MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) concludes the La Liga season with three Saturday selections from Spain.
Real Madrid v Getafe | Saturday 19.30 | Sky Sports 5
Real Madrid did what they needed to do – beat Espanyol. Crisitano Ronaldo did what he seems to always do – score goals. But it wasn’t enough for Los Blancos. Whilst Carlo Ancelotti’s team were winning away in Catalonia, their enemies Barcelona were securing the La Liga title in their home city against Atletico.
It’s been a sorry end to the season for Real. Knocked out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage and surrendering their lead at the top of the league table means Madrid will once again miss out on the major honours in the domestic and European scene.
It may well be Carlo Ancelotti’s final game in charge on Saturday but I expect Real to conclude their campaign with a comfortable derby victory against Getafe at the Bernabéu. Players, coaches and fans will all want to put on a decent show before the summer break and Real could easily cut loose despite rotating their star-studded line-up.
BetVictor have made the hosts a 7/9 shot with a -2.5 start on the Asian Handicap line and that looks the best route for profit. With this selection, should Los Blancos win by three goals or more, we’ll have ourselves a winner.
Since Ancelotti arrived in the Spanish capital at the start of last season, Real have W17/17 of home games against bottom-half teams. All 17 of those victories came by a margin of two goals or more whilst 14 have been secured by at least three goals.
Opponents Getafe have lost all eight of their visits to top-half clubs this season as well as 12 of their previous 17 since the start of last season. In five trips to Barcelona, Real and Atletico in that sample, the Blues hold an aggregate of 3-21 and should be put to the sword once more.
The visitors from southern suburban Madrid have failed to net in three on the road, lost eight of their previous 10 away from home and have picked up just two points from a possible 21 across their last seven starts. They’ve suffered defeats by three goals or more in each of their last four meetings with their illustrious city neighbours.
Athletic Bilbao v Villarreal | Saturday 17.30
Copa del Rey finalists Athletic Bilbao host Villarreal hoping to secure their place in seventh. Ernesto Valverde’s hosts have enjoyed an excellent run of results post-January but it’s their penchant for low-scoring games that really sticks out on Saturday.
Les Leones have seen the two-goal barrier beaten in just five of their previous 19 outings with 11/18 (61%) of their duels at the San Mames returning winners for Under 2.5 Goals backers. Bilbao have kept eight clean sheets in the aforementioned 19 fixtures and we should expect another tight encounter.
Villarreal have been plagued by injuries in the past three months but Marcelinho’s men have slowly seen their key players return to full fitness. The Yellow Submarine have already nailed down sixth spot but like their hosts, have tended to be involved in low-scoring battles this season.
Just four of Villarreal’s last 20 have featured Over 2.5 Goals whilst a massive 14/18 (78%) of their road games have seen two goals or fewer netted. So it’s a surprise to see Under 2.75 Goals chalked up at 9/10 (BetVictor) this weekend.
Taking this selection means we’ll have ourselves a winner should the fixture feature two goals or fewer but should the match produce three goals exactly, we’ll only lose half our stake and have the second part returned.
Malaga v Sevilla | Saturday 17.30
Malaga’s Andalusian derby at home to Sevilla has plenty at stake for both sides. The hosts have slumped in recent months to relinquish their spot in seventh and with it, potential Europa League football next season. However, three points against high-flying Sevilla could well secure continental competition for 2015/16, depending on results elsewhere.
Sevilla know a win in Wednesday’s Europa League final will secure Champions League qualification but Unai Emery’s charges will be looking to pick up maximum points from their visit to the Costa del Sol, knowing that should they come away with a victory and Valencia lose at Almeria, Los Nervionenses quest will be confirmed via finishing fourth.
Emery will select a full-strength side on Saturday night and as well as boasting a club record points tally this term, Sevilla are in the midst of a stunning run of form. The visitors have W16-D5-L3 in all competitions since February and scored in their last 18 fixtures including at least twice in 10 of their last 12 La Liga starts.
I like the look of the away win at 6/5 this weekend as I just can’t see Malaga being away to stop the Sevilla juggernaut. Los Boquerones have performed well above expectations but Javi Gracia’s men appear to have fallen off the wagon in 2015.
Malaga picked up 30 points in their first 16 matches but have returned W5-D5-L11 figures this calendar year – only Almeria, Eibar and Cordoba have collected fewer points in 2015. To make matters worse, key midfielder Sergi Darder is suspended for Saturday night’s derby; the last three matches he’s missed have resulted in defeats against Eibar, Almeria and Levante.
Los Boquerones have lost six of their previous 10 when welcoming top-six opposition and I can only see that run continuing. But seeing as it’s the final day of the season, I’m going to give the price a bit of a boost by adding Both Teams To score.
The away win and BTTS can be backed at 27/10 with Bwin and makes plenty of sense when you consider Malaga have netted in 15 of their 18 La Liga matches at La Rosaleda this term.
Real Madrid v Getafe – Real Madrid -2.5 Asian Handicap (7/9 BetVictor)
Athletic Bilbao v Villarreal – Under 2.75 Goals (9/10 BetVictor)
Malaga v Sevilla – Sevilla to win and Both Teams To Score (27/10 Bwin)
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