THERE’S a full midweek round of La Liga action to enjoy from Spain. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) points us in the direction of his favourite fancies from Tuesday night’s two fixtures.
Atletico Madrid v Real Sociedad | Tuesday 20.00 | Sky Sports 2
Atletico Madrid became the first club to beat Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in three successive games on Saturday afternoon with Diego Simeone’s side once again defying the odds to deliver the goods.
The Argentine head coach running the remarkable show at Atleti hinted post-match that Atletico had won by being…. Atletico. The collective over the individual, hard work, organisation, clarity, structure, stability and continuity. And he wasn’t wrong.
The Mattress Makers had not arrived back home from their Champions League game at PSV Eindhoven, via Amsterdam, until almost 7am on Thursday morning. By 6pm on Saturday, they had won another derby and run 11km more than their opponents.
Antoine Griezmann broke his goalscoring duck to grab the winner and although many neutrals bemoan the bland style imposed by Los Rojiblancos, you’d be a fool to overlook what they’re continually achieving and not enjoy the ongoing story.
Atleti have conceded just 11 goals this season, over a third of them against Barcelona. The other 17 teams have managed to beat goalkeeper Jan Oblak only seven times and never more than once. They can be literally impenetrable, squeezing the life and soul out of their guests before firing a killer blow in the offensive third.
Oblak now has a ridiculous 21 clean sheets across all competitions and with Tuesday’s hosts conceding just two goals in their last seven outings at the Vicente Calderon, as well as eight shutouts in 10 league fixtures, it’s hard to bet against a repeat here.
Real Sociedad arrive in decent nick having avoided defeat in their past five but their four-match winning streak was ended on Saturday with a controversial 1-1 draw at home to Malaga. The Basques equaliser looked suspiciously offside in two phases of play, outraging their visitors.
Aritz Elustondo, Asier Illarramendi and Jonathas all return from bans whilst Imanol Agirretxe is edging back to full fitness so La Real should be in good shape. However, the in-form visitors have a sorry record when travelling to Spain’s leading lights.
Sociedad have suffered defeats in seven of their last eight at top-six sides and have even been beaten by two clear goals in 10 of their past 13 trips to top-six clubs. Eusebio Sacristan's first 15 games have seen defeats at Barcelona and Real Madrid so I reckon Atletico can add their name to that list on Tuesday.
I’ll be backing Atleti in two markets at decent prices. Firstly, the standard home win and Under 2.5 Goals at 15/8 with Sportingbet – it’s a bet that’s banked in 13 of their 18 league victories, as well as five of their eight Vicente Calderon triumphs this term.
And I’m also having a nibble on the 16/5 from 888 on Draw-Atletico in the Half-Time/Full-Time market. Six of Los Rojiblancos’ last seven La Liga games as hosts have been all-square at the interval (five were 0-0), with seven of 12 as hosts also proving profitable in the half-time draw market since the start of the season.
Las Palmas v Getafe | Tuesday 21.00 | Sky Sports 2
Las Palmas gave their survival hopes an excellent boost on Friday night with a confident and deserved 1-0 win at Eibar. The three points ended a season-long wait for a first clean sheet on their travels and brought Quique Setien’s side level with 17th-placed Sporting Gijon.
The Yellows have only netted twice in their last four La Liga fixtures but three of those matches came on the road and back at their Canary Island base with David Simon available again at right-back, the home side look more than capable of collecting back-to-back wins.
In their first season back in the Spanish top-flight for 13 years, Las Palmas have performed admirably on the island, returning W4-D2-L3. Two of those defeats came against Barcelona and Atletico Madrid with the third occurring way back in September against Rayo Vallecano.
Coral have chalked up the Yellows as 11/10 shots here and that’s an appealing price when you check out Getafe’s grotesque record when playing away.
El Geta have been beaten in 13 of their past 16 road trips, 11 of which were defeats by two goals or larger. In nine of their previous 12, the visitors have suffered a L-L double result and Fran Escriba’s side arrive in the Canaries on a six-match losing streak, failing to even score in five.
As guests, the capital club have conceded at least three goals in each of their past three – two of which came against La Liga's current bottom two – and they arrive in the midst of a defensive crisis, especially at full-back where three players are absent.
A home win at odds-against, please.
Atletico Madrid v Real Sociedad – Atletico Madrid to win and Under 2.5 Goals (15/8 Sportingbet)
Atletico Madrid v Real Sociedad – Draw-Atletico Madrid (18/5 888)
Las Palmas v Getafe – Las Palmas to win (11/10 Coral)
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