Sunday’s La Liga previews: 2012/13 – round 20

16 Jan

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Osasuna (20th) v Deportivo La Coruna (19th)

With all the determination you’d expect from an Osasuna side at home to the hated Real Madrid, the Pamplona natives got their reward my holding a poor Los Blancos side to a 0-0 draw last weekend.

Deportivo, in their round nineteen game, drew 1-1 away to Real Sociedad – surviving twenty-six minutes with only ten men. All in all, Domingos and his new charges played very well – even taking the lead through Pizzi.

In conclusion, Osasuna have not won a home game since November, while Depor are undefeated under their new manager. Given this and the fact that the side from A Coruna drew 0-0 here last season, a half goal start seems appropriate.

Recommendation: Deportivo +0.5 Asian handicap (1.92)

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Valladolid (10th) v Real Zaragoza (13th)

Djukic’s Valladolid, with star players Ebert and Oscar back from injury and suspension respectively, defeated Mallorca 3-1 at home last weekend. Indeed, their importance cannot be underestimated as Ebert scored a brace and set one up for Oscar.

Zaragoza, whose best effort on goal was a shot cleared off the line in injury time, lost 2-0 away to Atletico Madrid in their round nineteen clash at the Vicente Calderon.

In conclusion, Zaragoza are a good away side, but Valladolid have the greater firepower, are above average at home, and the visitors played an extra game midweek. It seems logical, then, to back Djukic’s men to complete the seasonal double over Jimenez and his charges.

Recommendation: Valladolid (2.05)

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Atletico Madrid (2nd) v Levante (8th)

With Falcao far from his best but still able to score through a first half penalty, Atletico defeated Real Zaragoza 2-0 last Sunday. Tiago, who opened the scoring, was the other player to net for Los Colchoneros.

The pragmatic Levante coach, Juan Ignacio Martinez, kept top scorer Obafemi Martins on the bench until the second half, when Levante were already losing. Sadly for both parties, the move didn’t pay off as Valencia based Levante lost 2-0 away to Real Betis.

In conclusion, Atletico have won every league game they’ve played at the Vicente Calderon, while Levante have triumphed in only three of their ten road games played this season.

Los Colchoneros are saddled with the burden of tiredness through hosting Betis in the cup on Thursday evening, but Levante have lost their last two road games by two goals or more and Atleti should be able to net at least one goal in each half to defeat Levante in Madrid for the fifth season in a row.

Recommendation: Atletico Madrid to score in both halves (2.05)

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Valencia (7th) v Real Madrid (3rd)

Los Che, with ‘Soldier Boy’ Soldado scoring a brace, defeated Sevilla 2-0 at the Mestalla last weekend – a result that got Rojiblancos boss Michel the sack. Soldado also played in the midweek first leg Copa del Rey match between Real Madrid and Valencia, which ended 2-0 to Los Blancos.

In my eyes at least, Soldado, like he was when his legitimate goal was ruled out for offside when these two last met at the Bernabeu on the opening day of the 2012/13 La Liga season, was the victim of terrible officiating given that he was twice incorrectly ruled as offside when through on goal. I hope he scores today – lord knows Valencia’s number nine deserves it!

In conclusion, unlike clashes at the Bernabeu which usually go under 2.5 goals, Valencia v Real Madrid games generally contain at least four goals. Indeed, five of the last six at the Mestalla have seen five goals or more.

Recommendation: Over 3 goal line (1.975)

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