Sunday’s La Liga previews: 2013/13 – round 19

11 Jan

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Real Betis v Levante

As predicted, Betis won away at Zaragoza last Friday, with Ruben Castro opening the scoring. Jorge Molina later coolly slotted the second goal home in this 2-1 away win. Midweek, in their second leg Copa del Rey clash, Betis defeated Segunda side Las Palmas 1-0 to progress 2-1 on aggregate. Of course, column favourite Ruben Castro was the scorer.

Levante went a goal down at home to Athletic Bilbao last weekend but recovered to win 3-1, with Lell, Iborra and EL Zhar the scorers. However, Levante, as they often do in road games, tasted defeat at the hands of Zaragoza – losing 2-0 to exit the Copa del Rey 3-0 on aggregate.

In conclusion, Levante have won three, drawn two and lost four on the road, while Betis have won five and lost four at home – enough to suggest that Betis will win. However, Betis lost this fixture last year and I don’t fully trust them to win today, so it’s a no bet game for my money.

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Real Sociedad v Deportivo La Coruna

Staggeringly, La Real’s right side midfielder, Xavi Prieto, scored a hat-trick at the Bernabeu last weekend, only to see his side lose 4-3 to a ten man Real Madrid. All in all, Philippe Montanier’s charges really should have pressed their advantage home to get something out of the game, but what an entertaining affair it was!

Deportivo, in new boss Domingos first game in charge, defeated Malaga 1-0 at the Riazor. Portuguese winger Pizzi, with a brilliant individual goal, was the scorer. All in all, Depor played well and full deserved their first victory since November.

In conclusion, La Real, with five wins, two draws and two defeats at San Sebastian, are a very strong home side, but I’m going to take my chances on Depor avoiding defeat in their new manager’s second game in charge.

Worth a punt: Deportivo + 0.5 Asian handicap (2.06)

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Atletico Madrid v Real Zaragoza

Diego Simeone’s Los Colchoneros, without Falcao, Arda and Miranda, drew 1-1 away to Mallorca last weekend. Raul Garcia scored Atleti’s goal, before Mallorca undeservedly levelled matters with three minutes to go.

Atletico also played a midweek game in the Copa del Rey, drawing 0-0 with cross city neighbours Getafe to progress to the next round 0-0 on aggregate.

Zara have won more games away from home than they have at La Romareda, but winning at the Vicente Calderon – where Atleti are undefeated in the league this season – seems like a stretch.

However, Atleti are not playing that well and Falcao isn’t scoring – and when that’s the case you’re usually looking at a low scoring game. Obviously, Falcao could, however, have a field day given his proven quality in from of goal. But if it’s all about value as so many gamblers tell me, then Zaragoza + 1.5 goals is a good bet.

Lastly, unable to decide on my bet and seriously tired, I chose the James Watson favourite of time of first Atletico goal before 33:00 at 5/6. Now, I still think that’s a bet worth taking in every Atleti home game unless the mark is less than 30:00 – and I’ve already it backed it myself – but I’ve also opted to chance the Zara + 1.5. Fingers crossed, and tightly!

Recommendations: Zaragoza + 1.5 (2.01) and time of first Atleti goal before 33:00 (1.83)

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Malaga v Barcelona

Pellegrini’s Malaga, after beating Real Madrid with an impressive display before the holiday break, put in a lethargic performance to lose 1-0 away to Deportivo last weekend.

With four first half goals – scored by Pedro (brace), Xavi and Messi – Barcelona quickly put local rivals Espanyol to bed in the league last weekend. The Catalans also destroyed Cordoba 5-0 in the Copa del Rey midweek.

In conclusion, styles make fights and Barca always hammer Malaga. However, I must point out to you that the Anchovies currently have the league’s best defence, but it’s no better a back four personnel wise than it was in 2011/12, and Barca are scoring bucket loads of goals on their travels in 2012/13.

Also, perhaps crucially, Messi, who scored a hat-trick in Barca’s 4-1 win here last season, was rested midweek and will be keen to make an impression after his great rival Ronaldo scored a midweek treble in the Copa del Rey.

Sadly, the price has been hammered on Barca – 1 AH, but it’s what I recommended for Forza and, I think, a push worst case.

Recommendations: Barca – 1 Asian handicap (1.73) and over 2.5 total Barca goals (2.5)

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