JUST one losing La Liga bet from his last 10 for Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire). And after his winning midweek Copa del Rey double, we’re all ears to what he’s got planned for this weekend…
Granada v Athletic Bilbao | Saturday 19.00 | Sky Sports 5
A fortnight ago I sat here and said rock bottom Granada would end their 16-match winless streak against Elche. El Grana went and did the business on the pitch but two weeks later we’re back at square one. Granada are propping up the La Liga table and I’m getting them onside for Saturday night’s bout with Bilbao.
Last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Villarreal was forgivable. More about the Yellow Submarine below but Abel Resino’s men came up short against one of Spain’s most in-form sides but did have a consolation goal ruled out for offside. There’s been definite signs that Resino, in his second spell with El Grana, is the right man to guide them away from their perilous position.
Granada’s squad and personnel suggest they should be riding higher. But they’re now unbeaten in five at Los Cármenes and they’ve netted in their last four on home soil – their best scoring streak in front of their home fans since MD 29 of last season! What’s more, Resino’s men are actually facing fewer shots-on-target in front of their fans than the likes of Real Madrid, Villarreal, Valencia and Malaga.
On Saturday night Bilbao make the journey south, fresh from (or should I say, weary from) their midweek Copa del Rey semi-final clash with Espanyol. The Basques were held to a 1-1 draw at the new San Mames and they make the journey without their defensive shield Ander Iturraspe; without him the visitors have won just twice in 13 games since the start of last season.
Athletic’s form on the road leaves a lot to be desired. They’ve been beaten in six of their 11 away fixtures this season as well as six of their last nine anywhere. What’s more, they’ve scored more than once in only two of their last 11 road matches; so as you can probably tell, I’m steering well clear of the Lions.
Granada, for their part, have netted two or more goals just once in their last nine but having scored in their previous four at Los Cármenes, I’m confident they can grab a goal on Saturday night. If so, there’s enough mileage in Athletic’s form to suggest El Grana are worth a Draw No Bet play. BetVictor make it 21/20 and that’s good enough for me.
Rayo Vallecano v Villarreal | Sunday 18.00 | Sky Sports 5
Villarreal are starting to make headlines in Spain and Europe. Wednesday night’s Copa del Rey defeat at Barcelona was the 28th successive match in which the Yellow Submarine have scored; that’s a record better than the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, PSG, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.
Their midweek cup defeat was a sour point for coach Marcelinho but his young and enterprising side will be confident of bouncing back in style on Sunday as they head to the capital for a date with free-falling Rayo Vallecano.
As well as boasting the league’s second best defence, Villarreal are an outstanding counter-attacking side that should enjoy playing on the break at Vallecas. Rayo normally enjoy the lions share of possession but have struggled to make their dominance of the ball count in recent weeks, especially on home soil.
Paco Jemez’s hosts have lost seven of their last nine following Monday night’s 2-0 defeat at Elche and they’ve already suffered seven defeats in 10 when playing at home this season. It’s a very concerning run that has seen Rayo slide to just four points above the La Liga relegation zone.
Rayo’s record against Spain’s leading lights is also of big concern. They’ve lost each of their last eight to top-six sides at their Madrid base and been behind at half-time in all eight. It means the 6/5 from William Hill on an away win looks too good to miss out on.
Villarreal have W7-D2-L1 in their last 10 and although Gabriel Paulista has departed and skipper Bruno is missing from Sunday’s game, there’s enough organisation and attacking intent to believe the Yellow Submarine will punish their struggling hosts.
Marcelinho’s men enjoy playing sides below them in the Primera table, returning a ruthless W12-D4-L0 against teams in 7th-20th and that includes a handy W3-D5-L9 road record. And for those who like head-to-head trends – Villarreal have W4-D1-L0 in their last five top-flight trips to Vallecas and also W8-D2-L1 in their last 11 La Liga showdowns.
Celta Vigo v Atletico Madrid | Sunday 20.00 | Sky Sports 5
Atletico Madrid will be looking to continue where they left off in the Madrid derby last weekend, when they head to Celta. Diego Simeone’s men can be backed at 11/10 with BetVictor and it’s hard to resist a punt on the Mattress Makers.
Atleti dominated their more illustrious visitors from start to finish last weekend, completing the league double over Real for the first time in 67 years. The side will be on cloud nine following that result and they should be well capable of retaining their 55% win ratio on the road under Simeone this weekend.
The capital club have won on their last three trips to Balaidos and their four-match winning streak in the league is their best spell of the current campaign. Koke and Arda Turan are both absent but there’s plenty in that Atleti tank and so I’m surprised to see them available at odds-against.
Celta snatched a late point at Real Sociedad last weekend but it was only the third goal the Vigo club have scored in their last 12 outings. Performances and results have certainly improved but Eduardo Berizzo’s team have taken just one point from nine at home to teams above them this season.
The Sky Blues have leaked in all bar three of their 10 games at Balaidos – the hat-trick of clean sheets coming against the current bottom-three in the standings. So with Atleti scoring in their last nine road trips and collecting W6-D0-L3 in those games, it shouldn’t be too difficult to persuade to have a punt on Simeone’s grafters grinding out another three points.
Granada v Athletic Bilbao – Granada draw no bet (21/20 BetVictor)
Rayo Vallecano v Villarreal – Villarreal to win (6/5 William Hill)
Celta Vigo v Atletico Madrid – Atletico Madrid to win (11/10 BetVictor)
What’s your best bet from Spain this weekend? Do you agree with Mark’s three selections?
We’d love to hear what you’re backing so let us know in the comments box below!