Sunday’s La Liga previews; 2012/13 – round 18

4 Jan


Celta de Vigo v Valladolid

By a somewhat lesser score than expected, Celta lost away to Atletico Madrid in round seventeen. A solitary goal decided the game in Atleti’s favour, and Celta – who have a 2-1 Copa del Rey first round lead to defend against Real Madrid soon – must now get back to winning ways against a Valladolid team bereft of its best attackers.

Valladolid, who lost 3-1 at home to Barca in their last La Liga game, travel to Vigo without Ebert (injury), Oscar (suspension) and Manucho (African Nations). Interestingly, Valladolid have scored twenty-three La Liga goals this season and those three are responsible for scoring sixteen off them, with eleven accumulative assists.

In conclusion, I expect Celta, who haven’t won a league game in two months, to take all three points today. But with seven out of the last eight Celta home games going under 2.5 goals and the visitors missing so many offensive players, the under goals seem like the best bet.

Recommendation: Under 2.5 goals (1.74)

Worth a punt: Celta – 1 Asian handicap (3.03)

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Real Madrid v Real Sociedad

With current Los Blancos coach Jose Mourinho seemingly making a power play within the club by dropping goalkeeper Iker Casillas for Real Madrid’s trip to Malaga, his charges, not unexpectedly considering recent results, lost 3-2 away to Malaga.

Well contained in the first half, Real were outplayed by their opponents in the second and cannot have any complaints about their defeat. With their first an own goal from Malaga’s Sergio Sanchez, Benzema was Real’s scorer.

Real Sociedad, on a cold evening in Basque country two weeks ago, defeated Sevilla 2-1 in round seventeen. Vela and Del La Bella were their scorers.

In conclusion, Los Blancos are in terrible form with (in all competitions) two defeats and a draw in their last three games, but they have enough individual offensive talent to beat La Real today and I expect them to do just that.

However, despite their form, the price about a Real win is far too short and it doesn’t seem like the right time to trust them in a minus handicap. Instead, with Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Raul Albiol and Pepe all missing, I’m going for both teams to score.

Recommendation: Both teams to score (1.91)


Barcelona v Espanyol

With Xavi, Messi and Tello the scorers, Barca defeated Valladolid 3-1 on their own turf prior to the holiday break. It took the Catalans a while to open the scoring, but it was a comfortable win in the end and Barca remain undefeated in 2012/13 La Liga.

Cross City rivals Espanyol also won their last game – at home to Crisis club Deportivo. Simao and substitute Stuani each scored in the 2-0 win. Espanyol, since Javier Aguirre took the reins, have drawn twice and won once – making them undefeated under the Mexican.

Something tells me that Aguirre’s undefeated streak won’t last the weekend! But his charges do go into this clash with a higher level of confidence and team spirit than they would have had a month ago, and if Barca start slow it’s possible that Espanyol can keep the score close.

Espanyol + 1.25 first half handicap and + 2.75 match might prove to be a good bets at 1.96 and 1.97 respectively under such circumstances, but it takes a brave punter to place such wagers. Instead, with the match over goals mark too high for me at 4.5 and first half goals too short priced, both teams to score is worth a derby punt at 2.4.

Worth a punt: Both teams to score (2.4)


Mallorca v Atletico Madrid

Despite going a goal down early on, Mallorca, who were previously without a win in their last fifteen games in all competitions, came back to defeat Real Betis 2-1 in Seville two weeks ago.

Victor, with a well placed header, started the Islanders comeback, with the returning Javi Marquez completing it from the penalty spot. All in all, you have to credit to Mallorca for this win, but the penalty they benefitted from was somewhat fortuitous with contact occurring outside the box.

Atletico continued their undefeated league home record in 2012/13 by beating Celta Vigo 1-0 at the Vicente Calderon in round seventeen. It was lethargic performance from Atleti, with Adrian scoring the winner.

With regards to today’s game, it looks like a straight forward away win with Atleti available at a good price, but then Falcao, Arda and Miranda are all missing through suspension.

I would still expect Simeone’s charges to take all three points as Raul Garcia, Adrian and Diego Costa are all good players, but it should be closer than people expect – with 0-1 my favoured choice.

Recommendation: Under 2.5 goals (1.83)

Worth a small punt: Correct score of 1-0 Atletico (8.0)


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