclusion, Sevilla aren’t conceding many goals under Emery, but Los Rojiblancos defence will be tired after midweek Copa action and Rayo have scored in their last 4 visits to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Rayo are also in good general form and have best attacker Leo Baptistao returning from injury – enough to tempt me into both teams to score.


Recommendation: Both teams to score (1.85)



Valencia v Barcelona

Aided by a red card for Deportivo, Ernesto Valverde ‘s Valencia nonetheless deservedly defeated their Galician hosts 3-2, with a late header from Costa sealing the points.


In what was expected to be a low scoring game, Jonas netted within a minute of the game starting, before Depor made a comeback and Valencia did the same. Nelson Valdez, not long after Depor were reduced to ten men, scored Los Che’s second goal.


Barca, of course, drew 1-1 in the midweek Copa Clasico first leg at the Bernabeu with Real Madrid. Once ahead, the Catalans were clearly happy with a 1-0 lead and paid the price for failing to add to it. The second leg, which isn’t played until Feb 27, is very well poised and I for one can’t wait to watch (and bet on) it.


Prior to their trip to the Spanish capital, Barca hosted Osasuna in round 21. With Messi scoring four times and Osasuna reduced to ten men with the score tied at 1-1, Barca comfortably won the match by a 5-1 score.


In conclusion, Valencia could only score one at home to Real Madrid in two recent games, but with Barca are little tired from midweek action Los Che should be able to net one or two today.


However, tiredness and Valencia’s strong home record considered, I prefer Barca to score in both halves at a fair 1.91.


Recommendation: Barca to score in both halves (1.91)



Atletico Madrid v Real Betis

With Falcao absent through injury and one eye on their Copa del Rey semi-final first leg clash at home to Sevilla the following Thursday, Atletico lost 3-0 away to Athletic Bilbao. It was a poor performance from Simeone’s boys, particularly given that they gave up three second half goals.


After this game, Los Colchoneros remain in 2nd place of the 2012/13 Liga BBVA standings but are now only three points ahead of their illustrious city rivals Real Madrid.


Betis, as they have always done in recent seasons, lost away to Rayo in Madrid last weekend. Ruben Castro had a couple of good chances, but Betis drew a blank, losing 3-0 and sliding down to 5th in the standings.


In conclusion, Atleti left back Filipe Luis is suspended, while the man he supplies, Falcao, is injured, so there is hope for Betis!


As much as I’d love to see Pepe Mel’s boys win or draw here, I’m not going to oppose Atleti’s 100% record at the Vicente Calderon. However, with Los Colchoneros having played a Copa game midweek and Betis unlucky not to have scored in the last meeting between these two teams in Madrid, I’m going for both teams to score.


Worth a punt: Both teams to score (1.93)



Real Sociedad v Mallorca

Great at home and getting harder to beat away, La Real secured a point in their round 21 trip to Vigo last weekend. However, they had to come from a goal down and were aided by a second half red card for Celta’s Augusto Fernandez in this 1-1 draw. All in all, this was a good result for Montanier’s men – and they had chances to win the game.


Mallorca, whose players are still playing and fighting hard for manager Caparros despite consecutive league defeats, lost for the third time in a row at home to Malaga. Victor and Giovanni – who scored a stunning free kick – were the Barralets scorers in this 3-2 home defeat. All in all, Malaga took their chances well and Mallorca were unlucky not to get something out of the game.


In conclusion, this could be a banana skin for a La Real side that is very strong at home and beat Barca last time they played at San Sebastian, but with Mallorca in such bad form it seems like an easy decision to make at an acceptable price.


Recommendation: Real Sociedad (1.75)



JCLaLiga On February - 2 - 2013

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