THE Copa del Rey Round of 16 begins on Tuesday. We asked Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) to pick us out a couple of winners.
Celta Vigo v Athletic Bilbao | Tuesday 16.00 | Sky Sports 1
It’s over two months since Celta Vigo produced the shock of the season in Spain, winning away at Barcelona and moving into sixth place in La Liga. But Eduardo Berizzo’s side have suffered a horrendous fall from grace since.
Celta have W1-D1-L7 of their nine games that have followed with the Sky Blues’ only win and goals during that time coming against Segunda side Las Palmas in the Copa del Rey. They’ve collected just one point from 21 in La Liga, failing to score in all seven games. On Saturday they suffered a 1-0 reverse at Sevilla in a tame encounter but Carles Planas’ first-half red card meant they were forced to chase their hosts for over an hour, to no avail.
Athletic make the journey to the north-west having been beaten in their last two games sandwiched either side of the winter break. Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Deportivo highlighted how crucial Aritz Aduritz’s involvement is to the Basques. His absence, along with Iker Munain, through suspension meant the Lions were toothless in attack.
Athletic have seen six of their past seven away games feature Under 2.5 Goals and that’s also been the case in 12 of their last 16 fixtures. Meanwhile, seven of Celta’s last 10 games have also produced fewer than three goals, meaning two misfiring attacks should produce another low-scoring game. Under 2.5 Goals is 4/6 with Bet365.
Malaga v Levante | Tuesday 18.00 | Sky Sports 5
Like all cup competitions, it can be a little tricky when trying to second-guess which sides will take things seriously and which teams will look to rotate.
Judging by their selections in the last round of Copa del Rey action, Malaga will be keeping changes to a minimum when they entertain Levante on Tuesday night whilst the visitors will be looking to rotate their XI.
Malaga suffered a surprise home loss to Almeria at the weekend but their record of nine wins from their past 14 outings is mightily impressive and Javi Garcia will be all to aware that with Barcelona and the two Madrid sides on the other side of the draw, the Anchovies have a great chance of reaching at least a semi-final spot.
The hosts are 8/13 to take a first leg lead but I’m going to have a small play on a Malaga win with Both Teams To Score at 16/5 with Coral. Levante have netted in eight of their past 10 games and despite the expected changes, can grab a goal against a Malaga side with only two clean sheets to their name from nine matches.