WE’VE reached the last eight in the Copa del Rey and with three first-leg ties taking place on Wednesday night, Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) goes looking for the best bets.
Villarreal v Getafe | 19.00 Wednesday | Sky Sports 5
Thursday 6th November 2014 was the last time Villarreal tasted defeat. Since that 3-2 loss to FC Zurich in the Europa League, Marcelinho’s men have embarked on a wonderful 15-game unbeaten streak which sees the Yellow Submarine competing in three competitions.
Sitting in sixth and just four points off fourth-place in La Liga, Villarreal will have realistic claims of grabbing a Champions League qualifying place, should their form continue. But first, a Copa del Rey clash against Getafe is on the cards and we should put our faith in the hosts putting on a professional display at El Madrigal.
Villarreal have scored first in their last 16 matches, which opens up the opportunity for a HT-FT bet. But with changes likely to be made, I’m not willing to go feet first on that market. Instead, I’m willing to invest in BetVictor’s even-money that the home side win ‘to nil’.
Marcelinho’s charges have won their last five games as hosts, all ‘to nil’ and with an aggregate score of 13-0. Their record at El Madrigal in La Liga reads W6-D0-L3 but all three losses came against teams above them in the standings. They boast a perfect W6/6 record against sides below them, four of which came without conceding a goal.
Getafe fans were rocked by the peculiar departure of boss Cosmin Contra just after Christmas. In a bizarre move, the capital club effectively sold their manager to a Chinese club with Quique Flores being plucked from the wilderness for a second spell as the Deep Blues supremo.
Since the winter break Getafe’s results have been around about par, for them. A W1-D1-L3 is hardly inspiring for those looking for an upset and their record against Spain’s best doesn’t look too pretty either. When taking on teams in ninth and above in La Liga, the visitors have failed to score in 7/10 matches home or away. It makes the even-money ripe for plucking!
Barcelona v Atletico Madrid | Wednesday 21.00 | Sky Sports 5
We’ve been here before. I know, that you know, what I’m going to pick out here. And you know, that I know, that I’m a huge fan of this Atletico team. You also know, that I know, that seeing Diego Simeone’s team underrated in the markets is a constant source of frustration for me.
But yes, it’s the same old story. So I’ll cut to the chase and tell you that yet again I’ll be backing Atletico Madrid +1 on the Asian Handicap market at 11/10 with BetVictor. Why is this bet so special? Well, should Barcelona win by a one-goal margin, we get our cash back. Should Atleti get a draw or even win at the Camp Nou, we’ve got ourselves a winner.
It’ll probably be the last time I look at a bet that’s more or less opposing Barca. They’ve bounced back from defeat to David Moyes’ Real Sociedad in spectacular style, winning all four fixtures with an aggregate score of 16-1. Included in that sequence is a 3-1 win over Atletico Madrid in La Liga just over a week ago.
The Catalans produced their best display of the season that day; Lionel Messi was outstanding but Neymar and Luis Suarez deserved plenty of plaudits too. For the first time, the feared front three clicked. However, I’m not prepared to write the Mattress Makers off, just because of that result and Barca’s improved displays.
Firstly, Atleti showed signs of getting back into that game when 2-1 down, even though they were well below their usual sky-high standards. Secondly, this is a team that’s just avoided defeat home and away against the Spanish league leaders, European champions and what some are describing as, the best team on the planet – their bitter city neighbours Real Madrid.
It’s now just three defeats in 17 games against the Big-Two in Spain for Simeone’s men. I’m not prepared to desert what I believe are, the most underrated and depreciated league champions we’ve probably ever seen.