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

17 Aug

Though I enjoyed a summer full of football and congratulate La Roja for retaining their European Championship, it wasn’t the same as my beloved La Liga and I cannot wait for the 2012/13 Liga BBVA season to start.

As always, don’t expect me to get everything right, particularly in the first round of games, and please only gamble what you can afford to lose. Anyway, let’s crack on!

Celta Vigo vs Malaga

Playing out a pre-arranged 0-0 draw with Cordoba to ensure a Primera Liga return for 2012/13, Celta Vigo will play top flight football for the first time in five years. For what it’s worth at a lesser standard, the Galacians scored 83 goals and conceded only 37 in 42 Segunda games last season.

Iago Aspas and Enrique De Lucas are their most talented players and will, along with the loan of Sevilla goalkeeper Javi Varas, be key in the clubs chances of meeting its target of avoiding relegation. It’s a target that I think they’ll achieve, but not one I’m willing to bet on!

Malaga’s problems are well publicised so no need for me to add further comment. On the playing side, Cazorla has left for Arsenal, Rondon for Rubin Kazan and Mathijsen for Feyenoord.

Marcos Senna, a former teammate of Santi Cazorla at Villarreal, famously said the Yellow Submarines sale of the impish wideman to Malaga ripped the heart out of the team. It should prove to be similar for Malaga this season.

Cazorla, a fine shooter from long range, scored the most goals (8) from outside of the box in the 2011/12 Primera season. Ronaldo came second, Messi third. Quite telling, eh?

With morale low and the club needing to raise further funds, expect more players to leave the Andalusian club before both the current and festive transfer windows close. With the exception of local boy Isco, most of the current playing squad want to leave Malaga.

Sad as it is, that’s the reality for Malaga. For today’s game I backed Celta Vigo + 0.5 on the Asian handicap at 2.2 a few weeks ago. Sadly, for you the reader, that price is long gone as bookie and punter alike began to realise that promoted team with a positive handicap at home to a deflated, weakened top four team was worth a bet as the drama unfolded this past month or so.

Malaga were also a poor away team last year, so it wouldn’t have been a longshot to effectively lay them on a betting exchange even if they didn’t have major issues on and off the pitch.

With the value now gone in my bet It’s too short to recommend to you, but I’ll try and find an in-pay bet for anyone who follows me at https://twitter.com/JCLaLiga . However, if you can’t wait until then I’d go with a Celta win at 7/5 and a small punt on their top scorer from last season.

Worth a small punt: Iago Aspas e/w first scorer at 7/1

Sevilla vs Getafe

Finishing in only ninth place last season, Sevilla failed to qualify for Europe, but will be hell-bent on making sure they get at least a Europa League spot for the 2013/14 season. Long serving striker Kanoute has left the club, but Spanish international striker Negredo remains and should link up well with Manu del Moral and Jesus Navas.

Sevilla most notable post season signing is Brazilian fullback Cicinho. Joining the Andalusian club from Palmeiras and a different Cicinho to the one that played for Real Madrid and Roma, the Brazilian hopes to fill a void the club have had since Dani Alves left for Bareclona.

Getafe have re-signed right winger Pedro Leon on loan from Real Madrid, but have lost a winger in Pedro Rios and a solid, key player in defender Cata Diaz. No doubt the Azulones, like most La Liga clubs, will just want to avoid relegation this season.

With regards to their finishing positions in the 2012/13 Liga BBVA season, I think that Sevilla will attain fifth with Getafe occupying anything from eighth to seventeenth. Interestingly, with regards to today’s game, five of the last six clashes between these two have contained thee goals or more.

Now I do think that Sevilla will win this game but and probably lead at half time, but I am tempted to have a goals bet too and will split my stake. If not for Getafe losing Cata Diaz, Rios and forward Arizmendi, though, I’d just do goal betting.

Recommendations: Sevilla – 1 Asian handicap (19/16) and over 2.5 goals (evens)

Mallorca vs Espanyol

Barralets boss Joaquin Caparros was working with a small, talent deprived squad in 2011/12 and, despite the sale of key attacker Chori Castro, will again have to operate with a ‘shoe string budget’ in the 2012/13 Liga BBVA season.

On a positive note, the signings of former Atletico Madrid full back Antonio Lopez and ex national team left back Capdevilla add experience to the squad. While the acquisition of midfielder Javi Marquez (from Espanyol) is an excellent move. But Mallorca desperately another striker to compliment, backup or replace Tomer Hemed.

Espanyol have a bright, young boss in Pochettino, but have lost key and important offensive players in the off season. Though both were on loan at the Catalan club in 2011/12, the losses of Coutinho and Weiss will surely be dearly felt.

In conclusion, both teams should finish mid table and Mallorca, with home advantage, will likely win this game 1-0. However, if under 2.5 goals was a better price than 4/6 I’d do that instead.

Recommendation: Mallorca (11/10)

If you like what you’ve read, be sure to follow me on twitter for general football talk and in-play betting!

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