The weekend’s La Liga previews: 2012/13 – round 4

15 Sep

Malaga vs Levante
With two wins and a draw from their first three games, it’s fair to say that Malaga have made a better start to the 2012/13 Liga BBVA season than most people expected. Last time out, via a Camacho goal, the Anchovies won 1-0 away to Zaragoza.

Levante, who have also started their La Liga season well with two wins and a defeat, completed an amazing comeback from two goals down to defeat Espanyol 3-2 in their last game.

In rapid conclusion, I’d expect a home win but wouldn’t rule out both teams scoring and don’t want to bet on a game involving two teams who’ll play in Europe midweek. It seems better to watch some of the match, gauge intentions and then, if at all, bet in-play.

Valencia vs Celta Vigo
Los Che performed well in their 1-0 defeat away to Barcelona and were unlucky not to escape with a draw after Victor Ruiz had a goal harshly ruled out.

Newly promoted Celta got their first win of the season after defeating Osasuna 2-0 in Vigo. Their top scorer from last season, Aspas, got the first goal, with former Xerez striker Bermejo adding the second.

In conclusion, Pellegrino needs to get his first win as Valencia coach and, in terms of being a goal threat, Celta are a lesser proposition than Deportivo – who came from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 with Valencia in their last matchup at the Mestalla – so I’d expect a fairly comfortable home win.

A correct score of 3-1 to Valencia sounds about this time, with Aspas scoring Celta’s consolation goal.

Recommendation: Valencia – 1 goal Asian handicap (9/11)

Getafe vs Barcelona

Through Barrada’s second goal of the season, Getafe drew 1-1 away to Deportivo last time out. Overall, the Azulones played well and deserved their point.

Barca, by virtue of a stunning Adriano goal, beat Valencia 1-0 at Camp Nou. Fabregas had an off day, missing a few chances – one of them very easy – and although they could have scored two or three in the first half, Barca weren’t impressive overall.

In conclusion with regards to today’s game, Barca are missing Iniesta and Alba and will also play Champions League football midweek. Getafe have scored in every game they’ve played this season – twice in the defeat of Real Madrid – and the Azulones actually defeated Barca in 2011/12. Now I don’t expect Getafe to win again, but I would expect them to score against possibly distracted Barca side without two important players.

Recommendation: Both teams to score (evens)

Sevilla vs Real Madrid
Despite being awarded two penalties and playing against ten men for part of the game, Sevilla could only draw 0-0 away to Rayo Vallecano in their last match.

Real Madrid could only defeat Granada 3-0 at the Bernabeu in their last game, with the ‘unhappy’ Ronaldo scoring two of them.

In conclusion, this is usually a bad tempered game that Real Madrid win quite comfortably (6-2 last season). But as Los Blancos have been in shaky form, unusually goal shy and have to play Manchester City in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League midweek, I’ve opted to just bet on a red card – a punt that has won two years in a row in this fixture.

However, try as I might I’ve been unable to get a price on this bet (I got 9/4 last season), but have been told (by multiple bookmakers) that prices will definitely be available on the day of the game.

Recommendation: Red card to be given (price unavailable until the day of the game)

Espanyol vs Athletic Bilbao
After taking a two goal lead away to Levante, Espanyol eventually lost 3-2. Athletic, minus Llorente, comfortably defeated Valladolid 2-0 at San Mames.

In conclusion, both teams are in bad form, but the last five head to head clashes between these two have contained at least three goals, with seven out of the last eight Espanyol home games clearing the same mark.

Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals (20/21)

Granada vs Deportivo
In their last game, Granada lost 3-0 away to Real Madrid. After taking the lead through an early Riki goal, Deportivo eventually drew 1-1 with Getafe at the Riazor.

In conclusion, I’m tempted to back both teams to score or to even go for an away win with Granada so goal shy (only one goal in their first three Liga BBVA games of 2012/13) and Depor competent enough in front of goal, but as I’m not sure which to choose I’m not placing a bet at this stage.

Osasuna vs Mallorca
In their respective last games, Osasuna put in a decent performance but lost 2-0 away to Celta, while Mallorca defeated Real Sociedad 1-0 on the Island.

Although they have endured their worst start to a season in fifty years with three losses from three games, two of them were away games in which they played quite well and the third was at home to Barcelona – who they led for 75 minutes.

Like many teams in Spain, how Osasuna continually retain their top flight status year after year is by winning their home games against similar or weaker teams. Certainly, Mallorca have started the season well and have an in-form striker in Tomer Hemed, but the Islanders are generally a poor side on the road and the home teams need and pressure to win is greater than their opponents – and that’s what I’m banking on.

Recommendation: Osasuna – 0.25 Asian handicap (66/67)

Real Sociedad vs Zaragoza
Though they had some good chances, Sociedad couldn’t score in their 1-0 defeat away to Mallorca in round three. In pretty much the same scenario but at home, Zaragoza lost 1-0 to Malaga.

Put simply, I fancy a home win and cannot make a case for anything else.

Recommendation: Sociedad (95/100)

Atletico Madrid vs Rayo Vallecano
Because of their UEFA Super Cup game with Chelsea, Atletico’s round three clash with Betis was postponed. Their opponents today, Rayo, drew 0-0 at home to Sevilla two weeks ago.

In rapid conclusion, I’d expect Atletico to win this game but the prices about ninety minutes, HT/FT and over 2.5 goals are very short indeed. Also, the handicap mark is Atleti minus 1.5 goals – perhaps pushing it too far against an undefeated team in a derby game that comes just after an international break.

Instead, mainly because this bet is priced at 6/5 with one firm but is odds on with all of the others, I’m going to bet on Atletico scoring in both halves – which they did in their last home game.

Recommendation: Atletico to score in both halves at 6/5

Valladolid vs Betis
After two wins in two games, Djukic’s Valladolid came back to earth after meekly losing 2-0 away to Athletic Bilbao last time out. Betis, as mentioned in the Atletico – Rayo preview, didn’t play a round three fixture.

Quite honestly, this looks like a game for under 2.5 goals, but I’ve decided not to place a bet at this stage. Maybe I will on Monday, though, so be sure to follow me on twitter.


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