Saturday’s La Liga previews: 2012/13 – round 3

31 Aug

Celta Vigo vs Osasuna

Former Chelsea man Enrique De Lucas scored Celta’s first Primera goal in five years and the visitors actually had more possession than their hosts, Real Sociedad, at San Sebastian last weekend.

After taking the lead, newcomers Celta eventually lost 2-1 to Sociedad, but played well enough to suggest that, given time, they’ll re-adapt to the top flight and survive relegation.

Bu virtue of an early Joseba Llorente goal, Celta’s opponents today, 19th placed Osasuna, led Barcelona until the 75th minute of their clash in Pamplona last Sunday evening. Certainly, Osasuna were unlucky to lose, but the end result was part of the reason as to why Messi is the best player in the World.

Now with regards to today’s game, we don’t have recent head to records to consider and, barring home advantage, only have the facts brought about by rounds one and two of the 2012/13 Liga BBVA season.

In those rounds, both teams have lost each of their games, scoring only one goal each. Of course, early season unpredictability often means that games like this go against the grain and finish 3-3, but under 2.5 goals seems like the best bet.

For sake of picking a match winner, though, I’d go for Celta as they have a greater desire to attack along with home advantage.

However, for my bet I’m just going to have a small punt on the double result of Draw/Celta at 5.5 as the price appeals and Celta have been level at half time in both of their 2012/13 Liga games so far.

Worth a small punt: Draw/Celta at 5.5

Zaragoza vs Malaga

After meekly losing 1-0 at home to newly promoted Valladolid in round one, Zaragoza repeated their 2011/12 feat of defeating Espanyol in Barcelona in round two.

Although Los Blanquillos played a ten man team for nigh on half of their match against Pochettino’s Espanyol, they deserved their victory and have Portuguese forward Helder Postiga – who scored the winner – to thank for it.

In a dull game, Malaga came from a goal down to draw 1-1 at home to Mallorca last weekend. Nineteen year old substitute Juanmi saved the Anchovies blushes with the leveller.

A few days after hosting Mallorca, Malaga cemented their UEFA Champions League group stages place by playing out a sleep inducing 0-0 draw with Panathinaikos in Greece.

While Malaga simply wanted to protect their first leg lead in Greece, what’s notable about all four of their competitive games is that they’ve only scored four goals, with two of them coming from youth players.

Relying on young players to score may, however, not be needed as Saviola has rescinded his contract with Benfica and joined Malaga on a one year deal and Roque Santa Cruz – who spent last season on loan at Betis – is also set to come in before the transfer window closes.

I doubt that either of the two new signings will play a part at La Romareda, though, and the Anchovies midweek trip to Greece must be factored in, so I’ll go for Zaragoza on the Asian handicap.

Recommendation: Zaragoza + 0.25 Asian handicap at 1.85

Deportivo vs Getafe

Depor showed tremendous spirit to recover from a 3-1 first half deficit to draw 3-3 away to Valencia last weekend. Aguilar (brace) and Pizzi were the scorers.

Visiting the Riazor today are Getafe – the team who defeated Real Madrid 2-1 in the Alfonso Perez last weekend. After such a result it seems like a perfect anti – climax of beat big team and lose to smaller team in the game after for Getafe, and Deportivo are strong at home.

On the danger side, Deportivo haven’t defeated Getafe since 2007 and I am tempted to back both teams to score, but I’ll stick to the plan and back Depor with the partial cover of a half stake refund should they draw.

Recommendation: Deportivo – 0.25 Asian handicap at 1.9

Mallorca vs Sociedad

Via Tomer Hemed’s third goal in two games – a header this time – Mallorca took the lead but eventually drew 1-1 away to Malaga. While Pellegrini’s boys were invariably distracted with UEFA Champions League qualification, this was a good result for Mallorca – a team who don’t gain many points away from their Island home.

Sociedad, through an Agirretxe double, came from behind to beat Celta Vigo 2-1 at San Sebastian last weekend. The Basque’s played well overall and deserved their victory.

In conclusion with regards to today’s game, I’d expect Mallorca to beat Sociedad, probably 2-1. However, along with both teams scoring on the Island in their league and cup meetings last season, both teams have scored and conceded in each of their respective La Liga games this season so both teams to score appears to be a safer bet.

I have backed Sociedad’s Carlos Vela as an anytime scorer at 11/4 because I think that he’s due a goal and am always tempted by such prices, but we don’t know whether Sociedad coach Philippe Montanier will continue to play only one striker in away games, so you might be better just doing Tomer Hemed until the starting eleven is revealed.

Recommendation: Both teams to score (2.0)

Worth a punt: Tomer Hemed e/w first scorer (6.0)

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