CALLUM Read (@callumread) looks to continue his brilliant La Liga form this weekend.
Barcelona v Malaga | Saturday 15:15
Barcelona come into this fixture having kept just one clean sheet in their last four fixtures, that shut out came against Granada, overcoming the bottom of the league side 1-0.
Barcelona have shipped five goals at home this season and do have a number of defensive issues to worry about against Malaga. Both Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique are touch and go for this weekend, while Samuel Umtiti has been ruled out of this fixture.
Despite losing Luis Suarez to suspension, the champions still have more than enough quality to put three or four past Malaga, however, their defensive issues of late is a worry and it’s not impossible to see Malaga scoring in this one.
Starting up front for Malaga this weekend will more than likely Sandro Ramirez, for those who don’t follow La Liga, he moved from Barcelona to La Rosaleda this summer and will be more than determined to score against his former employers. He’s scored in each of his last three games and currently has five goals this season.
Malaga have seen Over 2.5 Goals scored in each of their last three games with the matches finished 4-0. 4-2 and 3-2. It’s also important to note that the 4-2 win came against Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon.
For this reason, I’m leaning towards Barcelona to win and both teams to score at odds of 6/4 with Bet Bright.
Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid | Saturday 19:45 | Sky Sports 5
Well, I’m digging myself a grave here. I’ve only taken on the biggest game of the season so far in one of the most passionate derby’s in the league, however, analysing both teams does offer up some interesting reading.
Away from home this season, Real Madrid are yet to lose winning four games and drawing once, more importantly, they’ve only conceded four goals and have scored 17.
Flip reverse it and look at Atleti’s home form, they’ve yet to lose at home and have also drawn just once. Weirdly, they’ve also conceded just four goals but have scored 18 goals. Their form is eerily similar and if you’ve been paying attention you can probably see where this one is going.
Neither manager wants to lose this derby, it means everything to the fans, especially with Los Rojiblancos challenging both in the league and in cup competitions of late.
The last two times this fixture was played at the Calderon, the honours have been shared. For the fact both sides are in fantastic form this season and will go into this one wanting not to lose rather than win, I’m backing the draw. This can be best priced at 29/12 with Marathon Bet.
Valencia v Granada | Sunday 15:15 | Sky Interactive
Sitting bottom of La Liga and without a win, Granada look doomed for relegation, whilst under new manager Cesare Prandelli, Valencia still look a little rusty and will need a miracle to finish in the Europa League positions.
They just can’t keep clean sheets, conceding 21 goals this season, however, take a guess at who has the worst defensive record this season? If you guessed Granada you win. They’ve shipped 25 goals in 11 games, 10 of which have come in their last five.
Whilst Valencia have lost four of their last five home games, they have faced Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in that time period. The other two loses came under previous manager Pako, so they can’t be read into that much.
On their travels, Granada have the worst away form picking up one point from a possible 15. They’ve also conceded an average of 3.6 goals away from home this season. It’s certainly worrying times if you’re a Granada fan.
The last three matches involving Granada and Valencia have seen Over 2.5 Goals come in, whilst the home side have also won 11 of their last 12 matches against Granada.
This Valencia side should be putting Granada to the sword, their team is far superior and has more than enough attacking talent to score goals. Valencia to win and Over 2.5 Goals, comes in at evens with Bet Stars and I’m on it.
Sporting Gijon v Real Sociedad | Sunday 17:30 | Sky Sports 3
In Spain, we always seem to get a side that pick up form and then never look like losing. Las Palmas done it earlier in the season and now Real Sociedad have taken on that duty. They’ve won four of their last five games, losing to rivals Athletic Club 3-2. La Real also pulled of a fantastic 2-0 win against Atletico Madrid just before the international break.
This weekend they face a Sporting side that occupy 18th in the table and haven’t won in their last eight league games. They are also missing their first choice right back Lilo who will miss this fixture due to a red card in the 3-2 defeat to Malaga.
There really isn’t anyone underperforming in the Sociedad side, Carlos Vela and Mikel Oyarzabal are providing pace and quality in the final third, whilst behind them two Zurutuza, Illarramendi and Prieto offer up the perfect balance between attack and defence. Added to that the attacking quality of right back Carlos Martinez and you’ve got yourself a dangerous attacking unit.
Except, I’ve forgotten one man, probably the centrepiece to this San Sebastian Roast Dinner and that’s Willian Jose. The striker has scored six goals in nine appearances this season and has hit an impressive run of form, scoring in each of his last three games.
He may not be the quickest of strikers but his desire to get into goal scoring positions and his natural ability to find the back of the net makes him a very dangerous tool for Eusebio’s side.
While I do think the Basque side have enough to overcome a Sporting side that have shipped 22 goals this season I’m actually backing the highly praised Willian Jose to score anytime this weekend. Bwin are offering odds of 9/4, odds I’m more than happy to tip.
Barcelona v Malaga – Barcelona to win and both teams to score (6/4 BetBright)
Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid – Draw (29/12 Marathon Bet)
Valencia v Granada – Valencia to win and Over 2.5 Goals (Evens Bet Stars)
Sporting Gijon v Real Sociedad – Willian Jose to score anytime (9/4 BWin)