Sunday’s La Liga previews: 2012/13 – round 5

20 Sep

Mallorca vs Valencia

With red-hot Israeli forward Tomer Hemed scoring his fourth goal in four games, Mallorca salvaged a point away to Osasuna last Sunday. It was a game that saw both teams down to ten men after Osasuna’s Llorente and the Islanders Nunes both saw red – perhaps harshly so in the case of Nunes who appeared to take a heavier, more intentional blow from his opponent.

Anyway, Valencia made hard work of defeating Celta Vigo at the Mestalla, with Celta enjoying more shots on target than you’d expect them to be allowed. Feghouli and Cissokho were the Che scorers, with the latter netting an impressive header.

Away to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions league on Wednesday, Valencia were flattered by their 2-1 defeat. Indeed, it really should have been four or five nil. Sadly, Valencia striker Soldado got no service at all, but perhaps he will today?

We’ll see as the action unfolds, but what seems clear to me is that it’s worth opposing Valencia given their midweek excursions and Mallorca’s superb home record and great start to the season.

Recommendation: Mallorca + 0.25 Asian handicap (4/5)

Worth a punt: Tomer Hemed to score at anytime (2/1)

Levante vs Real Sociedad

Michel scored but Levante lost 3-1 away to Malaga last weekend. A few hours after I write this they’ll have hosted Helsingborg in the 2012/13 Europa League. Sociedad, who easily defeated Zaragoza at home last weekend, will therefore have had a few days extra rest when Levante play them.

Now it’s fair to say the Sociedad are not great on the road, but they probably should have scored away to Mallorca in their last away game and their manager is desperate to improve on last years’s away record, so I think it’s worth giving them a handicap start against their tired hosts.

Recommendation: Sociedad + 0.25 Asian handicap (66/67)

Atletico Madrid vs Valladolid

Diego Simeone’s Los Colchoneros produced some swashbuckling football to take a four goal lead at home to Rayo last Sunday evening, but went to sleep defensively when allowing their opponents to net three goals in the last eight minutes. Indeed, though the important thing was getting all three points, I hope the Argentina delivers a few smacked bottoms to his defenders for such lapses in concentration!

Anyway, silliness aside, Valladolid entertained Betis in the Monday night La Liga clash and should have won or at least drawn. But as it happened, they looked for an offside flag that never came, allowing Ruben Castro to score a later winner for Betis. Comedy stuff, really.

I’ve yet to decide on a bet for this game, but am encouraged in the knowledge that Falcao and Arda have not travelled to Israel for Atleti’s match against Hapoel. Decision nearer the time via twitter: https://twitter.com/JCLaLiga

Athletic Bilbao vs Malaga

Through a virtuoso performance from newcomer Saviola – who scored one goal and made another – Malaga swept Levante aside by a three to one score last weekend. Midweek, in the UEFA Champions League, the Anchovies put Zenit to the sword with local boy Isco the two goal hero.

Athletic, with Llorente coming off the bench to score, participated in a thrilling six goal draw away to Espanyol last weekend. The star man was, however, former Valencia striker Aduriz, who netted a brace. Hours after I write this preview, Athletic will host Apoel (a different one to the team Atletico face, obviously).in the Europa League.

As for today’s game, well, both teams playing midweek could lead to some sloppy play and a few goals, but it could also mean that we get to see two tired teams and a low goal count. Despite being unsure as to which which will happen, I cast my mind back to last season’s clash in which Malaga should have led comfortably led at half time, but eventually lost three nil.

I backed over 2.5 goals and both teams to score that day, with the latter, obviously, failing me. This time, however, with Athletic leaking goals I expect it to please me.

Recommendation: Both teams to score (3/4)

Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid

Put simply, Jose’s Real Madrid have been in terrible form! Two defeats and a draw in their opening four games of the 2012/13 La Liga season is somewhat unexpected and the players confidence looks very thin as a result.

Now, I’m writing this preview prior to both Los Blancos UEFA Champions League tie with Manchester City and Rayo’s derby with Atletico, but my bet and opinion on this derby will not change.

Last season, I opted for both teams to score in this fixture and was extremely unlucky not to get it, with Rayo spurning a plethora of chances, including missing an open goal from one yard out!

I must point out that Rayo have a very different forward line to that of last season, but I think that the circumstances are right this time and opt to repeat last season’s punt.

Recommendation: Both teams to score (10/11)

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