IN-FORM Callum Read (@callumread) picks out the best bets from La Liga this weekend.
Real Sociedad v Atletico Madrid | Saturday 15:15
In the 2012-13 La Liga season Real Sociedad finished fourth, securing a Champions League spot for the following season whilst scoring 70 goals – more than any other club bar Barcelona and Real Madrid.
La Real’s number seven that season? None other than Antoine Griezmann, now of Atletico Madrid. The Frenchman spent nine years in San Sebastian before his move to Los Colchoneros.
The 25-year-old has scored six goals in nine league games this season and picked up two assists in Atleti’s 4-2 win over Malaga in their last La Liga outing. With the talented forward without a goal in his last three games he’ll be incredibly eager to end that run against his former club this weekend.
I’m a massive fan of Griezmann; he clearly still has his confidence and hasn’t let his head drop – his two goals against Rostov in the Champions League were a clear sign of that. His ability and self-assurance were reflected in his brace.
Atletico have won six of their last seven games against Real Sociedad in the Basque Country and have scored at least two goals in six of their last seven matches against this weekend’s opposition.
It’s a fairytale story, Griezmann is yet to score at the Anoeta in an Atleti shirt. He’s 16/11 (Marathon) to do so on Saturday.
Las Palmas v Eibar | Saturday 19:45 | Sky Sports 2
I love watching Las Palmas this season – they are one of Spain’s, if not Europe’s, most exciting teams to watch and manager Quique Setien has got his side playing some very attractive football.
Meanwhile, try and find me someone who doesn’t admire Eibar – the small Basque club that take every single game in their stride and have the whole league backing them.
In what is a contender for game of the season, Las Palmas came back from 3-0 down against Celta Vigo to draw 3-3 thanks to goals from Bigas, Viera and Kevin-Prince Boateng last weekend.
In fact, many questioned why Boateng was joining the Yellows but he’s been a revelation and has produced moments of magic on numerous times this season.
Las Palmas have seen Over 2.5 Goals land in 80% of their league games this season with Both Teams To Score coming in on the same percentage in their La Liga encounters. Eibar have also delivered Over 2.5 Goals in 60% of their league games and BTTS across 80% of their outings.
With Pedro Leon and Sergi Enrich the key sources of goals for the away side and Setien getting goals from various sources for the hosts, this game promises to be an entertaining one.
Las Palmas have already scored 20 goals and conceded 18 – Eibar’s goal figures stand at 16:14, so this match promises goals.
I love the look of Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score – best priced at 1/1 with Coral.
Real Madrid v Leganes | Sunday 11:00 | Sky Sports 3
It’s a funny time for Real Madrid; despite not playing the most impressive football, they still top La Liga and haven’t lost a league game this season.
During the week they drew 3-3 with Polish side Legia Warsaw, a side many expected them to put five past for no return, as per their 5-1 win on matchday three in the Champions League.
Whilst many would have Zinedine Zidane’s side down as having a stubborn, tight defence, they’ve actually not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 10 games in all competitions. In fact, they’ve kept just one in their last 14 games.
Real are still expected to be without Pepe, Sergio Ramos and defensive midfielder Casemiro this weekend, as well as Luka Modric. The biggest miss from that quartet is without doubt Casemiro. His positional discipline and ability to break up player makes him a key cog in the Real Madrid defensive machine.
Despite being a newly promoted side, Leganes currently have the third best away form, picking up nine points from their five games on the road – it’s by no means a miracle to ask them to score a goal this weekend at the Bernabeu.
Take Real’s 2-1 home win over Athletic Bilbao for example – sure they got the three points and had 66% possession, but they allowed the Basque side 10 shots on goal, whilst Eibar had seven during a heavy defeat in the capital.
Real should be winning 90% of their games at home, but that’s not been the case this season. More so, they’ve conceded in every one of their home games this campaign.
Asier Garitano’s visitors are by no means going to take home the three points but I do think they’ve got a goal in their side.
Real Madrid to win and Both Teams To Score can be backed at 11/8 with Ladbrokes.
Celta Vigo v Valencia | Sunday 15:15 | Sky Sports Red Button
Both Celta Vigo and Valencia have seen Over 2.5 Goals bank in 70% of their La Liga games this season. The home side have seen results such as 3-3, 4-1, 5-0 a 4-3 land this season, whilst the visitors have featured in scorelines off 2-3, 1-2, 2-3 and a 2-4.
This is another encounter that looks to provide a number of goals and whilst results haven’t improved dramatically, Valencia look a much better side with Cesare Prandelli at the helm.
Eduardo Berizzo’s hosts were defeated 3-2 away to Ajax in the Europa League on Thursday night, and in the league have seen Over 2.5 goals scored in their last four matches, scoring at least twice themselves in five of their last six.
There will be a reshuffle at the back for Celta; Hugo Mall and Sergi Gomez have both been suspended due to red cards, forcing Berizzo to field a weaker side.
Up top, Iago Aspas is having a wonderful campaign scoring six goals in the league. He’s scored five goals in his last three games and is in brilliant form. Behind Aspas, Pione Sisto has looked an exciting prospect, Pablo Hernandez is as good as ever and Theo Bongonda looks a real talent.
If it’s a game too soon for Fabian Orellana to recover from injury then the above mentioned trio will do just fine. We’ve also seen Daniel Wass show his quality from dead ball situations.
I’m leaning towards the Over 3.5 Goals market here – firstly, because the Over 2.5 Goals isn’t offering enough value and secondly, because this game genuinely looks like a goal-fest.
Over 3.5 Goals can be backed at 2/1 with William Hill.
Real Sociedad v Atletico Madrid – Antoine Griezmann to score (16/11 Marathon)
Las Palmas v Eibar – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (1/1 Coral)
Real Madrid v Leganes – Real Madrid to win and Both Teams To Score (11/8 Ladbrokes)
Celta Vigo v Valencia – Over 3.5 Goals (2/1 William Hill)