LA LIGA continues its return on Thursday night as Alaves and Real Sociedad lock horns. Jack Wright (@bet_shop_boys ) is on-hand to preview the match-up .
Alaves vs Real Sociedad | Thursday 18th June 2020, 18:30 | La Liga TV
Fourth-placed Real Sociedad travel to Mendizorrotza looking to tighten their grip on a Champions League place and put behind them the disappointment of dropped points in their return to action at home to Osasuna.
Alaves meanwhile will also be looking to get their season back up and running after a disastrous restart outing at rock-bottom Espanyol. Not only did Thursday night’s hosts lose 2-0 but Vitoria outfit had to play for more than 70 minutes with 10 men after the early dismissal of goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco.
La Real have a recent hold over their hosts having won the last four head-to-heads in all competitions without conceding, also taking the lead before half-time in the most recent three. We probably shouldn’t expect a goal fest though with the last five meetings here seeing Under 2.5 Goals. In fact, only five of Alaves’ home games this term have featured three or more goals.
An angle I normally like to try and exploit is the corner market, however here we have two of the worst exponents in La Liga. At home, Alaves have only won 54 flag kicks from their 14 games – an average of just 3.86 – which is the worst in the league. Real matches also produce the worst away corner average, which is a meagre 3.07 per-road trip.
Where the home side are table-toppers, however, is in their ability to pick up yellow cards. Fifty yellows give Alaves an average of 3.57 per-game in their own stadium and their main card collectors are available to them with Mubarak Wakaso (11 Cards), Ruben Duarte (9), Victor Laguardia (9) and Ximo Navarro (8) all regular visitors to the referee’s notebook.
Santiago Latre takes charge of this one having shown 53 yellow and four red cards from his 11 La Liga appointments this season at an average of 5.18 card per-game – that’s actually down on his all-time record where he has flashed an average of 5.56 per-game. Sky Bet offer odds of 4/5 (1.80) for Alaves to collect 30+ Booking Points and that looks value to me given the above and therefore is my first fancy.
As mentioned earlier, Sociedad drew 1-1 in their first game back with the the scorer on Sunday night being 23-year-old Spanish attacker Mikel Oyarzabel, netting from one of his two shots, both of which were on target. In the reverse fixture with Alaves back in September, Oyarzabel struck twice in a 3-0 win – he had three shots on-target that day from seven attempts at goal.
Alaves’ main tormentor on Saturday was Adrian Embarba, who supplied two assists from his left-sided attacking position as well as being allowed to fire off five shots. If afforded similar opportunity, Oyarzabel has the ability to run riot and add to his current haul of nine league goals.
For those looking to take a cautious approach, Betfair offer odds of 4/6 for Oyarzabel to test the keeper at least once with a strike on-target. I have no interest at those odds however and will be putting forward the more ambitious, but as illustrated above, well within reach offering of two shots on-target at a juicy 7/2.