MARK O’Haire’s (@MarkOHaire) scoured the Tuesday night La Liga coupon to unearth his favourite punts from Spain.
Atletico Madrid v Getafe | Tuesday 19.00 | Sky Sports 2
Eibar’s impressive start to the new season came to an abrupt end at the weekend. The minnows ran into a determined Diego Simeone side and duly came out second best – Atletico Madrid running out 2-0 winners.
That victory marked the fourth win in five this season for the capital club and each three-pointer has arrived ‘to nil’. Only all-conquering Barcelona have rattled the Los Rojiblancos backline and that came when Lionel Messi came off the bench to change the destiny of that encounter.
Simeone’s men have no selection or injury problems for their derby duel with Getafe on Tuesday night and will be looking to enhance their wonderful record at the Vicente Calderon. The Mattress Makers have suffered just three defeats in 41 La Liga matches when entertaining and boast a ruthlessly efficient return when welcoming the league’s lesser lights.
This is the beginning of Simeone’s fourth full season in charge and in 30 previous games against bottom-half clubs, Atleti have W28-D2-L0. They’ve netted at least twice in all bar five, enjoyed 23/30 (77%) W-W double results, kept 21 clean sheets and won by at least two goals in 21/30 (70%). A full 20/30 (67%) were won ‘to nil’.
I’ve had high hopes for Getafe this season. I liked their off-season business and the capture of Fran Escriba as head coach could prove to be a game-changer. But the Azulones are taking time to settle and although they finally put points on the board in Friday night’s 1-0 home win over Malaga, it’s difficult to see the the visitors getting anything from the Calderon.
Emiliano Velazquez misses out and although Getafe make only a short hop across town, their road record is disastrous. The travellers have W2-D2-L12 in their previous 16 away days, kept one clean sheet in 23 as guests and failed to even score in their last nine matches against Atletico.
Since the start of 2012/13, Getafe have made 29 visits to top-half clubs and they’ve returned a pitiful W2-D5-L22, losing 16/29 (55%) by two or more goals. If we hone that record into just top-six opponents it reads W1-D2-L15, failing to even score in exactly half and losses by two or more goals in 11/19 (61%).
Atletico Madrid to win -1.5 in the Asian Handicap pays out if the home side win by two or more goals as is available to back at 19/20 with BetVictor. By my calculations, it should be closer to 8/15 going on the previous percentage success rate.
Espanyol v Valencia | Tuesday 19.00 | Sky Sports Interactive
The Valencia ship has hit choppy waters. In Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home to Real Betis, the fans turned on head coach Nuno Espirito Santo as tension continues to rise between the supporters with a power struggle at the top of the club. Nuno was whistled, the hankies were out and ‘Nuno Must Go’ chants were aimed in his direction.
Los Che have started the season with just two goals in four and their seven-place in the table is incredibly kind. Sure, they’ve only lost once in 21 La Liga fixtures (and that was against Barcelona) but on Saturday they never looked like scoring despite playing 10 men for 40 minutes and the visitors’ only win this season came in the form of a late 1-0 victory over Sporting Gijon, where the Bats were undeserving of the three points.
A top-four finish was the aim last term and Nuno delivered on the promise but the fans fall-out saw just 28,000 turn up for their surprise 3-2 loss to Zenit at the Mestalla in their return to the Champions League. And this fixture will Valencia’s fourth in 11 days meaning the Los Che boss will be need to rotate a squad that’s shorn on confidence and low on morale.
Since the Portuguese coach arrive at Mestalla, Valencia have W8-D9-L4 in their 21 away days and although they left Espanyol with a 2-1 success last season, those seven other victories came against teams finishing in 6th, 13th, 15th, 18th, 19th, 20th and of course newly-promoted Gijon this season. It’s not the most eye-catching copybook, eh?
Espanyol certainly aren’t anything special but Sergio knows how to frustrate sides. Their 3-2 success at Real Sociedad was a real coup but the Barcelona-based club were playing against 10 men when the winner arrived in stoppage-time. Even so, they’re a tough team to beat at Cornellà-El Prat – only five sides got the better of them on home soil in 2014/15.
Delving a little deeper, since the beginning of 2013/14, Espanyol have managed W5-D3-L5 when hosting top-half clubs that aren’t Barcelona or Real Madrid as they’ve only failed to score in three outings. BetVictor have given Espanyol a +0.50 Asian Handicap start and chalked the hosts up at 4/6, which just looks too big here. We’ll be paid out should the Parakeets avoid defeat.
Granada v Real Sociedad | Tuesday 21.00 | Sky Sports 2
Oh David! I’ve stuck with you through thick and through thin and this is how you repay me? Moyes is under serious pressure in San Sebastian as Sociedad stumbled to a 3-2 home defeat to Espanyol at the weekend. It’s left La Real still searching for a first win in 2015/16 despite heavy investment this summer.
It’s difficult to defend, Dave. I’ve seen little progression from the back end of 2014/15 and his side have been impotent and uninspiring going forward despite a decent array of quality attackers. It’s a real shame and you fear Moyes is heading towards a disappointing sojourn in Spanish football. The Scot really needs to turn things around sooner rather than later.
On Tuesday they travel to a Granada side that gave Real Madrid a much stronger test than we’d assumed pre-match. José Ramón Sandoval’s side had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside whilst Karim Benzema’s winner should have been flagged offside. Harsh.
Anyhow, I’m going to take a bit of a punt here. Granada are yet to pick up a point at home this season and have seen Under 2.5 Goals feature in 15/20 of their La Liga outings at the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes. It’s been a similar tale since Moyes arrived at La Real with nine of their last 10 road trips failing to break the Over 2.5 Goals barrier.
With Under 2.5 Goals prohibitively short, I like the idea of having a flutter on the 0-0 half-time score at 6/4 with William Hill. Sociedad have failed to net in exactly half of Moyes’ boys 16 away days under his watch with 9/16 (56%) going into the half-time interval goalless. Granada have also headed into the break at 0-0 in 11/21 (52%) of their home fixtures since the start of last season. 6/4 seems more than fair on a repeat.
Atletico Madrid v Getafe – Atletico Madrid -1.5 Asian Handicap (19/20 BetVictor)
Espanyol v Valencia – Espanyol +0.50 Asian Handicap (4/6 BetVictor)
Granada v Real Sociedad – 0-0 half-time score (6/4 William Hill)