Saturday’s La Liga previews: 2012/3 – round 2

25 Aug

Real Sociedad vs Celta Vigo

To my displeasure, Carlos Vela didn’t start for Sociedad in their 5-1 defeat to Barcelona at Camp Nou last weekend and my anytime scorer bet was consequently voided off with stake returned. Instead it was new boy Chory Castro who scored for the Basque’s – and didn’t he take his goal well.

Celta Vigo lost 1-0 at home to Malaga – blowing a plethora of chances in the process. De Lucas missed several of them, but Cabral hitting the bar with an open goal was the worst. It was the sort of miss you regularly get in Brazilian football, if any of you watch that.

Anyway, Celta played quite well, but how will they fare against Sociedad? Well, promoted team etc so it’s hard to tell. But Sociedad – whether Vela does or doesn’t start- have home advantage and better offensive players in Castro, Griezmann and Prieto, so I’m going for a home win.

Recommendation: Sociedad -0.25 Asian handicap at 1.88

Real Betis vs Rayo Vallecano

As predicted, Betis put Athletic to the sword in Bilbao last weekend – running out 5-3 winners in a goal laden game. To my utter delight, column favourite and anytime scorer selection Ruben Castro opened the scoring at a 5/2 price.

Jorge Molina added the visitor’s second goal, before Basque born midfielder and Athletic transfer target Benat – who put a man of the match performance in – scored their third with a shot from just outside of the box.

As is often the case, Betis couldn’t hold their early lead and, 3-0 up at half time, were pegged back to 3-3 when Athletic defender San Jose scored his second goal of the game. Standby for 4-3 Athletic and comeback complete I thought. But no – the superb counter attack of Betis moved the ball into a scoring position and it was 4-3 Betis instead! Molina then completed his brace with a superb chip over the keeper.

Visiting the Benito Villamarin today are a team who also won their first game – Madrid based Rayo Vallecano. Rayo, having lost their best offensive players in the offseason, defeated Granada 1-0 at the Estadio Teresa Rivero. Roberto Trashorras scored the goal with a last minute free kick.

Rayo had earlier started the game well, but Granada later forced the home keeper, Roberto, into some great saves and the visitors can count their selves very unlucky to have left Madrid without so much as a point – which they certainly deserved.

In conclusion, we know that Betis will score and concede goals, but Rayo are weak up front and, despite beating Betis home and away last season, cannot be trusted to score tonight. I wouldn’t talk you out of a bet on over 2.5 goals regardless of this, but Ruben Castro is injured and I can envisage a 2-0 home win.

However, correct scores are hard to get right and the 90 minute price about a Beits victory is short at 8/11, so I opt to bet on the Asian lines instead.

Recommendation: Betis – 0.75 Asian handicap at 1.98

Espanyol vs Zaragoza

Wakaso took his goal well and there wasn’t a great deal of difference between Mallorca and Espanyol in the Islanders 2-1 victory last weekend, but ultimately the Catalans did as expected and lost on the road.

Today, however, Espanyol should get all three points at home to a Zaragoza side who lost 1-0 at home to promoted Valladolid last Monday night. Zara created little in a game barely worth discussing – one of these new 11pm CET games that are generating record lows in TV viewership and crowd attendance here in Span.

There is slight danger in that Zaragoza defeated Espanyol 2-1 in this fixture last season, but that was at a time when Zara badly needed the points and Espanyol had reached the safety mark.

When a team badly needs the points Espanyol tend to donate them. But it’s surely too early in the season to start considering such things and I don’t think you can look past a home win this time.

In other news, former Barca and Atletico winger Simao has joined Espanyol, reportedly because EPL clubs wouldn’t give in to the relatively high wage demands of the Portuguese winger. Simao is expected to start against Zaragoza today.

Recommendation: Espanyol – 0.75 Asian handicap at 1.94

Malaga vs Mallorca

Though I had opposed them pre-match on a personal bet, I could see that Malaga were likely to win 1-0 in-play at Celta and duly pointed this out – along with recommending under 1.5 goals about half an hour into the match via twitter.

Through a debt goal for Olinga – La Liga’s youngest ever scorer at 16 years and 98 days – Malaga did win 1-0. Overall, they played quite well and had a few good chances, so it was an encouraging day for the Anchovies and will boost confidence.

Malaga won their second competitive game of the 2012/13 season when defeating Panathinaikos 2-0. Wellington and Eliseu were the scorers. Now all they’ll have to do is avoid a defeat by two goals or more in the return leg in Greece.

From what I saw of the Greek’s attacking prowess in Malaga while compensating for their need to attack, I’d fancy Pellegrini‘s boys to comfortably do that and progress to the UEFA Champions League group stages.

Mallorca started aggressively at home to Espanyol and it paid dividends when Tomer Hemed opening the scoring. In between a Wakaso equaliser, Hemed got his brace to win the game for Caparros’s boys with only a few minutes to spare.

Like so many teams in La Liga, Mallorca are generally good at home yet poor away. However, with Malaga only having a small squad of players to choose from and considering their need for the funds that entry to the Champions league proper brings, tonight’s game is not the priority for the Anchovies. Therefore, giving Mallorca a handicap start appears to be the most justifiable bet.

Recommendation: Mallorca + 0.75 Asian handicap at 1.8

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