MARK O’HAIRE (@MarkOHaire) tackles the Monday night La Liga clash featuring Deportivo and Rayo.
Deportivo La Coruna v Rayo Vallecano | Monday 19.30 | Sky Sports 3
At the start of 2016 I claimed Deportivo head coach Victor Sanchez was a ‘miracle worker’ for the fabulous job he’d overseen in just nine months in charge of the Brancoazuis.
The Galicians were as dull as dishwater last season and only survived relegation on the final day – a famous draw at the Camp Nou – and thanks to the appointment of the club legend Victor in early April.
Since he took the reigns at the Riazor eight games before the 2014/15 campaign concluded until the end of 2015, La Coruna had W7-D14-L4. From last-gasp survival to be comfortably competing in the top-six was almost unthinkable, especially when seeing the mess that the 39-year-old inherited.
The impressive young boss installed belief, has been credited for his outstanding man-management as well as his superb analytical skills when preparing for opposition sides. Victor’s adapted formations, tactics and player roles perfectly and Depor are now a well-rounded club demanding of respect.
Up front Lucas Perez has been outstanding, scoring 13 goals and even equalled Bebeto’s record of scoring in seven consecutive matches. Luis Alberto and Fayçal Fajr have been just as instrumental, Pedro Mosquera a mountain in midfield and Fernando Navarro and Sidnei monumental at the back.
But 2016 hasn’t followed the same pattern. The Brancoazuis have taken two points from a possible 12 and suffered the embarrassment of a Copa del Rey exit at the hands of Segunda outfit Mirandes. Sure, they were unfortunate not to claim maximum points against Valencia last time out but they probably didn’t deserve a draw at Real Sociedad a week earlier.
So it’s now just one success in 11 (W1-D7-L3) and those stream of stalemates have been a constant in 2015/16 – the hosts have been held in 13/25 of their fixtures this season.
Victor was understandably frustrated last weekend. His side have secured just four triumphs from 13 La Liga outings on home soil in his tenure. And although only three of those fixtures have ended in defeat, it’s kinda off-putting for those hoping to have a lump on Depor here.
Struggling Rayo Vallecano have lost eight of their last 10 away trips and bagged their first victory in 10 matches last weekend when trouncing a much-changed Celta Vigo side 3-0 at their Vallecas base.
But Rayo have shown enough in recent weeks to suggest they’re dangerous opponents and so backing a goal-heavy game looks the best option to take.
Over 2.5 Goals is available at 1/1 (SkyBet) and that’s the best value angle to take at a nice price.
Paco Jemez’s heart stopping brand of ‘all or nothing’ football has seen Los Franjirrojos win the hearts of plenty of neutrals. The club from the southern Madrid suburbs of Vallecas have mastered a sumptuous possession-based game but their offensive approach can often leave them vulnerable against sharper opponents.
Los Franjirrojos have lost 27 of their previous 36 away days at top-half teams under Paco Jemez, keeping only three clean sheets. However, the guests have seen 20/36 (55%) of those fixtures feature both teams scoring and a massive 26/36 (72%) prove profitable for Over 2.5 Goals backers.
Paco’s charges are averaging 2.90 goals-per-game against on their travels and no La Liga side has leaked more than their tally of 29 goals away. But on the flip-side, only Real Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla are averaging more shots-on-target than the visitors with only three clubs landing more efforts on-goal away.
Deportivo have only failed to find the net once at the Riazor this term and although the hosts tend to set-up defensively, six of their 10 visitors have found the back of the net.
They should have enough to pick off a Rayo side that’s won only five of their 19 points on the road but I’m just uneasy about lending my support to the home side.
Deportivo La Coruna v Rayo Vallecano – Over 2.5 Goals (1/1 SkyBet)
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