La Liga: Callum Reid highlights five big Spanish fancies

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LA LIGA boff Callum Read (@callumread) looks to continue his brilliant La Liga form this weekend.

Deportivo La Coruna v Osasuna | Sunday 17:30 | Sky Sports 5

A few weeks ago I’d of told you that Depor would be in a relegation scrap come the end of the season. Now, I think they stand a great chance of pushing on and finishing the season in a respectable mid-table position.

Gaizka Garitano’s side managed to beat Real Sociedad 5-1 two weeks ago and only lost to Real Madrid in the last minute, 3-2 last weekend.

Depor were impressive in the defeat against the Champions League holders and since the manager’s change of formation they’ve both created more chances and scored more goals.

Despite only winning once in their last five, Depor have scored 13 goals in that time period – the most in the division. This obviously includes the five goals against Sociedad, it also features three against Malaga and two against Sevilla.

Romanian striker Florin Andone has scored five goals in his last five La Liga games, only failing to find the net last weekend against Zidane’s side.

His goalscoring abilities were showcased last season when Andone found the net 21 times in 36 games for second division side Cordoba. His form earned him a move to Depor and after a few weeks settling in, he’s finally found his goalscoring boots.

Andone is currently averaging 3.1 shots per-game, the ninth most in the division. And with Osasuna sitting rock-bottom, with just one win to their name all season, it feels like they are set for another defeat this weekend.

Osasuna have shipped 32 goals and have the worst defence in the division – Andone can be found at 19/10 (Bwin) to score at anytime.

Barcelona v Espanyol | Sunday 19:45: | Sky Sports 1

With Real Madrid competing in the Club World Cup this week, Luis Enrique’s side have the chance to close the gap on Madrid should they overcome local rivals Espanyol.

Barcelona will without doubt be boosted by the return of Andres Iniesta, who will be imperative in breaking down a tight Espanyol defence. That’s been Barcelona’s biggest issue for me this season, teams that pin men behind the ball have been their biggest problem and they’ll have to do that against this weekend.

Espanyol sit in ninth and have lost just once on the road this season, keeping more clean sheets away than they have at their own stadium – that includes one against Atletico Madrid. Manager Quique Sanchez Flores has built his side from the back and has a very impressive defensive unit.

It’s a bit too much to ask Espanyol to take anything away from this fixture, but they have the qualities to frustrate their rivals and provide a competitive game.

The Catalan derby is always an entertaining one and the home side have long been the dominant force against their local rivals but the visitors come into this one with arguably the better form.

Barcelona are likely to be faced with a defensive wall of Espanyol players who will cause their attacking unit problems. Barcelona have failed to score more than one goal in five of their seven home games this season whilst 71% of their home La Liga wins have seen Under 3.5 Goals, with 57% seeing Under 2.5 Goals.

While I think Barcelona will take the three points, I don’t think it will be a routine walk in the park win that we’ve seen in recent years. I’m happy to take Barcelona at 11/8 with Betway to win and Under 3.5 Goals, I’ve also taken them to win 2-0 at 6/1 with BetVictor.

Sporting Gijon v Villarreal | Saturday 12:00 | Sky Sports 5

Villarreal travel to Sporting Gijon this weekend in search of their first away win in six games, having not taken three points from any of their last five away fixtures. Their emphatic win over Atletico Madrid shocked many and currently leaves the Yellow Submarine in fourth place.

Manu Triguiros, Dos Santos and Roberto Soriano scored the goals, which saw Villarreal climb above Diego Simeone’s side in the table. A win this weekend will see Fran Escriba’s side move one point behind third-placed Sevilla.

Last week Sporting Gijon suffered a 2-1 defeat against Espanyol with the diminutive forward Duje Cope scoring his sixth goal of the season in the defeat. Abelardo’s side have struggled this season and currently occupy 18th.

Sporting have had some positive performances at El Molinon and when the fans really get behind their side, the stadium is rocking. Their last home game saw them overcome Osasuna 3-1.

Without Cedric Bakambu, I feel Villarreal lack the firepower going forwards and may struggle to break down the 5-4-1 system that Sporting occupy. For this reason I’m backing the draw at a best-priced at 12/5 with Betfair.

Granada v Real Sociedad | Saturday 17:30 | Sky Sports 5

After Granada’s shock win against Sevilla, they followed up that impressive result with a 1-1 draw away to Malaga. This weekend they host fifth-placed Real Sociedad who are enjoying an impressive start to the season.

The home side have been very poor this season, conceding 31 goals. Their defence has improved of late, however it’s still suspect to an error.

Sociedad meanwhile will be looking to build upon their 3-2 win over Valencia last weekend and go in search of their fourth away triumph in eight. They’ve been scoring plenty of goals on their travels with 11, the fourth-most in the league, that’s an average of 3.43 goals from their away fixtures.

Willian Jose will be starting up front for La Real this weekend – the Brazilian found the net twice in the win over Valencia, taking his seasonal tally to nine. The 25-year-old is currently averaging 2.7 shots per-game, the 10th most in the league.

Willian Jose is without doubt going to get chances against a weak defence this weekend and can be found best priced at 21/10 with Paddy Power to score.

Best Bets

Sporting Gijon v Villarreal – Draw (12/5 Betfair)

Granada v Real Sociedad – Willian Jose to score at anytime (21/10 Paddy Power)

Deportivo La Coruna v Osasuna – Florin Andone to score at anytime (19/10 Bwin)

Barcelona v Espanyol – Barcelona to win and Under 3.5 Goals (11/8 Betway)

Barcelona v Espanyol – Barcelona to win 2-0 (6/1 BetVictor)

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