Monday’s La Liga previews: 2012/13 – round 1

17 Aug

Deportivo La Coruna vs Osasuna

Segunda Champions Deportivo shone under the tutelage of Jose Luis Oltra in 2011/12, winning a staggering 18 out of 21 home games. A lot of their offensive creativity was due to veteran old school playmaker Juan Carlos Valeron – a player I’ve always enjoyed watching for his vision and ability to let the ball, and not him, do the running.

Valeron will likely not start every game in Depor’s immediate return to Liga BBVA, but with his experience and guile he’s sure to be a key player over the course of a season for the Galacians.

Depor have lost influential wideman Guardado to Valencia, but they have signed five players on loan from Sporting Lisbon and Benfica, with young Portuguese International striker Nelson Oliveira being the most notable of them.

It remains to be seen how well or how often most of these loan players will feature for Depor, but opponents Osasuna have lost the double figure goal tally’s provided by midfielder Raul Garcia and striker Lekic. Both, particularly Garcia, were key players for the Pamplonans in 2011/12.

Come the end of 2012/13, both teams could finish anywhere between 8th and 17th, but today I think that Depor wins this game one or two nil. Under 2.5 should therefore prove to be a good shout, but I’m going with the home advantage of the team once dubbed Super Depor.

With fond memories of Fran, Bebeto, Mauro Silva, Donato, Rivlaldo and the majestic, sublimely talent but temperamental Djalminha, I’m glad Deportivo are back where they belong.

Recommendation: Deportivo (11/10)

Rayo Vallecano vs Granada

Rayo, though impressive for part of the season, only avoided relegation on the final day of 2011/12 because Raul Tamudo scored a late winner for them – around the same time Falcao netted for Atletico to put Villarreal into the Segunda instead of Rayo.

Factor in that veteran Tamudo, though often injured, has left along with key attackers Michu and Diego Costa, and quite frankly I don’t see who’s going to score the goals to keep them up this season.

Granada, as they did last season, have a squad of loan players with double figures numbers coming in and out. Perhaps the most notable newcomer is Udinese forward Floro Flores, though he only scored four league goals in 2011/12.

In conclusion, this sounds like a good candidate for under 2.5 goals, but Granada draw no bet and + 0.5 are also tempting options as I can envisage an away win with a debut goal for Floro Flores. However, at this stage no bet has been placed as I prefer to see how I get on in the earlier games first.

Real Zaragoza vs Valladolid

Sure to be in the relegation places at some point, Zaragoza and Valladolid will have to battle hard to still be a part of Liga BBVA in 2013/14. Valladolid, to their credit, are a well organised team who were unlucky not to have gained automatic promotion from the Segunda under the coaching skills of former Valencia and Deportivo defender Miroslav Djukic.

Zaragoza completed an amazing escape from what looked like certain relegation in the closing weeks of their 2011/12 league campaign, but more than one of their results came about because their opponents had nothing to play for and could be persuaded to play with little desire or, as in the case of Getafe on the final day, extra aggression to complement a card happy ref.

Anyway, I think that Zarogoza will get relegated but Valladolid will survive through the organisational talents of their manager, the pre-mentioned Djukic.

In terms of tonight’s a game it’s a result I don’t want to pick. Anything is possible and while you should generally favour a home win in such clashes, I’d rather bet on the upset away win of the promoted club against one of the worst sides in Spain’s top division.

A lot of Valladolid games contained less than three goals in the 2011/12 Segunda season, but in the top flight, as much as Zara are low scorers and I’m tempted to bet on 0-0 today, this could be one of those silly games that ends 2-2!

If I do bet on this game, I’ll post my bet before kickoff on twitter. Be sure to follow me on twitter for general football talk and in-play betting!

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