MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) takes a look at Monday night’s La Liga offering with Rayo Vallecano entertaining Cordoba in Madrid.
Rayo Vallecano v Cordoba | Monday 19.45
I’m certain a small part of me will die when penning this preview but here goes. Having visited Vallecas, home to Rayo Vallecano, earlier this season I absolutely fell in love with the club. The fans, the passion, the choreography, the stadium, the smells, the sense of ‘real fans, real football'… it was a marvellous experience. But seeing them priced up at a best of 8/11 just can’t be right.
Tiny Rayo have again surpassed all expectations with Paco Jemez’s team playing a beautiful style of possession-based football. The Madrid club are a modern day wonder, considering the budget on offer, and look set for another season of survival.
However, they’ve only twice at home this season and come into this fixture on the back of W1-D1-L4 in their last six games. That victory came on the road at city rivals Getafe and their last five outings at Vallecas have ended in defeat. The likes of Elche, Espanyol and Eibar have all come away with maximum points.
Granted Cordoba don’t begin with an E and yes, they produced a minor miracle when winning promotion via the Segunda play-offs last season, but they’re a much better side than the betting markets ever give them credit for. They’ve actually avoided defeat in 10/17 La Liga matches this season and been beaten just twice in seven league games.
Miroslav Đukic has taken on the foundations of Albert Ferrer’s side and made the Andalusia side into a real tough nut to break down. Three clean sheets in four is testament to the work of Dukic and on the road they’ve W1-D3-L4 – all four losses have come at top-five sides and they remain unbeaten in 10 games against teams in ninth and below.
It's worth noting that Nabil Ghilas will be missing for the visitors (he’s on African Cup of Nations duty) but Cordoba are strong enough to hold off the Rayo resistance and get something from their trip to the capital. And that’s why I’m snapping up Bet365’s 5/4 on Cordoba in the Double Chance market.
Rayo Vallecano v Cordoba – Cordoba double chance (5/4 Bet365)