The league’s top two scorers, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, were on target last Sunday as log leaders Barcelona grinded out a 2-1 win over Getafe to go five points clear at the top. League contenders Atletico Madrid and Sevilla both dropped points last weekend. Meanwhile, Real Madrid’s poor run of form continued as they drew with Villarreal last Thursday and lost at home to Real Sociedad on Sunday. Talks suggest that Jose Mourinho could return to Los Blancos after he rejected Benfica. Elsewhere, Huesca won their first home game of the season when they beat Real Betis 2-1 at the El Alcoraz.
Friday 11 January
Rayo Vallecano 33/20
Celta Vigo 31/20
Rayo Vallecano ended 2018 with a win in front of their home fans when beating Levante 2-1 at the Campo de Futbol de Vallecas. The Vallecans bounced back with a surprise victory away at Valladolid in the opening round of 2019. The successive victories mean a win here will see the hosts move away from the red zone for the first time since their return to top flight. Celta Vigo haven’t been convincing on the road this season, picking up eight points from eight matches, losing four and drawing two. Beating an in-form Vallecano at home will mean the Celtics have to bring in their A-game. This is a tricky encounter but the momentum is with the hosts and I don’t see them losing here. Take Rayo on the Win/Draw Double Chance and Both Teams to Score at 13/10.
Saturday 12 January
Leganes host Huesca in a low-profile La Liga tie on Saturday at Estadio Municipal de Butarque. The hosts saw their five-match unbeaten run come to an end when succumbing to a 1-0 defeat at Espanyol last weekend. While Huesca won their first game since match day one, which happened to be their first ever home victory in the top flight. This is a perfect opportunity for Leganes to bounce back to winning ways and kick away from the relegation zone. Mauricio Pellegrino’s men have been decent at home, winning three and drawing four of the eight matches. Back Leganes to win and include in all bets.
Real Valladolid 57/10
Two of the most inconsistent sides in La Liga are set to take on each other on Saturday afternoon at the Mestalla. This fixture has all the ingredients of a draw given both teams’ inconsistent form and position in the standings. Valencia somehow managed to get top four position last year, but Marcelino and his men will have a mountain to climb to repeat similar achievement this time around. Los Che have drawn an embarrassing 10 games this season and they sit in 12th position as a consequence, while their opponents sit in 15th. This game is written draw all over it, so why not take the 31/10 odds on offer.
Deportivo Alaves 47/20
Alaves continued with their unpredictable form last Saturday when they stunned Valencia 2-1 at the Mendizorrotza. The win saw them climb back to fourth on the standings, two points behind third-placed Sevilla. Girona were involved in a four-goal thriller on the opening day when they drew 2-2 at Levante. These sides met in the Copa del Rey in December and it was Girona who came out victorious. This is a different encounter and I’m expecting the visitors to continue with their unpredictable form. Get on Alaves at a valuable 47/20.
Villarreal occupies the 18th spot in the La Liga as of now, which is a major surprise for followers of Spanish football. They’re usually a good performing team, but have been facing problems this season. Contrary to this situation, this time around last season, Villarreal fans were expecting their team to fight for UEFA Champions League spot by finishing fourth. The Yellow Submarine have drawn three matches on the bounce, leaving them with just 17 points, one point above the red zone. Getafe have had a good season so far and occupy the seventh spot on the ladder with 25 points. Looking at the betting, I feel the bookmakers have ruled Getafe out in this encounter and I think they had a good game last weekend when losing 2-1 to log leaders Barcelona. Take a chance and back Getafe on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 8/10.
Sunday 13 January
Atletico Madrid 1/4
Atletico Madrid came from behind to force a 1-1 draw at Sevilla last Sunday. The draw means that Atleti cannot drop any further points now as Barcelona continue to stretch the lead at the top. This is a good chance for Diego Simeone’s men to return to winning ways. Levante are riding on a four-match winless run with two draws and two defeats. Ending that run at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium is asking for too much considering Madrid are unbeaten at the grounds this season. Back Atletico Madrid on the (-1) Handicap at 7/10.
Athletic Bilbao 17/10
Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla take on each other in this crucial La Liga fixture at the San Mames on Sunday. Sevilla were dubbed to be challengers this season but have went on to win just once in their last five league encounters. The poor results saw them drop to third on the log, eight points behind leaders Barcelona. The visitors can’t afford to drop anymore points as a defeat here could see them slip out of the top four. Back Sevilla to bounce back at 16/10.
Barcelona moved five points clear at the summit of La Liga in their bid to successfully defend their crown. With Suarez and Messi scoring every week, it’s safe to say the title is now theirs to lose. The Champions come into this game off six successive domestic wins and the Blaugrana also have a good record against Eibar – winning their last seven league encounters, scoring 23 goals and conceding only four. Back the Champions to Win Both Halves at 17/20.
Real Betis 24/10
Real Madrid 1/1
It’s been a very embarrassing season for Real Madrid, who sacked Julen Lopetegui after a dreadful series of results. Santiago Solari was then called up as a replacement, but now the team find themselves in similar situation as was with Lopetegui – where the results are just not going the way they would’ve loved to. Despite winning the Club World Cup, which they could’ve won without a coach in my opinion, Real Madrid have been disappointing in recent fixtures. Anything but a win here might see Solari losing his job, especially with Mourinho interested in a return to the Bernabeu. Real Betis were shocked by Huesca last weekend when losing 2-1 to the debutants, being the first team to lose a La Liga match at the newcomer’s home. Prior to that, Betis were enjoying a seven-match unbeaten run. At home, they have won four and drawn three. Real Betis are no strangers to causing upsets after they beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou earlier this season. Take a chance and back Real Betis to win.
Real Sociedad 9/10
Real Sociedad and Espanyol tackle each other out in the only La Liga fixture on Monday. These sides come into this game in identical form, winning their last encounter after losing four in a row prior to that. This is a fixture that has seen both teams find the back of the net in their last four meetings, but despite both teams winning last weekend, it’s still not enough to forget their poor form. It’s difficult to trust either team, so I suggest backing Both Teams to Score at even money.
TREBLE @ 8/1
Real Sociedad vs Espanyol BTTS 1/1
Sevilla Win 16/10
Atletico Madrid (-1) Handicap 7/10
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