MARK O’HAIRE’S (@MarkOHaire) outlined two punting opportunities from Spain on Wednesday night.
Malaga v Valencia | Wednesday 19.00 | Sky Sports 1
Valencia’s resurgence was ended last time out, with Gary Neville’s men brought crashing back down to reality with a 3-0 home loss to Athletic Bilbao.
Los Che performed fairly well for an hour, missed a couple of cracking opportunities in front of goal but fell apart once the Basques had broken the deadlock. And Neville reacted by calling the referee a ‘joke’ post-match.
Neville said, “Today, I thought the referee was a joke. It was embarrassing we didn’t get two penalties. There were three factors in the defeat: first the referee, secondly we missed chances, and third, we didn’t react to conceding the first goal.“
Valencia bid to get back on track with a visit to the Costa del Sol on Wednesday night, eager to end an unwanted record of conceding in each of their past 16 La Liga games. Not since 1986 have Los Che waited longer for a clean sheet and with W0-D1-L3 in their last four trips to Malaga – failing to score in all four – I’m keen to get with the hosts.
Javi Gracia’s hosts welcome back Ignacio Camacho and Miguel Torres from suspension as they look to enhance an excellent record since mid-November (W6-D5-L3). Only Barcelona, Sevilla and Villarreal have managed to beat Los Boquerones in that time and all three defeats were by a one-goal margin.
In fact, Malaga have met Spain’s big-three five times this term and shipped just four goals across those games. And those solid foundations really come to the fore at their La Roselada home where they’ve kept their sheets clean in six of their 12 fixtures in 2015/16.
Los Boquerones have returned W5-D2-L2 on home soil since September and should be capable of justifying 21/20 quotes from BetVictor to enhance that win record with three points this midweek.
The visitors only away success in La Liga across the past four months came at struggling Granada and Valencia have fired blanks in four of their most recent seven domestic road trips. Los Che have been beaten in seven of their last 11 away days in league format and leaked the opening goal in 11 of 12 under Neville.
For those looking for something a bit more substantial – a Malaga win and Under 2.5 Goals is available at 14/5 with Sportingbet. A huge 18/26 (69%) of Malaga’s matches have featured fewer than three goals, including eight of 12 at La Roselada.
Valencia have failed to break the two-goal barrier in nine of their 13 away days, meaning that the two teams have accumulated 17/25 (68%) Under 2.5 Goals winners when taking their home and away games into account.
Levante v Real Madrid | Wednesday 20.00 | Sky Sports 1
Well this is going to be interesting…
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane admitted after Saturday night’s derby defeat to Atletico Madrid – his first loss in charge of Los Blancos – that the La Liga title race was done and dusted before March.
The 10-times European champions are 12 points behind bitter rivals Barcelona with their inferior head-to-head record effectively making the gap 13 points. For the most expensive team in history, one league title in eight seasons is virtually certain.
So how will they react when they head to Levante? For starters, this is and has never been a stroll for the capital club. Exclude last season’s walkover, Madrid’s last five visits to the Ciutat de Valencia have seen them W2-D1-L2 with neither victory secured by more than the odd goal.
If the real Real rock up and do their thing, victory will follow. But pride has been damaged, morale hurt and motivation questionable considering the circumstances. And if that wasn’t enough, Zidane’s without a host of key players this midweek.
Gareth Bale isn’t yet fit enough to return, Karim Benzema is sidelined whilst Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal are suspended. Pepe might be rushed back to partner Raphael Varane in central defence with Nacho plugging the left-back gap. It’s certainly not ideal.
Since Zidane was appointed, Madrid have W1-D2-L0 in their three away trips, leaking a goal in each. And since the start of 2015/16, Los Blancos have returned average W5-D5-L2 figures on their travels for a side that should be challenging with the cream of the crop – only three of those 12 games were won by at least a two-goal margin.
So although centre-back David Navarro is banned, I reckon Levante can keep this clash close and competitive, therefore I’ll be having a decent play on the Frogs +1 in the Asian Handicap market – we’ll be paid out should the home side avoid defeat but get our stake back should they lose by a one-goal margin.
Levante were terrible when losing 3-0 at Villarreal on Sunday but the Frogs are a different kettle of fish when hosting La Liga action.
The Valencia-based outfit have returned three wins from their last four on home soil and since head coach Rubi was appointed, they’ve been beaten by more than one goal once in eight at Ciutat de Valencia.
That loss came against Barcelona (0-2) and the rock-bottom side gave the Catalans a real run for their money for 88 minutes – it just so happened they conceded an early own goal and a 92nd minute strike from Luis Suarez.
Madrid should be turning Levante over here but without two of their famous front-three, crucial defensive players and just a 42% win-rate on the road, I’m happy to oppose them here.
Malaga v Valencia – Malaga to win (21/20 BetVictor)
Levante v Real Madrid – Levante +1 Asian Handicap (43/40 Bet365)
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